Fraunhofer IIS First to Provide Product Ready Implementations of Extended HE-AAC For Digital Radio Mondiale


ERLANGEN, Germany (September 16, 2013) – Fraunhofer IIS, the audio experts behind MP3, are leading the innovation of audio codec technology for the next generation of digital radio with Extended HE-AAC (xHE-AAC), the latest upgrade to the MPEG AAC family of codecs. Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) is the first global broadcast standard to adopt xHE-AAC. Fraunhofer continues to serve as an industry leader being the first to provide manufacturers with product ready xHE-AAC encoder and low resource decoder implementations for all relevant processor platforms.

xHE-AAC is the first MPEG audio codec to combine speech and general-purpose audio coding in a unified system. This allows for high quality delivery of any type of audio content at virtually any bit rate.

“With standardization in MPEG, xHE-AAC has become the ideal codec for future broadcast systems. We are very happy that Digital Radio Mondiale is the first radio standard adopting the new codec,” said Harald Popp, head of the Audio & Multimedia Business department at Fraunhofer IIS. “Fraunhofer is committed to making the highest-quality xHE-AAC implementations available to all DRM broadcast encoder as well as receiver chipset manufacturers.“

xHE-AAC provides an improved audio quality for mixed-signal content at ultra-low bit rates as used in DRM AM bands. At the same time xHE-AAC is a superset of the MPEG AAC codec, that is used for all DRM transmissions so far and will remain available as part of the DRM standard.

DRM broadcasters also benefit from a simplified codec configuration process: All quality relevant parameters are automatically optimized internally by the encoder, and the need to change configuration settings depending on the type of audio content being broadcasted is eliminated.

DRM broadcast encoder solutions based on Fraunhofer’s ContentServer technology as well as third-party implementations already support xHE-AAC. Broadcasters can select xHE-AAC after a simple software upgrade to their existing equipment. All DRM receiver chipsets belonging to the initial mass-market generation include xHE-AAC from market launch. DRM radios based on these chipsets will be available in 2014.

At IBC in Amsterdam, September 13–17, interested users and manufacturers can experience xHE-AAC thanks to a full DRM transmission chain set up at the Fraunhofer booth B80 in hall 8. In addition DRM solutions with xHE-AAC support will be presented during IBC by many DRM members such as Ampegon, Nautel, RFmondial and Transradio SenderSysteme Berlin.