When do you expect products with Auracast™ broadcast audio to reach consumers?
We expect to see a few consumer products come to market quickly and anticipate product availability will then ramp up as we approach the holiday season and end of the year.
What version of Bluetooth® technology is required to implement Auracast™ broadcast audio?
Technically, for any product to support Auracast™ broadcast audio it must support specific features that were introduced in version 5.2 of the Bluetooth Core Specification as well as the Public Broadcast Profile within the set of LE Audio specifications.
Will existing Bluetooth devices be able to transmit or receive Auracast™ broadcasts? Or will new software or hardware be required?
The new specifications allow for upgradability of existing products in the field. Whether field upgrades occur will depend on the underlying Bluetooth capabilities already in a device and the supplier’s product strategy. We do expect some product types will be upgradeable, but do not have visibility into specific product strategies. For certain Auracast™ transmitter categories such as TVs, we expect many will require a hardware upgrade. However, we also expect to see plug-and-play aftermarket Auracast™ transmitters used to add support for Auracast™ broadcast audio to TVs and other Auracast™ transmitter product types.
Will Auracast™ products have to complete any specific qualification or certification?
Auracast™ broadcast audio is a set of defined configurations of Bluetooth® broadcast audio which are specified within the Public Broadcast Profile (PBP) specification. Product developers who qualify their products to the PBP through the Bluetooth Qualification Process and meet the additional requirements of use that are detailed in the Brand Guide for Bluetooth Trademarks can be licensed to use the Auracast™ trademarks in association with those qualified products.
What is the maximum number of Auracast™ receivers that will be able to join an Auracast™ broadcast?
An unlimited number of in-range Auracast™ receivers will be able to join an Auracast™ broadcast from a nearby Auracast™ transmitter. With Auracast™ broadcast audio, there is no one-to-one relationship between the transmitter and each receiver. An Auracast™ transmitter transmits a single audio signal that any number of in-range Auracast™ receivers can join, in much the same way a standard radio transmitter sends out one signal that an unlimited number of in-range radio receivers can tune in to.
Will bandwidth need to be increased in order to support unlimited Auracast™ receivers?
With Auracast™ broadcast audio, there is no one-to-one relationship between the transmitter and each receiver. The transmitter sends out a single, true broadcast signal and therefore does not require any additional bandwidth. An unlimited number of in-range Auracast™ receivers can join a single Auracast™ broadcast, in much the same way a standard radio transmitter sends out one signal that any number of in-range radio receivers can tune in to. It’s the same principle.
Will there be any issues with quality degradation as more users join an Auracast™ broadcast?
No. An Auracast™ transmitter transmits a single audio broadcast that an unlimited number of in-range Auracast™ receivers can join, in much the same way a standard radio transmitter sends out one signal that any number of in-range radio receivers can tune in to. The Auracast™ transmitter is completely unaware of the number of devices that have tuned in to the broadcast, just like a radio transmitter is unaware of the number of radio receivers that are tuned in to the radio broadcast.
How will users be able to find and select an Auracast™ broadcast to join? What will the user interface (UI) be?
Auracast™ assistants, such as smartphones, smartwatches, or hearing aid remotes, will scan for Auracast™ advertisements and provide a user interface (UI) to enable users to select an Auracast™ broadcast to join, similar to the UI commonly used to connect to Wi-Fi networks in public spaces. Once an Auracast™ broadcast is selected, the Auracast™ assistant provides the Auracast™ receiver (e.g. headphone, earbud, hearing aid, etc.) the information it needs to join the Auracast™ broadcast. The UI on an Auracast™ assistant can be part of the device’s operating system and/or a third-party app like those that come with earbuds or hearing aids.
Do you have any information on what devices will be Auracast™ enabled?
Auracast™ broadcast audio enables audio transmitters, such as smartphones, laptops, televisions, or public address systems to broadcast audio to an unlimited number of nearby receivers, including speakers, earbuds, or hearing devices. Auracast™ assistants, such as smartphones, smartwatches, or hearing aid remotes will scan for Auracast™ advertisements and provide a user interface (UI) to enable users to select an Auracast™ broadcast to join, similar to the UI commonly used to connect to Wi-Fi networks in public spaces.
What was the reason behind the rebranding from Bluetooth Audio Sharing to Auracast™ broadcast audio?
Over the past few years, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has continued to work closely with key players within the audio ecosystem to identify and understand the new use cases that Auracast™ broadcast audio will enable. One key reason for the rebrand was that it became apparent that the original name was not as compatible with two of the key priority use cases that have now been identified. Broadcast audio will help us share our audio, hear our best, and unmute our world. Though the name, Audio Sharing, clearly applies to the first use case, in which an individual uses their phone or tablet to broadcast and share their own audio experience with others around them, it is less effective in describing those public use cases in which buildings or locations (or even things— like a public TV) are broadcasting audio, and the end user is on the receiving end of that experience. It is our hope that the new brand helps avoid any confusion in the market that a transmitter-centric name may have caused.