Fraunhofer to showcase dialogue enhancement

More about this from the IBC showfloor, but it’s one worth marking your card for. Tested by the BBC during its Wimbledon broadcasts, Fraunhofer’s new audio technology enables end users to adapt the volume of different audio elements within a single broadcast programme.

Fraunhofer claims that its technology is the first of its kind to enable this level of audio control at the low bit-rates required for broadcasting. During the BBC tests, it enabled users of a specifically designed media player to listen to Radio 5 Live’s online stream and adjust the audio volume levels of the commentator or background ambience during live coverage of the match for a tailored audio experience. The user reaction was positive, with users reporting the new feature as a useful extension for broadcasting.

Fraunhofer’s dialogue enhancement technology allows for highly 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 bitrate efficient, as each audio object only slightly increases the overall bitrate. 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.

Fraunhofer’s dialogue enhancement technology is completely compatible with existing transmission and playback equipment. Devices that are not capable of decoding the parametric side information will play back the mixed audio signal.

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