xHE-AAC enables consumers to enjoy uninterrupted streaming with all types of content – such as movies, music, audiobooks or podcasts. The latest codec in the MPEG AAC family offers maximum coding efficiency with a usable bit rate range that spans from 12 kbit/s to 500 kbit/s and above for stereo services. This helps video and audio streaming providers to overcome audio bandwidth constraints and thereby facilitates an enhanced, more reliable consumer experience. Such efficiency is particularly crucial in emerging markets where consumers often still rely on 2G or 3G connections.
Created with adaptive streaming via DASH or HLS in mind, xHE-AAC delivers transparent quality under good network conditions and, when necessary, seamlessly switches to the bit rates and quality levels that a congested network can support. Audio bandwidth saved as a result of xHE-AAC’s efficiency can be used to improve the video quality. The mandatory MPEG-D DRC metadata is designed to deliver the best possible user experience in any listening environment and on any device. In noisy conditions, for example, it can boost the volume of hard-to-understand dialog while leaving the original audio content untouched.
Fraunhofer played a substantial role in the development of xHE-AAC and the MPEG-D DRC standard. Professional xHE-AAC encoder software is available directly from Fraunhofer IIS or its streaming equipment partners. xHE-AAC and MPEG-D DRC patents are included in the AAC patent licensing program administered by VIA Licensing at no additional cost.
xHE-AAC and MPEG-D DRC are already natively supported in Google’s Android 9 and 10, as well as Android TV 9, in Amazon’s Fire OS 7 (based on Android 9 Pie) operating system, and on Apple’s iOS 13, macOS 10.15 Catalina, tvOS 13, iPadOS and watchOS 6.