ERLANGEN, Germany–Fraunhofer IIS, primary developer of the xHE-AAC and MPEG-H Audio codecs, and MainConcept, a leading provider of video and audio codecs, plugins, and applications to the production, streaming, and broadcast industries, are pleased to announce that MainConcept’s Live Encoder and FFmpeg Plugins now support Fraunhofer’s industry-leading MPEG-H Audio and xHE-AAC software encoders.
Many service providers around the world rely on FFmpeg for their ingest and encoding frameworks. Complementing its already existing xHE-AAC plugin, MainConcept now also provides the most flexible FFmpeg plugin for MPEG-H Audio. The plugin can easily be integrated into existing workflows and seamlessly used in FFmpeg-based environments, enabling the encoding and streaming of content with personalized and immersive audio.
In addition to the plugin, MPEG-H Audio has also been integrated into the MainConcept Live Encoder. The powerful all-in-one encoding engine simplifies widespread broadcast and OTT video workflows. An intuitive user interface allows the packaging of content for multiscreen delivery using common input sources in real time.
“The addition of MPEG-H Audio to MainConcept’s Live Encoder and the FFmpeg plugins for xHE-AAC and MPEG-H Audio delivers huge benefits to providers, particularly for the live streaming of sports events and concerts, which can now be delivered in immersive audio and even be personalized by the audience,” explains Marc Gayer, Head of Business Department & Deputy Division Director Audio and Media Technologies at Fraunhofer IIS.
“We are constantly working to ensure our customers can deliver the highest standards of audiovisual quality and performance,” says Thomas Kramer, Vice President, Business Development and Strategy at MainConcept. “Partnering with Fraunhofer IIS for the xHE-AAC and MPEG-H Audio FFmpeg plugins and the integration of MPEG-H Audio into our Live Encoder makes these tools a perfect match for future broadcast infrastructures, for example the Brazilian next-generation broadcast system (TV 3.0), that requires VVC together with MPEG-H Audio and deployment is expected to start in 2025.”
xHE-AAC, the latest generation of the AAC codec family, offers several benefits to service operators and consumers. It can operate over a wide bitrate range, with seamless switching between bitrates for adaptive bitrate delivery using DASH or HLS protocols. It offers an improved quality at lower bitrates on speech content and improved stereo imaging. The codec comes with a mandatory loudness and dynamic range control for consistent playback loudness, and thanks to the Live Automatic Loudness feature in the encoder this works also for live inputs (such as streaming of concerts, sports events or news streams). xHE-AAC is supported in the latest Apple, Android, Amazon, and Microsoft operating systems. Fraunhofer estimates that two billion hours of on-demand xHE-AAC content are currently streamed each month by content providers including Netflix, Facebook and Instagram.
About MPEG-H Audio
From stereo to multichannel to immersive 3D audio, MPEG-H Audio has all the features needed to enhance viewer loyalty and advertising revenue. Already on the air in Brazil and South Korea, the Fraunhofer technology also powers Sony’s 360 Reality Audio music streaming available on Amazon Music, nugs.net, Sony Select, and Tidal.
MPEG-H Audio also enables the delivery of personalized audio complete with custom UI on the device. And all of this is fully under the provider’s control in a single stream with seamless, realtime switching.
Fraunhofer’s Audio and Media Technologies division has been shaping globally deployed standards in the media field for more than 30 years. Starting with the creation of mp3 up to the latest 4th generation audio codecs: xHE-AAC, MPEG-H, EVS, LC3/LC3plus. Our best-in-class technologies are elevating the user experience to new heights. Visit www.iis.fraunhofer.de/audio