Evaluation of Proposed ATSC 3.0 Audio Systems Begins

April Audio SystemsThe ATSC’s evaluation of detailed proposals for a comprehensive audio system that will bring a more immersive audio experience for living room and mobile viewers with the ATSC 3.0 is under way.

Audio system proponents submitted detailed technical proposals for the audio subsystem for ATSC 3.0 in March. Systems from Dolby Laboratories and the MPEG H Audio Alliance (Fraunhaufer, Qualcomm and Technicolor) will be tested in the coming months.

This summer, the proposed systems will be tested discretely and in their entirety, as comprehensive, end-to-end systems for use as the audio layer for the ATSC 3.0 signal. The goal is to establish the ATSC 3.0 Audio System Candidate Standard this fall.

  • ATSC 3.0 audio testing is expected to be the first in the world to examine immersive audio for a next-generation broadcast television standard. Immersive audio functionality enables high spatial resolution in sound source localization in azimuth, elevation and distance, and provides an increased sense of sound envelopment throughout the listening area.
  • ATSC 3.0 audio “personalization” will include enhancements to the control of dialog, use of alternate audio tracks and mixing of assistive audio services, other-language dialog, special commentary, and music and effects.
  • ATSC 3.0 audio also will support both the normalization of content loudness and contouring of dynamic range, based on the specific capabilities of a user’s fixed or mobile devices and their unique sound environments.

Significantly improving upon the capabilities of the current multi-channel broadcast digital television audio system, ATSC 3.0 audio is expected to provide consumers with a more compelling, personalized and immersive experience.


Summaries of ATSC 3.0 Audio Subsystem Technical Proposals

Dolby: The Dolby Audio system provides a practical, scalable and flexible set of tools built upon state-of-the-art technology and proven know-how. It enables the most efficient production, distribution and delivery of consumer broadcast experiences for all audiences today and in the future. This comprehensive solution spans content creation, distribution/interchange and consumer delivery that makes next-generation consumer broadcast experiences possible and includes seamless support for today’s consumer broadcast experiences. At the heart of the Dolby Audio system is Dolby AC-4, the next-generation emission codec. Rooted in generations of broadcast audio experience, Dolby AC-4 provides the content and device industries a strong foundation to collaboratively build leading-edge audio experiences that meet the needs of consumers of varied interests and abilities.

Fraunhofer, Qualcomm and Technicolor: MPEG-H Audio is a holistically designed suite of functionalities built around a highly efficient core audio codec. The design offers a wide variety of technologies to address different requirements and to enable practical combinations of these technologies to form a versatile, yet well-defined, audio system. For the immersive reproduction of content it is possible to use channels based and/or sound scene based technology in combination with audio objects. Audio objects also add interactivity and personalization capabilities to the mix. Enhanced loudness and dynamic range processing allows adaption to device specific audio characteristics. Flexible rendering technology is included to allow the best adaptation of the content to the actual listening environment and compensate for misplaced speakers. For 5.1 surround sound, bitrates of 96 to 256 kbps deliver good to excellent quality, whereas immersive reproduction can be achieved with commonly used broadcast audio data rates of 384 kbps.