Fraunhofer IIS announces new tech, business developments

The leading audio research organisation has introduced a dialogue enhancement tool and a digital radio-oriented multimedia player, and announced a new licensing deal.
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The leading audio research organisation has introduced a dialogue enhancement tool and a digital radio-oriented multimedia player, and announced a new licensing deal.

Fraunhofer IIS is highlighting a flurry of recent developments at IBC2011, which is currently taking place at the Amsterdam RAI.

The first software product of its type in the industry to include MPEG Surround, the new Fraunhofer MultimediaPlayer software is for use with digital radio standards Digital Radio Modiale (DRM30/DRM+) and DAB (DAB Classic/DAB+). The software enables device manufacturers of PC-based receiver solutions and smartphones to integrate playback of radio programmes, as well as the variety of data services offered by digital radio. The MultimediaPlayer has already been implemented by Terratec on its NOXON DAB Stick receiver, which was released last month.

“With all of the entertainment options available in the industry, high quality solutions that add true value to the listener experience are key to staying competitive,” said Alexander Zink, digital radio expert and project manager at Fraunhofer IIS. “Fraunhofer’s MultimediaPlayer software is a flexible and easy to integrate solution that arms manufacturers with the technology needed to provide the best possible audio experiences, along with all of the features digital radio has to offer.”

Fraunhofer IIS is also highlighting a new dialogue enhancement technology to IBC visitors. The subject of a trial during the BBC’s recent coverage of the Wimbledon tennis championships, the new innovation allows TV and radio audiences to individually adjust the volume of dialogue, music or sound effects within a single broadcast programme.

The technology works by facilitating efficient transportation of individual audio objects, such as a commentator’s voice or stadium atmosphere, in a compatible mono or stereo downmix. The audio encoder receives these objects and produces a single mix, as well as a stream of parametric side information. The transmission of the mix, plus side information, is extremely bit-rate efficient, as each audio object only slightly increases the overall bit-rate. The mix can be produced automatically or by a sound engineer. On the receiving side, the user is then able to adjust the volume of each object individually, to improve the intelligibility of the sports commentator.

Finally, in licensing news, a new agreement with Nullsoft will enable the inclusion of Fraunhofer’s MPEG audio codec software in Nullsoft software products. The latest versions of the Winamp client and SHOUTcast broadcast tools incorporate Fraunhofer’s HE-AAC v2. Future versions will also feature HD-AAC.

“The Winamp media player, well-known among consumers, has always been on the forefront of innovation,” said Harald Popp, head of the Multimedia Realtime Systems department at Fraunhofer IIS. “With the inclusion of our codecs, consumers will have access to the best quality and the latest codecs that professionals value for use in media production and distribution via SHOUTcast.”



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