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MPEG-H Audio Alliance Demos Proposed DTV-Audio Standard

 Fraunhofer is demonstrating a proposed audio standard developed by the MPEGH Audio Alliance for use with ATSC 3.0 digital terrestrial-TV broadcasts, which would be capable of delivering Ultra HD 4K resolution.

The standard was developed by Fraunhofer IIS, Technicolor and Qualcomm so broadcasters and streaming services can deliver next-generation audio “at comparably low bit rates and in a cost-effective manner,” the alliance said.

The standard is vying with Dolby’s AC-4.

Both standards are competing for the approval of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC).

For the particular speaker system used by a particular consumer, the alliance proposal would simultaneously render 2.0-to 7.1+4-channel audio, “3D” object-based surround sound supporting up to 7.1+4, and High-Order Ambisonics (HOA). The latter describes the direction of sound sources by their relative amplitudes and polarities.

All types of transmitted sound can be rendered to any speaker configuration that a consumer has.

The MPEG-H Audio Alliance system works with today’s broadcast and streaming equipment and includes object-based and immersive audio to enhance realism and let viewers adjust the sound mix to their preferences. It will also tailor playback to sound best on a range of devices and environments, providing “universal delivery,” the alliance said.

Fraunhofer IIS is demonstrating real-time encoding and decoding as well as authoring and rendering. The combined audio/video content is being broadcast to a Technicolor consumer set-top box for playback so that visitors can experience the new interactive and immersive features in a living-room environment. Fraunhofer IIS is also demonstrating a new prototype 3D soundbar to play back 3D sound in any living room without the need to installing multiple speakers.

To enable broadcasters and streaming services to take advantage of all MPEG-H Audio features, the company is displaying some newly developed products. They include the Jünger Audio MPEG-H Audio Monitoring and Authoring Unit, which adapts to 5.1 consoles to enable immersive-audio production. It also lets operators audition MPEG-H Audio as it will be reproduced on consumers’ audio systems.

Also on display: real-time encoders and decoders that include MPEG-H Audio to support all phases of content delivery, including contribution, distribution and emission using AVC video.

People in South Hall 1 Booth 21044 can also hear MPEG-H 3D Audio on the virtual-reality Samsung Gear VR headset and on tablet computer speakers.