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IBC preview for Dialogue Enhancement app

A new iPhone app that allows radio listeners to adjust the balance between speech and music on programmes will be demonstrated during next week's IBC in Amsterdam.

A new iPhone app that allows radio listeners to adjust the balance between speech and music on programmes will be demonstrated during next week’s IBC in Amsterdam. The Dialogue Enhancement device has been developed by Fraunhofer IIS working with the BBC and Swedish Radio, which will begin trials of the technology in Sweden this autumn. This development moves on from the tests carried out during Wimbledon last year by BBC TV (pictured), which gave viewers the capability to alter the amount of commentary and crowd noise of what they were watching. The new application was prompted by Swedish Radio’s audibility project, following complaints from listeners about sound effects and background music used behind presenters making speech difficult to understand. The two radio services that came under fire particularly were talk station P1 and classical and contemporary music channel P2. In both cases listeners said they found understanding what was being said difficult, especially if they were in noisy environments such as cars or the workplace. Dialogue Enhancement works on the principle of having additional parametric data relating to the programme carried in the main mono/stereo compatible downmix. This can be decoded by specially equipped TV sets or radios to effectively produce two individual channels with dialogue or commentary and crowd atmosphere or sound effects and music. The viewer or listener can then control the balance to suit their taste. A special smartphone app has been developed for the Swedish Radio tests. This will allow iPhone users to listen to programmes and alter the amounts of music and speech. Fraunhofer hopes the technology will be beneficial for not just basic music-speech balance but also in helping people with hearing impairments through additional filtering. tech.ebu.ch/docs/techreview/trev_2012-Q2_Dialogue-Enhancement_Fuchs.pdf

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