Bluetooth vs. AirPlay: Which Is Better?
Sinclair Audio’s WBT50 speakers are among a growing number of speakers using Bluetooth as its wireless audio transmission technology.
These two competing wireless technologies for transmitting audio in a single-room application are both gaining steam in the market with no signs of slowing down. It doesn’t appear as though one technology has a decided edge over the other either. In a recent CE Pro webinar on wireless technologies, a poll of the readers was split about 50/50.
From an overly simplistic view, here are several pros and cons for each technology.
- Is more common. It works with more devices including both Android and Apple devices.
- Requires direct range for transmission. Reviewers say 20 feet is a good distance, even though some tout as much as 33 feet.
- Is improving its reputation. When people initially think “Bluetooth” they think of telephone earpieces. But its reputation for poor quality is going away. The new aptX codec has a lot to do with that. Besides, can your clients really hear the difference in the audio compression?
- Is more portable because it works without a Wi-Fi network in place.
- Is less expensive primarily because the speaker manufacturer is not required to pay the per-product Apple licensing fee.
- Does an excellent job of tracking metadata for an improved user experience.
- Works over Wi-Fi networks, which are ubiquitous in many households today. It also means it has a much broader distribution range in the home than Bluetooth.
- Uses high-quality audio compression with AAC files.
- Only works with Apple iDevices and computers.
- Allows you to set volume levels for individual speakers via iTunes.
- Is more expensive speakers because the speaker manufacturers is required to pay the aforementioned per-product Apple licensing fee. One audio review website estimates AirPlay licensing adds $100 to the price of a speaker.
Which one do you use and why?