Bluetooth 5 technology has officially been approved and the first transmitters and receivers should become available in 2017. Where Bluetooth 4 technology notably allowed for very high energy efficiency, Bluetooth 5 will introduce an extended range with four times as much coverage. In other words, the range of Bluetooth wireless communication will now be extended to 40 meters. Meanwhile, the energy efficiency which was a strong point for Bluetooth 4.2 transmitters will be maintained, thus ensuring long-lasting autonomy for mobile devices (hi-fi portable players, for example).
Bluetooth 5: CD-quality audio transmission, here at last?
The new feature which should be of particular interest to the hi-fi community is the bandwidth offered by Bluetooth 5. In fact, with 2 Mbits per second, Bluetooth 5 can theoretically transmit CD-quality PCM stream in stereo, which requires 1.5 Mbps for uncompressed formats or 0.8 to 0.9 Mbps with lossless compression (FLAC or ALAC files, for example). In addition, Bluetooth 5 transmitters and receivers will be able to detect radio frequency interference on the 2.4 GHz band and modify their communication channel in order to preserve high-quality transmission.
This ample bandwidth of 2 Mbps will also allow for streaming music without recompression from Spotify, Deezer, Tidal and Qobuz. However, no new codec has been announced for the moment, and lossy compression technologies such as SBC, AAC and apt-X will stay in effect for the time being. Currently, only Sony’s LDAC compression allows for lossless Bluetooth transmission of CD-quality stereo streams. This technology is only implemented by certain Sony devices. To be continued.
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