Fraunhofer IIS, the leading developer of xHE-AAC, announced that Netflix licensed this high quality audio codec and is implementing it to encode its entire catalogue of TV series, documentaries and films for the

One of the key features of xHE-AAC for Netflix, says Fraunhofer IIS, are the required MPEG-D metadata for volume and dynamic range control. This feature allows service providers to incorporate specific metadata into the audio stream that can then be used on the playback side to achieve a consistent level of loudness and an optimal dynamic range for any device and playback environment.

For example, in a living room a film can be used with the full dynamic range, in the way the mix was intended; the same film on a mobile device, in a noisy environment, could require a different volume management for dialogues to be intelligible With MPEG-D metadata, a single audio stream can meet the needs of both of these use cases and others.

Other key facts are also the improved xHE-AAC encoding efficiency at low bit rates, its ability to scale up to a perceptively loss-free quality at high bit rates and the seamlessly incorporated bit rate switching.

These features allow Netflix to always transmit with an audio bit rate that corresponds to the Internet speed currently available, obtaining a very high quality for high bandwidth connections and minimizing rebuffers during the congestion of the network.

xHE-AAC is the last member of the MPEG AAC audio codec family, for whose development Fraunhofer IIS has played an important role and which is experiencing a growth in diffusion in the industry.

Recently Fraunhofer IIS also announced a new web-based test service that developers and manufacturers can use to validate their xHE-AAC audio codec implementations for MPEG compliance. The service can be used free of charge after registration with Fraunhofer IIS and is able to test both encoders and decoders.

In addition, Fraunhofer IIS has also published a demo of the best audio quality and new features of xHE-AAC compared to HE-AAC, available on the playback test site.

This latest generation of AAC codec family improves the quality of stereo bit rate audio streaming from 12 to 500 kbit/s or higher, also offers a number of optimization features such as adaptive streaming or fluid transitions between bit rates as they vary

xHE-AAC, which combines Extended HE-AAC and MPEG-D DRC, is designed to bridge the gap between speech and audio encoding. This provides a constant high-quality audio for all types of signal, such as speech, music or mixed content, and all bit rates: starting from 6 kbit/s for mono and 12 kbit/s for stereo services,

These features make xHE-AAC the ideal audio codec for digital radio and adaptive streaming applications, since, among other things, it offers continuous playback even in difficult networking conditions. Fraunhofer IIS underlines that this codec opens up the possibility of reaching for the first time with streaming services the billions of users who, especially in emerging markets, have only a 2G connection.

In addition, streaming service providers can benefit from drastically reduced CDN costs and simplified management of encoding resources, while users can benefit from better service quality while saving on the valuable monthly share of data.

DRM (Digital Radio Worldwide) is the first digital radio standard to adopt xHE-AAC and exploit its features. The implementations of the xHE-AAC codec for use in DRM and streaming applications are now available for many platforms: from PCs (Windows, Mac, Linux) to Android and iOS mobile devices, Fire

And now the xHE-AAC codec is also used by Netflix for its popular on demand video platform.

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