Washington, August 15 : Radio broadcasts with significantly higher quality are now possible with the help of a new method of processing and compressing the audio data, developed by German researchers.
Experts at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen say that DAB Surround will lend a whole new quality to digital radio.
"When you listen to music on the radio, it will sound like you're sitting in a concert hall and not at your own breakfast table," says Matthias Rose of the IIS.
The special feature of DAB Surround is that it does not require a higher data rate than stereo DAB to achieve this noticeably better sound experience.
The new MPEG Surround standard works by compressing the six channels of a surround music track to the extent that they require no more memory than a compressed stereo signal.
Another advantage of using the technology is that radio broadcasters will be spared the expensive business of transmitting simultaneously in stereo and surround, as compression of the original 5.1 data automatically produces a stereo mix and sets parameters describing the surround sound.
These parameters require only a few kilobits per second, and can be aired by the broadcasters together with the stereo signal.
"Our mp3 Surround format also enables surround sound to be heard over the Internet - a chance for thousands of mp3 Web radio broadcasters to offer their listeners an extra bonus," says Rose.
What is special about it is that the required bandwidth stays the same, thus avoiding higher broadcasting costs.