ITU approves global standard for ‘immersive audio’

Houlin Zhao

Houlin Zhao

The ITU has approved new global standards for ‘immersive audio’ technology, which it claims will “lift the television experience to an entirely new level.

The new open standards are designed to deliver advanced sound for broadcasting services that will create “a listening experience that is closer to real life”.

The new file format was developed based on the existing RIFF/WAV file format to ease its application and implementation. The standards will enable the production and exchange of advanced audio files by allowing a single file to carry a complete audio programme – containing audio samples as well as metadata for any combination of object, channel and scene-based audio – according to the ITU.

“Coupled with new high quality Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV), which offers enhanced image rendition, immersive audio will lift the television experience to an entirely new level, further blurring the line between physical reality and virtual or digital simulation,” said the ITU.

Future technical capabilities for audio will allow viewers to select their own menu of services, deciding on and adjusting the level of immersive sound in their living rooms to create dynamic sound imaging. This could include setting language and dialogue levels, the ITU added.

“The ITU global standard for immersive audio sets an important step for an exciting new age of ‘sound’ for broadcasting. The advanced audio systems will provide additional features and performance well beyond those available today,” said ITU secretary-general, Houlin Zhao.

François Rancy, director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, added: “The role that sound plays in the media is under-estimated. The work of ITU, along with other standards bodies, is creating a very exciting future for audio production, delivery and programming.”

Tags: audio, ITU