ATSC 3.0 Audio System Bids Submitted
On 14 December 2014, the ATSC issued a Call for Proposals for a comprehensive audio system for the next generation ATSC 3.0 standard. Dolby (with Atmos), DTS (with DTS:X) and a consortium comprising Technicolor, Fraunhofer and Qualcomm (jointly promoting MPEG-H Audio) have spent January pitching their respective immersive audio systems.
Personalisation and customisation of the audio signal to suit the viewer's device and environment are at the top of the ATSC's list of requirements for the new system, with the quality of the immersive experience next. 'Personalization includes enhancement to the control of dialog, use of alternate audio tracks and mixing of assistive audio services, other-language dialog, special commentary, and music and effects. Plus, the system will support both the normalization of content loudness and contouring of dynamic range, based on the specific capabilities of a user’s fixed or mobile device and its unique sound environment', said ATSC President Mark Richer. 'Immersive audio functionality envelops the listener with precise sound source localization in azimuth, elevation and distance, and provides an increased sense of presence. These features can be supported over the listening area, without the need for a large number of physical speakers.'
The ATSC only invited proposals for complete audio solutions and systems that support both video/audio content and audio-only content. The successful bidder will be expected to deliver a rewarding listening experience on home theatre systems, on standard TVs, with and without soundbars, as well as on tablets, smartphones and other handheld devices, both with and without headphones. Of course, it's accepted that the level of the immersive audio experience will vary quite widely depending on the platform in use.