Broadcom Enter the Multi-Room Audio Space

Broadcom announced yesterday (12/4/14) a new dual mode Wi-Fi audio SoC for multi-room audio. It enters a market that is growing rapidly but also already served by many competitors, however Broadcom are approaching the market differently to many other suppliers.

Whilst competitors such as Qualcomm, Microchip and CSR are focused on supplying Wi-Fi audio chips designed to work with their own proprietary streaming technologies, Broacom is focusing on bringing ICs to market that enable multiple streaming technologies to run on it (initially Airplay).

We believe that there is a place for proprietary standards and that many OEMs prefer a closed system today, but this will change over the next few years as OEMs realize that having an open standard helps the whole market grow. It seems that the market needs an interoperable standard (much like Miracast) for multi-room audio and we assume this will start to emerge in the next 2-3 years. In the meantime OS centric standards such as Airplay and Google Cast will fill a gap.

It makes much more sense to have an interoperable standard for Wi-Fi audio; Bluetooth has achieved this with profiles such as A2DP and codecs such as SBC and this is needed for Wi-Fi too.

SensiAn Research will soon publish a report titled “Smart Home Audio Streaming Technologies” which will address this market. Please contact us for more information.

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