Launch of new audio codec to boost DRM receiver industry

Monday 09 October, 2017


The DRM Consortium welcomed the announcement made by Via Licensing Corporation, a leading world-wide intellectual property solutions provider, of the highly efficient MPEG xHE-AAC audio codec (Extended High Efficiency AAC) to become in effect a default feature of the widely popular Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) patent pool.

Through this announcement, Via and AAC licensors are taking steps to encourage and accelerate the adoption of xHE-AAC, the most recent and advanced member of the AAC family of audio codecs.
The MPEG xHE-AAC audio codec is a mandatory feature of the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) standard. It is currently in use on DRM transmissions across the globe. Applications for MPEG xHE-AAC also include streaming over mobile and wired networks and terrestrial radio.

By making xHE-AAC available as part of its AAC patent pool, Via grants licensees access to xHE-AAC rights at no additional cost, and reduces average per-unit cost through greater volume aggregation across all AAC related products. In addition, DRM receiver manufacturers deploying the xHE-AAC technology will be able to benefit from special rates for emerging markets formerly only available to AAC licensors, including India, Indonesia, Pakistan, most African countries including South Africa, most Arab countries, most South American countries including Brazil.

According to Via, the expanded AAC patent pool license including xHE-AAC will be available to licensees starting in the last quarter of 2017.

xHE-AAC combines two MPEG technologies, High Efficiency AAC v2, and Unified Speech and Audio Coding (USAC). It is designed to support the delivery of mixed speech and general audio content including music on mobile devices, radio broadcasts, and wired streaming services. xHE-AAC provides exceptional audio quality using low bit rates delivering a listening experience suitable for mobile devices, and can scale-up to offer audiophile-quality reproduction. The reduced bit rate helps broadcasters and mobile streaming audio providers distribute their content more efficiently. Consumers can enjoy high quality audio reproduction at lower bit rates, which reduces their mobile data consumption and costs.

"The addition of xHE-AAC technology increases the value of our AAC patent pool license," said Joe Siino, President of Via Licensing. "Adding xHE-AAC to our patent pool ensures that broadcasters and service providers can deliver the next generation of audio to consumers efficiently and affordably."

For Ruxandra Obreja, the DRM Consortium Chairman, "this is a breakthrough initiative for the DRM receiver availability as it gives an extra boost to digital receiver manufacturing. The global receiver industry can now be confident that there are no extra costs but rather great cost savings in many relevant countries for manufacturing DRM or even multi-standard DRM/DAB+ receivers."


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