One of the most promising features of Bluetooth’s new audio standard–namely, the ability to transmit Bluetooth audio to an unlimited number of devices simultaneously–is coming to Samsung TVs and earbuds next month.
Samsung says it will soon be releasing an update for its Galaxy Buds2 Pro and select high-end Samsung TVs that will enable Auracast, a feature in the new Bluetooth LE Audio standard that allows a Bluetooth transmitter to broadcast audio to an unlimited number of Bluetooth receivers, such as headsets.
The software update, which will arrive for Samsung 2023 Neo QLED 8K and 2023 Micro LED TVs alongside the Galaxy Buds2 Pro, will dramatically up the number of buds that can connect to those specific Samsung TVs simultaneously.
This news story is part of TechHive’s in-depth coverage of the best noise-cancelling headphones.
Hedging its bets, Samsung isn’t promising that an unlimited number of Galaxy Buds2 Pro will be able to connect to, say, your Neo QLED 8K TV at the same time. Instead, Samsung uses the word “multiple,” while noting that the number of connected Buds “may vary” depending on factors such as distance or nearby obstructions.
Still, Samsung’s Auracast update will certainly be an improvement over the current limit of two Bluetooth devices that can connect to a Samsung TV at once.
Samsung’s implementation of Auracast offers just a taste of the technology’s potential.
Originally called “Bluetooth Audio Sharing” when the Bluetooth LE Audio standard was first announced in 2020, Auracast broadcast audio could be used in a variety of heady scenarios.
For example, Auracast could allow hundreds of Bluetooth headset users to tune into the same Bluetooth transmission in a stadium or an auditorium, while travelers in an airport terminal could connect to an Auracast-enabled Bluetooth signal to hear updates from a specific gate.
There are also smaller-scale uses for Auracast, such as the ability to share a Bluetooth stream on your phone with a companion. (Apple devices can already perform this trick with AirPods, but Apple employs its own proprietary method.)
Besides Auracast, the Bluetooth LE Audio standard comes with a series of other enticing features, including LC3, a more efficient replacement for the SBC codec that delivers improved audio quality using the same amount of bandwidth.
LE Audio also offers multi-streaming, which allows for multiple audio streams between Bluetooth devices. That means (among other scenarios) that phones will be able to connect to wireless earbuds as a pair, rather than connecting to a single earbud that in turn connects to the second earbud.