Hannover, Germany (March 17, 2004)–The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS will launch its brand new MP3 Surround technology at the CeBIT telecom and IT trade show in Hannover this week. A next generation of MP3, MP3 Surround technology provides a multichannel listening experience with minimum effort and maximum compatibility, according to the company.
Available by mid-2004, MP3 Surround allows the reproduction of high-quality multichannel sound at bit rates comparable to those currently used to encode stereo MP3 material. The new format additionally offers backward compatibility to existing MP3 software and devices, with MP3 Surround bit streams playing back as stereo sound on all current MP3 players.
Based on the MP3 standard, MP3 Surround encodes multichannel sound by transmitting a stereo audio signal that carries a compatible stereo downmix of the multichannel material. In addition, a small amount of side information is transmitted characterizing the spatial distribution and attributes of the multichannel sound image.
MP3 Surround was developed by Fraunhofer IIS in collaboration with Agere Systems. By means of the new technology, users can play back both stereo or surround music from the same MP3 Surround files. This allows for a wide range of MP3 Surround applications within, for example, broadcasting systems or web-based music distribution. Currently, a number of commercial music download services offer their music in MP3 stereo. Such services can be seamlessly extended to provide multichannel MP3 and yet remain compatible with stereo equipment. The same applies to Internet radios that will be able to stream multichannel content with nearly the same effort as for stereo broadcasting.
Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS