| 22 Jun 2024
License programme for DRM's audio codec MPEG xHE-AAC announced

MUMBAI: Via Licensing Corporation announced on 18th April that a patent pool license for Extended High Efficiency AAC (xHE-AAC) is in the final stage of development, ready to be launched in the second quarter of 2016. Via Licensing is a world-known Californian provider of intellectual business solutions, such as patent pools, and a partner of highly innovative companies from around the world including several of the DRM Consortium member companies.

HE-AAC (xHE-AAC) is the latest upgrade to the MPEG AAC family of codecs. xHE-AAC is the first MPEG audio codec to combine speech and general-purpose audio coding in a unified system allowing for high quality delivery of any type of audio content at virtually any bit rate. This allows for DRM stereo even on robust medium and short wave transmissions.

The license fees presented now are inclusive of the underlying AAC patents. In other words, xHE-AAC licensees will not be paying twice for the patents that are granted under the AAC Patent License Agreement.

Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) is the first global broadcast standard to adopt the MPEG xHE-AAC. xHE-AAC is a superset of the AAC audio codec, which will also remain available as part of the DRM standard. Fraunhofer IIS, the audio experts behind MP3, were the first to provide manufacturers with production ready xHE-AAC encoder and efficient decoder implementations for all relevant processor platforms.

In their press release Via president of Joseph Siino said: “Via and its licensors have supported the Digital Radio Mondiale initiative for many years. As the format evolves, just as the AAC codec family itself evolves, it is important for us to aid commercialization of the technology by simplifying access to the essential patent rights for manufacturers and developers worldwide.”

Apart from radio broadcast, xHE-AAC is well suited for radio streaming services, especially over congested networks. Due to its coding efficiency and scalability, with stereo bit rates as low as 12 kilobits per second xHE-AAC enables streaming services over 2G networks such as those found in emerging markets, and it can save bandwidth costs for service providers and consumers even on 3G and 4G LTE networks.