Fraunhofer Enhances Dialogue

Fraunhofer IIS has announced new dialogue enhancement technology that allows TV and radio audiences to individually adjust broadcast audio elements.
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Erlangen, Germany (September 2, 2011)--Fraunhofer IIS has announced new dialogue enhancement technology that allows TV and radio audiences to individually adjust broadcast audio elements.

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Intended to solve the varying listening preference of each end user, Fraunhofer's technology is reportedly the first of its kind to enable this level of audio control at the low bit-rates required for broadcasting. It aims to help broadcasters provide better speech intelligibility and enable radio or TV listeners to increase or decrease the volume of specific audio elements to their taste.

Recently the subject of a BBC experiment during Wimbledon 2011, the technology allowed users of a specifically designed media player to listen to Radio 5 Live's online stream and adjust the audio volume levels of the commentator or background ambience during live coverage of the match for a tailored audio experience. The user reaction is said to have been positive, with users reporting the new feature as a useful extension for broadcasting.

Fraunhofer's dialogue enhancement technology allows for transportation of individual audio objects, such as a commentator's voice or stadium atmosphere, in a compatible mono or stereo downmix. The audio encoder receives these objects and produces a single mix, as well as a stream of parametric side information. The mix can be produced automatically or by a sound engineer. On the receiving side, the user is then able to adjust the volume of each object individually, to improve the intelligibility of the sports commentator.

Fraunhofer's dialogue enhancement technology is said to be compatible with existing transmission and playback equipment. Devices that are not capable of decoding the parametric side information will play back the mixed audio signal.

Fraunhofer will demonstrate the dialogue enhancement technology at IFA Berlin (September 2-7) and at IBC in Amsterdam (September 9-13).

Fraunhofer IIS Audio and Multimedia
www.iis.fraunhofer.de/en/bf/amm/