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Auracast is finally coming to Bluetooth audio devices: Here's what you need to know

Broadcasting via Bluetooth could become the new norm.
By
January 23, 2024

Imagine a world where your wireless earbuds or headphones can seamlessly connect to multiple publicly available audio sources, from airport announcements about your flight to watching a movie at the theater in a language you choose. This isn’t some far-fetched idea; it’s coming to consumer devices in 2024 via Auracast.

What is Auracast?

Testing head wearing headphones facing towards multiple TVs.
At CES 2024, a demo where we could choose which TV we wanted to listen to using the Auracast app.

Introduced in 2022, Auracast is a Bluetooth LE Audio specification feature supported by devices with Bluetooth 5.2 and above. It functions like a modern-day radio broadcast, enabling one-to-many Bluetooth connections. Unlike traditional Bluetooth, which requires pairing, Auracast allows devices to effortlessly tune in and out of local broadcasts, simplifying public and private audio sharing from your personal devices.

How does it work?

At CES 2024, several devices boasting their Auracast capabilities were unveiled. For instance, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless earbuds will offer a user-friendly way to access various broadcasts through the Sennheiser app. As we saw in a demo at CES 2024, it will be as simple as selecting an option to search for broadcasts, which will display a list of those available in your vicinity and then choosing the one you want to tune into. Again, these can range from airport announcements to cinema audio feeds in your native language. Once selected, the audio from the chosen broadcast will stream directly to your earbuds.

You can see some examples in the video below, starting at 3:28.

The connection process is much swifter than connecting to a Wi-Fi network, and connections can be password-protected when sharing a broadcast, just like creating a Wi-Fi hotspot from your smartphone.

The benefits of Auracast

Auracast establishes a low-latency direct audio connection between transmitters and receivers — like TVs and earbuds, respectively— with virtually no lag (in the tens of milliseconds). This precision is crucial in keeping audio and video in sync.

In public spaces like bars and waiting rooms, TVs could soon go silent, with Auracast allowing listeners to “unmute” them at will. For the hearing-impaired community, Auracast offers direct audio streaming to compatible hearing aids, enhancing clarity in noisy environments and making public spaces more accessible.

The future of Auracast

Auracast is more than just a connectivity tool; it’s set to transform our audio experience. As a modular platform, it’s ready for continuous enhancements, including immersive surround sound and spatial audio. Advancements in gaming audio and audio health are on the horizon, promising more immersive play and better hearing solutions. Auracast is ready to redefine how we experience sound in every aspect of our lives.

To make sure you’re part of this step, it might be time to consider upgrading your devices. Look for earbuds and audio equipment that support Bluetooth 5.2 or higher, as this is the gateway to the LE Audio and Auracast capabilities.