Erlangen, Germany (December 8, 2004)–Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, who developed MP3 together with their colleagues from Thomson, the exclusive licensing representative for their MP3 patents, and Agere Systems, have joined to launch MP3 Surround into the consumer and commercial markets. This technology will enable 5.1 channel surround sound for a broad spectrum of applications including web-based music distribution, broadcasting systems, PC-related audiovisual or gaming applications, consumer electronics and automotive systems.
MP3 Surround supports high-quality multichannel sound at bit rates comparable to those currently used to encode stereo MP3 material, resulting in files half the size of common compressed surround formats. The new format offers complete backward compatibility to any existing MP3 software and hardware devices.
Thomson, which has partnered with Fraunhofer IIS since the launch of MP3 in 1992, is adding Fraunhofer Institute’s new MP3 Surround technology to its licensing program. “The free MP3 Surround evaluation software will enable everyone to test the latest feature of the digital audio standard. We encourage music artists, engineers and producers to experience this new multichannel audio format and realize the benefits of its portability and backward compatibility,” said Henri Linde, vice president, new business of the intellectual property and licensing unit for Thomson.
The evaluation encoder enables the creation of MP3 Surround material out of five or six channel “.wav” files. The Fraunhofer IIS MP3 Surround player is capable of decoding and playing back the surround format’s files as well as stereo MP3 material. This software-only solution runs on any standard PC with multichannel audio capabilities. MP3 Surround, developed by Fraunhofer IIS in collaboration with Agere Systems, uses a psychoacoustic technique called binaural cue coding to capture the spatial image information of multichannel sound.
Evaluation software is available at: