Press Release: Advances in audio technology to transform listening experience

ITU experts visualize new age of immersive sound for broadcasting

Geneva, 16 July 2015 – Experts at the ITU workshop on “The Future of Audio in Broadcasting” on 15 July 2015 revealed how new developments in audio delivery will affect the way programmes are made, and the new ways that sound will be brought into our lives.

Sound today is an indispensable part of television and radio. But there will be much more to it in the years to come, as part of advances in audio technology.

In real life, we hear sound from all around us – a bird above us, a car behind us, and a voice ahead of us. Emulating this same experience in the media will be ‘immersive audio’. Coupled with new ultra high quality UHDTV Television, which offers enhanced image rendition, immersive audio will lift the television experience to an entirely new level, further blurring the line between physical reality and virtual or digital simulation.

Future technical capabilities for audio will also allow viewers to select their own menu of services. They will be able to decide on and adjust the level of immersive sound in their living rooms, creating dynamic sound imaging.

These features become possible with ‘object based coding’. It will allow viewers to personalize their viewing and listening experience ‘at the point of consumption’. This could include setting language and dialogue levels and selecting different aspects or sections of programming, which could also bring added benefits for people with disabilities.

“We are on the threshold of an exciting new age of ‘sound’ for broadcasting,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “These new audio systems will provide additional features and performance well beyond those available today.”

“The role that sound plays in the media is under-estimated,” said François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunications Bureau. “The work of ITU, along with other standards bodies, is creating a very exciting future for audio production, delivery and programming.”

The experts providing their vision of the future of audio included the BBC, Dolby, DTS, Fraunhofer IIS, NHK, and WDR.

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