Fraunhofer MPEG Surround Format chosen for BBC Radio Drama download

Press Release /

Starting February 4th, the drama ‘Private Peaceful’ will be available for download in 5.1 Surround Sound Fraunhofer IIS, the world’s renowned source for audio and multimedia technologies, today announces its continuing online experiments with the BBC and MPEG Surround Codec. After the success of the “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” MPEG Surround streaming experiment during Christmas 2011, the BBC is offering a radio play for download in 5.1 MPEG Surround for the first time.

For one week, Feb. 4-11, the listeners will be able to download the radio drama “Private Peaceful” from the BBC Radio 4 Play of the Week website at: To ensure the best surround listening experience, consumers need to download the Fraunhofer Surround ‘Peaceful Player’ application, available on Fraunhofer’s website here:

The podcast tells the story of more than 300 World War One British and Commonwealth soldiers that were executed by firing squad. Ninety years later these men received posthumous pardons from the British Government, after a campaign helped in part by the publication of Michael Morpurgo’s novel “Private Peaceful.” The radio dramatization will bring this story of injustice to an even wider audience.

“The BBC is committed to finding new ways to present high quality audio content to our audiences”, said Rupert Brun, Head of Technology for BBC Audio & Music. “The presentation of ‘Private Peaceful’ in MPEG Surround is the latest of a successful series of public experiments in which we have explored ways to deliver a compelling immersive audio experience. We hope this experiment will reach a new audience as it is the first experiment of the series to focus on drama rather than music.”

MPEG Surround is a feature-rich, open standard audio codec for multi-channel audio signals. As the name implies, it is a high-quality surround codec that allows the cost-efficient delivery of surround audio at stereo bitrates and is compatible with existing stereo receivers. It operates on top of any core audio codec, including AAC and HE-AAC, and provides virtualized binaural multi-channel sound reproduction capability for stereo headphones.

“Our audio codecs have enhanced the entertainment and broadcast industry, as well as ways in which the industries produce and distribute content to end users”, says Harald Popp, head of the Multimedia Realtime Systems department of Fraunhofer IIS. “We are glad to be able to test our MPEG Surround technology together with the BBC which is as dedicated to audio quality and innovations as we are.”

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