In an age when television image quality continues to improve, it is time to create a new, more ‘immersive’ sound experience to match.
A new ITU Recommendation is now helping to make this a reality, paving the way for a fully immersive sound experience.
The new Recommendation (ITU-R BS.2127) will provide a major impetus for the use of ‘Next Generation Audio’ (NGA), also known as the ‘Advanced Sound System (AdvSS).
Home ‘set ups’ for AdvSS/NGA can include multiple conventional loudspeakers or specially designed sound bars.
The result will be a more realistic and exciting experience that will add considerably to the overall media experience.
“We are very pleased to see that, once again, ITU’s work will enrich people’s lives — this time by helping to provide cutting-edge audio quality,” says Mario Maniewicz, Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau. “This Recommendation will be a major benefit for programme-makers and audio production equipment makers, allowing them to deliver a new era of audio to people worldwide.”
Over the past few years, ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) has worked to standardize and publish Recommendations that help usher in a new era for sound. More than 5,000 specialists from administrations, the telecommunications industry and academic organizations participate in the work of the ITU-R Study Groups.
A landmark ITU-R specification for a common worldwide Audio Definition Model (ADM) Renderer has now been achieved with the publication of the new Recommendation (ITU-R BS.2127, that defines the reference renderer for use during programme production and exchange for the Advanced Sound Systems (AdvSS) specified in Recommendation ITU-R BS.2051 and the audio-related metadata specified by the Audio Definition Model (ADM) in Recommendation ITU-R BS.2076.
“The ITU-R ADM Renderer is a collaboration by many leading sound experts and member organizations,” said David Wood, leader of the Working Party Group. “The data codes that tell the home receiver what to do with the audio elements are already standardized and published by the ITU-R. Now, the technical system that converts the audio elements and their data codes into specific loudspeaker feeds is ready and completes the chain.”
What this means is that AdvSS will now be able to give programme-makers greater flexibility and creative freedom, and make the listening experience more exciting and useful for viewers and listeners – with higher fidelity to the programme-maker’s vision.
“This is an exciting new era for sound reproduction for television, radio and online services.” – Andy Quested, Chairman of Working Party 6C
AdvSS now can, but does not have to, send specific audio signals to specific home loudspeakers as in the past. It can now provide the receiver with a series of ‘audio elements’ together with continuous instructional data about what to do with them. The receiver, knowing where the listeners’ loudspeakers are in practice, reconstructs in the home the original vision of the programme creator.
“This is an exciting new era for sound reproduction for television, radio and online services.” said Andy Quested, Chairman of Working Party 6C. “Audio for broadcasting is evolving towards a fully immersive and interactive experience, which requires the use of more flexible audio formats. But what is really important is that the ITU-R ADM Renderer can reassure programme-makers complex sound will be reproduced in the home.”
“This is a major step forward that should lead to wider and more confident use of Advanced Sound Systems.” — Andy Quested
Programme-makers can use the ITU-R ADM Renderer to monitor and compare the experiences of different sound mixes, and to make quality evaluations. They can also hear how the audio mix they are creating in a studio will be heard by listeners at home, irrespective of the manufacturer of the listener’s home system.
This is crucial, as otherwise their programmes would be ‘blind’, which would not encourage the widespread use of the new AdvSS.
We can expect to see the ADM Renderer as a feature of future AdvSS production equipment, either in hardware or software. This is seen by experts as a major step forward that should lead to wider and more confident use of AdvSS.