The main problem with wireless headphones, and especially fully wireless ones, is the battery: it doesn’t last very long. The new LC3 (Low Complexity Communication Codec) codec introduced by the Bluetooth SIG is intended to solve this problem.
The company announced its development at CES 2020. This codec will replace the current “standard” SBC, which does not have a high sound quality. According to Bluetooth SIG, using the new codec, data can be transmitted at a bit rate half that of the SBC, and without noticeable loss in quality, and the lower the bit rate, the lower the power consumption.
Due to this, first of all, wireless headphones will benefit: it will be possible to use a smaller battery and make the cases more compact – or, with the existing dimensions, provide a longer operating time on a single charge. Also, the new codec will improve the quality of speech transmission. You can test the codec on the demo page on the Bluetooth SIG website.
This codec was included in the list of Bluetooth LE Audio features, which also include support for hearing aids and the ability to broadcast audio to an “unlimited” number of devices.
Also, Bluetooth LE Audio includes the function of simultaneously broadcasting sound to two devices – it is used, for example, when transmitting two audio streams to the right and left headphones. Such a system is already available in Apple headphones and some headphones with Qualcomm chips, but has now become part of the standard.
According to the Bluetooth SIG, manufacturers have already begun developing devices that support the LC3 codec – the first models should be released next year.