The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is providing a testing ground for immersive and personalised audio technology this year.
The EBU and its technology partners will present a parallel production of the event, mixing and transmitting it live with Next Generation Audio in the MPEG-H Audio format. The content is being made available to broadcasters for testing purposes via the Eurovision FINE network. An on-site demonstration is available to journalists and EBU Members in Tel Aviv.
Next Generation Audio – NGA – enables the delivery of an immersive aural experience that can be fully personalised, to any device. For broadcasters, it’s a produce-once, deliver-anywhere scenario, avoiding the need to create dedicated mixes for all possible playback situations.
Those using NGA will be able to adjust the relative volumes of the performers, commentary and background ambience, or to switch between multiple different languages. Headphone users can be immersed in 3D binaural sound, while those with NGA-enabled soundbars or multi-speaker setups can experience audio that engulfs them on all sides.
Because all of the different audio elements are delivered individually, they can be controlled by the end user. This means that people who have hearing difficulties can boost the commentary while reducing the background ambience, for example, thus increasing the accessibility of media content.
The EBU is working to ensure that broadcasters can easily evolve their production and delivery workflows, in an open and codec-independent way, to serve the growing population of NGA-capable devices in the market. There are three standardised solutions for NGA: MPEG-H Audio, AC-4 and DTS-UHD.
MPEG-H Audio was used for the parallel immersive and object-based audio production and transmission in this trial. The Eurovision Song Contest content will be made available to EBU Members for further demonstrations and trials.
The EBU’s technology partners for the MPEG-H NGA demonstration at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 are: ATEME, Fraunhofer IIS, Jünger Audio, Sennheiser, Solid State Logic and TELOS ALLIANCE.