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Bluetooth gets a lossless audio codec

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 01 Aug 2007 17:58 User comments (5)

Bluetooth gets a lossless audio codec A Seattle-based company called Open Interface North America (OINA) announced plans to release a new lossless audio Codec called SOUNDabout Lossless.
Because of the need to send data in real time, combined with the relatively unreliable connection quality of Bluetooth, compressing audio data before sending from one device to another is a necessity. Possibly because the technology is generally used for things like mobile phones, finding a way to transmit audio losslessly hasn't apparently been a priority for most companies.

However, when music that was already encoded with some loss (like MP3 or AAC) it doesn't make much sense to re-compress it with more loss before sending it to a device like Bluetooth stereo headphones.

"The main drawback of putting MP3 or ACC Decode in [Bluetooth] headphones," Greg Burns, OINA's Chief Technology Officer, told PC Magazine, "is a business rather than a technical issue: the wireless headphone becomes burdened with the MP3 royalty. Standard royalties for devices are 75 cents, which is a significant piece of the overall BOM (bill-of-materials) cost and may be in the $20 range. If the headphones also support AAC, this can add another dollar…Since an MP3 player will already have an MP3 and/or AAC decoder built in, this means that the consumer buying the headphones is effectively paying twice for the MP3 and AAC decode capabilities."

One goal for this codec was to avoid requiring a lot of power to implement it. According to Burns actually requires about the same number of instructions as the (lossy) SBC codec, currently used for Bluetooth.

Source: PC Magazine

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5 user comments

12.8.2007 7:28

I hope for the best for this project. I would love to see a wireless 5.1 surround sound system with bluetooth. Better choice over the 2.4GHz that interferes with wireless networks.

22.8.2007 21:30

To me this is nothing new due to the fact that wireless technology has already been there not to this level but infrared has done this to a level of sorts with infrared headphones.

33.8.2007 12:24

Yummy...I love paying twice!

45.8.2007 5:38

At long last bluetooth audio that can be used to properly distribute audio.

They had better design it to work with C1 100M and not just the C2 Range of 10M

514.8.2007 21:54

This sounds like it has a lot of room for growth and future innovation.

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