Fraunhofer IIS, the major contributor behind the development of mp3 and AAC audio codecs, together with Modulation Index, introduced the first xHE-AAC enabled streaming encoder “StreamS Live” at IBC 2015. The live demonstration featured original programming provided by public radio station WAMU and Classic Rock station “The Sound.”
Designed for speech and music transmission at only 16kbit/s for stereo, xHE-AAC is the low bit rate extension of the AAC audio codec, the worldwide industry standard for streaming, broadcast and music distribution (e.g. iTunes). The coding efficiency of xHE-AAC enables streaming services to operate at lower data rates, resulting in major benefits for consumers and program providers. The listening experience especially for users of mobile devices gets improved by reducing buffering times and an increased service reliability, while the lower bandwidth requirements reduce CDN costs for program providers and prevent data plan overflows at the consumer end.
“The mp3 format enabled the first Internet music services, the HE-AAC codec brought Internet radio to billions of mobile users. We are excited that Internet streaming services enabled by xHE-AAC will now even further improve the listening experience and help bring radio programs for the first time to billions of mobile users in emerging markets that still to a large extent, rely on 2G networks,” says Bernhard Grill, head of the Audio & Multimedia division and deputy director, Fraunhofer IIS.
The StreamS Live Encoder is the first professional streaming encoder supporting xHEAAC. “We are taking a new approach to live streaming with the application of Fraunhofer’s xHEAAC codec enabling the StreamS Live Encoder. xHE-AAC represents the next step in audio codec technology. The StreamS Live Encoder will allow any web server on any platform to be used to deliver high quality sound for music and speech thanks to xHE-AAC,” says Greg Ogonowski, President at Modulation Index.
In addition to streaming applications, xHE-AAC is the standard codec for Digital Radio Mondiale DRM and therefore widely available in DRM receivers and professional broadcast equipment. A patent pool for xHE-AAC is under development by Via Licensing in conjunction with a group of essential patent holders. The xHE-AAC patent license is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2016.
Fraunhofer IIS is based in Erlangen, Germany and is a division of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. With nearly 24,000 employees worldwide, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is comprised of 66 institutes and research units making it Europe’s largest application oriented research organization.
For more than 25 years, digital audio technology has been the principal focus of the Audio and Multimedia division of the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, including the creation of mp3 and the co-development of the highly efficient AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) codec. Today, technologies such as Fraunhofer Cingo for virtual surround sound, Fraunhofer Symphoria for automotive 3D audio, AACELD and EVS for telephone calls with CD-like audio quality, and MPEG-H Audio that allows television viewers to adjust dialogue volume to suit their personal preferences are among the division’s most compelling new developments. Fraunhofer’s audio codec software and application-specific customizations are licensed to more than 1,000 companies.
Based in California, Modulation Index is a provider of software solutions for high quality audio encoding, streaming, metadata and logging. Modulation Index is headed by Greg J. Ogonowski, the co-developer (with Bob Orban) of the Orban Optimod Digital Series of broadcast audio processing systems. He is also co-developer of the Orban Opticodec-PC File and Streaming Encoders, the first commercially available AAC/aacPlus audio encoders for Internet streaming.
Now, Modulation Index, under the direction of Greg Ogonowski and Nate Niyomtham, the original developers of Orban Opticodec-PC, have created the StreamS Audio Encoder using Fraunhofer AAC technology for streaming, FM RDS/RBDS, HD Radio, websites, and digital signage.
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