HE-AAC

Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits

Overview

Over the last couple of years, HE-AAC has become one of the most important enabling technologies for state-of-the-art multimedia systems. Thanks to its unique combination of high quality audio, low bit rates and audio-specific metadata support, it is the perfect audio solution even over channels with limited capacity, such as those in broadcasting or for new adaptive streaming standards such as MPEG-DASH.

Fraunhofer IIS offers fast access to high quality, product ready HE-AAC implementations. Optimized encoder and decoder real-time implementations on embedded processors or DSPs are available, as well as software implementations on PC platforms.

HE-AACv2 is the mandatory stereo codec in the DASH264 Interoperability Guidelines developed by the DASH Industry Forum. HE-AAC 7.1 has also been selected as one of the optional multichannel codecs.

HE-AAC is…

  • - ... the most efficient high-quality multichannel and stereo audio codec.
  • - ... is used in TV, radio, and streaming worldwide.
  • - ... the perfect codec for adaptive streaming, for example Apple HLS or MPEG DASH.
  • - ... in more than 7 billion devices already today.
  • - ... fully compatible with all relevant broadcast metadata.
  • - ... is supported and maintained by Fraunhofer IIS.
Quality excellent, according to EBU test (for complete results see whitepaper below)
Bit rate HE-AAC: 48 to 64 kbit/s Stereo, 160 kbit/s for 5.1 Surround (HE-AAC: AAC-LC + SBR)
HE-AAC v2: 24 to 32 kbit/s Stereo (HE-AACv2: AAC-LC + SBR +PS)
for good quality audio
Sampling rates 24 to 96 kHz
Channels mono, stereo, multichannel (e.g. 5.1, 7.1, ...)
Used in DVB, ISDB , SBTVD, DAB+, DRM+, DRM, ATSC-M/H, ISDB-Tmm, DVB-H, DMB, 3GPP, XM Radio, mobile phones, audio and video streaming services

 

HE-AAC for TV Broadcast

HE-AAC is the predominant codec in most state-of-the-art broadcast and streaming systems. For example, it is part of the DVB toolbox and being used in several European and South American countries. As a result, the majority of HD-capable TV receiver being sold today supports HE-AAC. And, all major broadcast encoder manufacturers included HE-AAC into their devices long ago. Due to this widespread use, HE-AAC can easily be integrated into existing production and distribution chains without great effort.

HE-AAC fully supports all broadcast relevant metadata and any channel configuration from mono to up to 48 channels, including stereo and 5.1 surround. It allows for the additional transmission of side information to enable future TV services, such as the Fraunhofer Dialogue Enhancement technology for improving speech intelligibility.

HE-AAC for Radio Broadcasting

HE-AAC is an established codec for Radio Broadcasting and is used in almost all digital Radio Broadcasting Systems, for example DAB+, Digital Radio Mondiale, and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Due to its efficiency and high audio quality, HE-AAC is the perfect fit for all digital radio systems with limited capacity.

From transmission to the receiver, Fraunhofer IIS develops and implements all technologies and components needed to build and support radio systems, standards and devices for digital radio. On the broadcast side, the DAB and DRM ContentServer family is a one-box-solution for audio encoding, data service management and ensemble multiplex generation. Fraunhofer IIS audio encoder and decoder offerings cover all major broadcast codecs available today such as MPEG Layer-2 for DAB Classic, MPEG HE-AACv2 for DAB+/DRM or MPEG Surround for high quality multichannel surround programs at stereo bit rates.

Streaming

HE-AAC is the pre-dominant audio streaming codec. All major streaming and media platforms support HE-AAC, for example Flash, Silverlight, Windows Media Player, Winamp, and iTunes. The operating systems Mac OS X and Windows come with HE-AAC as well as the mobile systems iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian and BlackBerry.

Today’s established http adaptive streaming systems such as Apple HLS, Microsoft Smooth Streaming and Adobe Dynamic Streaming are based on codecs of the AAC family.

HE-AAC is also an important part of other streaming standards in the consumer electronics domain, for example Open IPTV Forum, ATIS, HbbTV, and DLNA. As a consequence, almost all digital TVs, BluRay players, set-top boxes and gaming consoles support the codec. This widespread support of HE-AAC, makes it the codec of choice for content providers. That’s why most web radios are based on HE-AAC, as well as services such as Pandora, Aupeo, hulu or BBC iPlayer.

Availability

Fraunhofer IIS is the leading independent provider of optimized HE-AAC implementations. HE-AAC Encoder and Decoder object and source code are immediately available for:


Patent licensing:
A patent licensing program is administered by Via Licensing Corporation. Please visit www.vialicensing.com for more information or contact info@vialicensing.com .

Videos

Co-developed by Fraunhofer IIS, the AAC audio codec family enables today's media world.

Native Support of HE-AAC multichannel in Android 4.1

Fraunhofer IIS at CES 2013: Fraunhofer FDK for Android