MPEG-H Audio

Overview

Fraunhofer IIS MPEG-H Interaktivität
© Photo Fraunhofer IIS/Frank Boxler/Valentin Schilling

Providing interactive, immersive sound for TV and VR applications

 

Immersive and personalized audio

Hear your home team™: The MPEG-H Audio system delivers enveloping immersive sound and allows consumers to choose between different audio presets or to adjust the dialogue volume.

 

Universal Delivery

Regardless of the device, the MPEG-H Audio system delivers the best sound experience possible  - in the home theatre as well as on smartphones, tablets and Virtual Reality devices.

 

A single technology for all applications

The MPEG-H Audio system is designed to work in streaming systems as well as in existing and future broadcast systems from contribution to emission.

 

Next-generation open audio standard

Fair pricing and an extensive community of open standards developers ensures easy and transparent access and a quick development of a whole ecosystem of devices for professionals as well as for consumers.

 

Ease of use

The MPEG-H Audio system is designed to work with today's streaming and broadcast equipment. The immersive sound features can be played back over any loudspeaker configuration or over headphones.

TV Audio

Fraunhofer’s Interactive and Immersive Audio System for TV Broadcasting Based on MPEG-H Audio

 

Hear your home team™: Interactivity offers a personalized listening experience

Our system will offer interactivity using MPEG-H’s object coding, which allows viewers to adjust the sound mix to their preferences, boosting hard-to-understand dialogue or creating a “home team“-mix of sports broadcasts. This feature may also be used to efficiently add objects for dialogue in additional languages or VI descriptions to a broadcast, spending only 20-40 kbit/s for each language.

 

Immersive sound offers cinema-like realism

The system may transmit immersive sound with additional front and rear height speaker channels or the Higher-Order Ambisonics sound field technology, improving today’s surround sound broadcasts to provide a truly realistic and immersive audio experience on par with the latest cinema sound systems.

Immersive sound may also be enjoyed in the future with devices such as Fraunhofer’s conceptual prototype of a “3D sound bar”, enabling mainstream consumers to experience high-quality immersive audio without the complexity of adding new speakers.

 

Unsurpassed coding efficiency

Since the system uses the new MPEG-H Audio codec based on the evolution of the AAC family as well as new technologies, the additional channels or objects needed for 3D sound can be transmitted at bitrates similar to those used today for 5.1 surround broadcasts.

Bit rates in kbit/s for

Good

Recommended

Transparent

22.2 Channels

256

512

1200

7.1 + 4 Height Channels

+ 4 Objects

200

384

800

5.1 Channels

96

160

256

2.0 Channels

32

56

160

 

 

Internet-ready for a great listening experience on every device

The MPEG-H Audio based system offers DASH support for stutter-free streaming and audio I-frames for easy DASH bit stream switching and easy splicing for ad insertion. It includes multi-platform loudness control to provide a tailored experience for a viewer’s device and listening environment.

 

Speaker-foolproof rendering for the best sound from legacy speakers

Improved rendering technologies in the system offer the ability to play any content format on any speaker configuration and may be able to correct for misplaced speakers in the consumer’s listening room. The renderer also offers improved downmix quality by avoiding signal cancellation and may render a limited impression of height without height speakers, for legacy 5.1 or 2.0 consumers.

The AAC family: 15 Years of proven service, providing half the world’s TV surround sound

Fraunhofer’s new TV audio system builds upon fifteen years of experience providing surround sound using the AAC codec family around the world. Fraunhofer designed the first AAC encoding hardware for Japanese HDTV in 1998 and AAC 5.1 decoding is supported in all Japanese TVs, AVRs, and soundbars. AAC is also the current codec of NHK’s new 22.2 channel audio system for Super Hi-Vision broadcasting.

This work in Japan led to the adoption of HE-AAC Multichannel as the surround codec of the ISDB-based SBTVD system used in many South American countries, and today Brazilian broadcasters, including TV Globo, use HE-AAC to provide 5.1 surround sound to their viewers.

HE-AAC is also used for surround sound in many countries using the DVB system and the AAC family has been on the air since 2009 providing surround sound for the BBC’s HD service in the UK.

Virtual Reality

MPEG-H Audio, the next-generation audio standard for TV and VR, was developed for a listening experience going beyond surround sound. Immersive 3D sound for VR is achieved by adding height information to the sound mix. Thanks to the efficiency of the new codec, 3D audio can be delivered at bitrates as low as 200 kbit/s which makes MPEG-H Audio the audio codec of choice for VR streaming services.

MPEG-H Audio can carry audio channels, audio objects and ambisonics audio plus metadata within a single audio bitstream. Audio channels provide a great way to deliver immersive audio while dynamic audio objects enable directors to use audio cues to guide the audience through 360 stories. In this context, they also allow for a very precise placement of sound events around the listener’s head and at a specific distance from the ear. Ambisonics audio on the other hand provides a convenient way to capture immersive audio scenes, for instance on set, plus they make it easier to realize point of view manipulation and head rotation at playback.

In tandem with the delivery of immersive sound to VR devices using MPEG-H Audio, Fraunhofer Cingo can be used for the authentic and realistic reproduction of the 3D sound scene over headphones. Cingo supports rendering of fully immersive 3D audio content with formats that add a height dimension – including 5.1+2 height speakers, 7.1+4 height and similar channel configurations – and allows the simultaneous placement of sound objects anywhere in the virtual space around the listener.

Fraunhofer Cingo experience
© Photo Fraunhofer IIS/David Hartfiel

Papers

 

Technical Brief: Installing the MPEG-H Audio Alliance’s New Interactive and Immersive TV Audio System in Professional Production and Distribution Facilities

Robert Bleidt - 2015

Immersive Audio with MPEG 3D Audio - Status and Outlook

Robert Bleidt, Stefan Meltzer, Max Neuendorf, Jan Plogsties - NAB 2014 (Printed in the NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference Proceedings 2014, presented at the 2014 NAB Show.)

Object-Based Audio: Opportunities for Improved Listening Experience and Increased Listener Involvement

Robert Bleidt, Arne Borsum, Harald Fuchs, S. Merrill Weiss - SMPTE 2014 (Written for SMPTE Journal©)

Technical Paper: Delivering a complete suite of solutions for the next generation of virtual reality audio

News

Report: South Korea Adopts ATSC 3.0

July 27, 2016 - SEOUL—South Korea has adopted ATSC 3.0, according to the Yonhap News agency. ATSC 3.0 is the digital broadcast television transmission technology standard being developed by the U.S.-based Advanced Television Systems Committee.

World’s 1st Terrestrial UHD TV Service With MPEG-H Audio

Specifically developed for next generation television and streaming systems, the audio codec is now part of the Korean standard for terrestrial Ultra High Definition TV recently published by South Korean standards organization Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA).

Korean Manufacturers License Fraunhofer’s MPEG-H Audio Technology For Broadcast Encoders

Now that Korea has adopted the MPEG-H Audio standard for its nationwide advanced (“immersive”) audio broadcasts, several encoder manufacturers have begun to adopt specific software algorithms associated with the technology from Fraunhofer IIS, based in Germany.

AES 2015 Reflections: Fraunhofer USA’s Robert Bleidt discusses the ‘four phases’ of immersive audio adoption

For German research organisation Fraunhofer, it is the MPEG-H standard that is leading the way to a more immersive audio future. As part of the MPEG-H Audio Alliance alongside Qualcomm Technologies and Technicolor, Fraunhofer is helping to spread the word about a system that will deliver comprehensive object-based audio.

Choice of ATSC 3.0 Audio System Comes Down to the Wire

The choice between systems for ATSC 3.0 audio is now down to MPEG-H versus Dolby AC-4 and there is about equal support for each system. It’s now mired in politics within the committee, though a decision is due by the end of 2015.

Considerations for the MPEG-H Audio Standard

This article discusses the plan for the new MPEG-H Audio standard, a real-time 3-D audio encoder system with applications for broadcast and streaming distribution, developed in large part by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, and recently finalized and submitted as an ISO/MPEG standard.

Demos of ATSC 3.0 Immersive-Audio Format Offer Chance To Grow Alliances

This week’s special event organized by the ATSC S34-2 working group offered real-time comparisons of candidates for the audio aspect of the ATSC 3.0 standard. Although no conclusions are scheduled to be announced until the fall, the event, held in Atlanta, has become an opportunity for third-party broadcast-technology–equipment manufacturers to line up behind either Dolby’s AC-4 or the MPEG-H Audio Alliance of Fraunhofer, Technicolor, and Qualcomm.

MPEG-H Audio Brings New Features to TV and Streaming Sound

New TV audio systems such as MPEG-H not only offer consumers more accurate sound, but the ability to adjust the sound to their preferences and hear it as it can best be reproduced on their devices.

Implementing MPEG-H Audio in Television Broadcast Operations

The coding efficiency of audio compression is about to improve markedly because of a new MPEG audio standard—MPEG-H. This standard will permit many new and useful capabilities for those involved in television audio.

The Sound of Evolution

Winner of five television Emmys, Dennis Baxter, a broadcast sound designer, author, columnist, lecturer and critic within the sports broadcast industry gives his viewpoint on the next generation of audio technologies.

MPEG-H Audio @ IBC 2014

Fraunhofer demo rated as one of the best ideas at IBC 2014 by nScreenNoise.

Videos

Please note: Starting the videos transfers usage data to youtube.

Audio & Multimedia Technologies at IBC2016

We always look forward to coming to Amsterdam for the IBC exhibition: It’s the perfect place to meet up with professionals of multimedia content creation and distribution, and to present our latest Audio & Multimedia technologies.

MPEG-H Audio is one of these technologies – tune in to learn more about the immersive, interactive audio system and our other exhibits for digital radio, streaming, TV broadcast or Virtual Reality, and see how they all can form the future.

MPEG-H Audio for Next-Generation TV Broadcasting at IBC 2015

MPEG-H Audio Alliance Live Broadcast Demonstration at NAB 2015

Jünger Audio, Fraunhofer & MPEG-H

 

MPEG-H Enables Interactive Audio, Immersive Sound, and Maximizes Sound on All Devices

Electronic Design Technology Editor Bill Wong talks with Robert Bleidt, Division General Manager for Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies, about the new MPEG-H Audio standard.