MPEG-H 3D Audio

Last updated

MPEG-H 3D Audio, specified as ISO/IEC 23008-3 (MPEG-H Part 3), is an audio coding standard developed by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) to support coding audio as audio channels, audio objects, or higher order ambisonics (HOA). MPEG-H 3D Audio can support up to 64 loudspeaker channels and 128 codec core channels.


Objects may be used alone or in combination with channels or HOA components. The use of audio objects allows for interactivity or personalization of a program by adjusting the gain or position of the objects during rendering in the MPEG-H decoder. Audio is encoded using an improved modified discrete cosine transform (MDCT) algorithm. [1]

Channels, objects, and HOA components may be used to transmit immersive sound as well as mono, stereo, or surround sound. The MPEG-H 3D Audio decoder renders the bitstream to a number of standard speaker configurations as well as to misplaced speakers. Binaural rendering of sound for headphone listening is also supported.


In January 2013 the requirements were released for MPEG-H 3D Audio which was for an increase in the immersion of audio and to allow for a greater number of loudspeakers for audio localization. [2] The allowed audio types would be audio channels, audio objects, and HOA. [2]

On September 10, 2014, Fraunhofer IIS demonstrated a real time MPEG-H 3D audio encoder. [3]

In February 2015 MPEG announced that MPEG-H 3D Audio would be published as an International Standard. [4]

On March 10, 2015, the Advanced Television Systems Committee announced that MPEG-H 3D Audio was one of the three standards proposed for the audio system of ATSC 3.0. [5]

On April 10, 2015, Fraunhofer, Technicolor, and Qualcomm demonstrated a live broadcast signal chain consisting of all the elements needed to implement MPEG-H based audio in broadcast television. The demonstration featured a simulated remote truck at a sports event, a network control center, a local affiliate station, and a consumer living room. The audio was produced and encoded through an MPEG-H audio monitoring and authoring unit, mpeg-h real-time broadcast encoders, and real-time professional and consumer MPEG-H decoders. The audio was decoded in the consumer living room on a Technicolor set-top box. [6] [7]

In April 2015 the Advanced Television Systems Committee announced that systems from Dolby Laboratories and the MPEG-H Audio Alliance (Fraunhofer, Technicolor, and Qualcomm) would be tested in the coming months for use as the audio layer for the ATSC 3.0 signal. [8]

In August 2015 the Advanced Television Systems Committee announced that systems from Dolby Laboratories and the MPEG-H Audio Alliance (Fraunhofer, Technicolor, and Qualcomm) were demonstrated to the ATSC showing how they would work in both professional broadcast facilities and consumer home environments. [9] [10]

On April 18, 2016, South Korean broadcast equipment manufacturers Kai Media and DS Broadcast announced the availability of MPEG-H 3D Audio in their latest 4K broadcast encoders. [11]

On May 2, 2016, the Advanced Television Systems Committee has elevated the A/342 audio standard for ATSC 3.0 to the status of a Candidate Standard. The MPEG-H Audio Alliance TV audio system and Dolby AC-4 are part of the A/342 standard. [12]

On June 24, 2016, the South Korean standardization organization "Telecommunications Technology Association" TTA published the standard for "Transmission and Reception of Terrestrial UHD TV Broadcasting Service" for the South Korean terrestrial UHD TV broadcasting service to be launched in February 2017. The TTA standard is based on ATSC 3.0 and specifies MPEG-H 3D Audio as the sole audio codec for the 4K TV system. [13] [14] [15]

On January 3, 2017, Fraunhofer IIS announced a trademark program to identify interoperable products that include MPEG-H. [16]

On January 8, 2019, Sony announced an immersive music service "360 Reality Audio" that uses MPEG-H. [17] [18] [19]


The Main profile of MPEG-H 3D Audio has five levels. [20]

Levels for the Main profile of MPEG-H 3D Audio [20]
LevelMaximum number of
core channels
Maximum number of
loudspeaker channels

MPEG announced the availability of the MPEG-H 3D Audio Amendment 3 for late 2016. This amendment defines the Low Complexity Profile which includes technology that increases coding efficiency and also adds features designed for use in the broadcast industry. [21]

See also

Related Research Articles

MP3 is a coding format for digital audio developed largely by the Fraunhofer Society in Germany, with support from other digital scientists in the US and elsewhere. Originally defined as the third audio format of the MPEG-1 standard, it was retained and further extended — defining additional bit-rates and support for more audio channels — as the third audio format of the subsequent MPEG-2 standard. A third version, known as MPEG 2.5 — extended to better support lower bit rates — is commonly implemented, but is not a recognized standard.

Moving Picture Experts Group alliance of working groups to set standards for multimedia coding

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is an alliance of working groups of ISO and IEC that sets standards for media coding, including compression coding of audio, video, graphics and genomic data, and transmission and file formats for various applications. Together with the JPEG group, MPEG is organized under ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29 – Coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information.

MPEG-2 Video encoding standard

MPEG-2 is a standard for "the generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information". It describes a combination of lossy video compression and lossy audio data compression methods, which permit storage and transmission of movies using currently available storage media and transmission bandwidth. While MPEG-2 is not as efficient as newer standards such as H.264/AVC and H.265/HEVC, backwards compatibility with existing hardware and software means it is still widely used, for example in over-the-air digital television broadcasting and in the DVD-Video standard.

MPEG-4 is a method of defining compression of audio and visual (AV) digital data. It was introduced in late 1998 and designated a standard for a group of audio and video coding formats and related technology agreed upon by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) under the formal standard ISO/IEC 14496 – Coding of audio-visual objects. Uses of MPEG-4 include compression of AV data for web and CD distribution, voice and broadcast television applications. The MPEG-4 standard was developed by a group led by Touradj Ebrahimi and Fernando Pereira.

MPEG-1 Audio Layer II or MPEG-2 Audio Layer II is a lossy audio compression format defined by ISO/IEC 11172-3 alongside MPEG-1 Audio Layer I and MPEG-1 Audio Layer III (MP3). While MP3 is much more popular for PC and Internet applications, MP2 remains a dominant standard for audio broadcasting.

Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) is an audio coding standard for lossy digital audio compression. Designed to be the successor of the MP3 format, AAC generally achieves higher sound quality than MP3 at the same bit rate.

Karlheinz Brandenburg

Karlheinz Brandenburg is a German electrical engineer and mathematician. Together with Ernst Eberlein, Heinz Gerhäuser, Bernhard Grill, Jürgen Herre and Harald Popp, he developed the widespread MP3 method for audio data compression. He is also known for his elementary work in the field of audio coding, the perception measurement, the wave field synthesis and psychoacoustics. Brandenburg has received numerous national and international research awards, prizes and honors for his work. Since 2000 he is Professor of Electronic Media Technology at the Technical University Ilmenau. Brandenburg was significantly involved in the founding of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology (IDMT) and currently serves as its director.

Advanced Video Coding (AVC), also referred to as H.264 or MPEG-4 Part 10, Advanced Video Coding, is a video compression standard based on block-oriented, motion-compensated integer-DCT coding. It is by far the most commonly used format for the recording, compression, and distribution of video content, used by 91% of video industry developers as of September 2019. It supports resolutions up to and including 8K UHD.

Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standards are an American set of standards for digital television transmission over terrestrial, cable and satellite networks. It is largely a replacement for the analog NTSC standard and, like that standard, is used mostly in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and South Korea. Several former NTSC users, in particular Japan, have not used ATSC during their digital television transition, because they adopted their own system called ISDB.

MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-4 Visual is a video compression format developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It belongs to the MPEG-4 ISO/IEC standards. It is a discrete cosine transform (DCT) compression standard, similar to previous standards such as MPEG-1 Part 2 and H.262/MPEG-2 Part 2.

The MPEG-4 Low Delay Audio Coder is audio compression standard designed to combine the advantages of perceptual audio coding with the low delay necessary for two-way communication. It is closely derived from the MPEG-2 Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) standard. It was published in MPEG-4 Audio Version 2 and in its later revisions.

MPEG Surround, also known as Spatial Audio Coding (SAC) is a glossy compression format for surround sound that provides a method for extending mono or stereo audio services to multi-channel audio in a backwards compatible fashion. The total bit rates used for the core and the MPEG Surround data are typically only slightly higher than the bit rates used for coding of the core. MPEG Surround adds a side-information stream to the core bit stream, containing spatial image data. Legacy stereo playback systems will ignore this side-information while players supporting MPEG Surround decoding will output the reconstructed multi-channel audio.

ATSC-M/H is a U.S. standard for mobile digital TV that allows TV broadcasts to be received by mobile devices.

Unified Speech and Audio Coding (USAC) is an audio compression format and codec for both music and speech or any mix of speech and audio using very low bit rates between 12 and 64 kbit/s. It was developed by Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and was published as an international standard ISO/IEC 23003-3 and also as an MPEG-4 Audio Object Type in ISO/IEC 14496-3:2009/Amd 3 in 2012.

ATSC 3.0, also known by the moniker Next Gen TV, is a major version of the ATSC standards for television broadcasting created by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). ATSC 3.0 comprises around 20 standards covering different aspects of the system and in total will have over 1,000 pages of documentation.

MPEG media transport (MMT), specified as ISO/IEC 23008-1, is a digital container standard developed by Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) that supports High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) video. MMT was designed to transfer data using the all-Internet Protocol (All-IP) network.

Thomson Video Networks

Thomson Video Networks is a technology broadcast company that provides video compression, transcoding and processing solutions for media companies, video service providers, and TV broadcasters. The firm has offices in 16 countries and headquarters in Rennes, France.

Dolby AC-4 is an audio compression technology developed by Dolby Laboratories. Dolby AC-4 bitstreams can contain audio channels and/or audio objects. Dolby AC-4 has been adopted by the DVB project and standardized by the ETSI.


  1. Bleidt, R. L.; Sen, D.; Niedermeier, A.; Czelhan, B.; Füg, S.; et al. (2017). "Development of the MPEG-H TV Audio System for ATSC 3.0" (PDF). IEEE Transactions on Broadcasting. 63 (1): 202–236. doi:10.1109/TBC.2017.2661258.
  2. 1 2 "Call for Proposals on 3D Audio". MPEG. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  3. "Fraunhofer IIS Demonstrates Real-Time MPEG-H Audio Encoder System for Broadcast Applications at IBC". Business Wire. 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  4. "MPEG-H 3D Audio progresses to International Standard". MPEG. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  5. "Advanced Television Systems Committee Begins Review of ATSC 3.0 Audio System Proposals". Advanced Television Systems Committee. 2015-03-10. Archived from the original on 2015-03-13. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  6. "Fraunhofer IIS, Qualcomm and Technicolor to Demonstrate the World's First Live Broadcast of MPEG-H Interactive and Immersive TV Audio". Business Wire. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  7. MPEG-H Audio Brings New Features to TV and Streaming Sound, Electronic Design, July 10, 2015
  8. "Evaluation of Proposed ATSC 3.0 Audio Systems Begins". Advanced Television Systems Committee. Advanced Television Systems Committee. April 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  9. "Listen Up! Atlanta Hears ATSC 3.0 Audio As Proponents Demonstrate Advantages". Advanced Television Systems Committee. Advanced Television Systems Committee. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  10. "Demonstrations Show Off Potential of ATSC 3.0 Audio Standard". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  11. "First broadcast encoders with MPEG-H Audio launched | Fraunhofer Audio Blog". 2016-04-18. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  12. "More ATSC 3.0 Standards Progress! - ATSC" . Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  13. "Transmission and Reception for Terrestrial UHDTV Broadcasting Service". TTA. 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  14. "Korea Reveals Its Plans for UHDTV at NAB Show" . Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  15. "World's 1st Terrestrial UHD TV Service With MPEG-H Audio | Fraunhofer Audio Blog". 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  16. "Fraunhofer Announces MPEG-H Trademark to Identify Interoperable Products". Business Wire. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  17. Sony. "Sony Introduces All New "360 Reality Audio" Music Experience That Immerses Listeners in a Three-Dimensional Sound Field Powered by Object-Based Spatial Audio Technology". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  18. "Sony Unveils the 'Future of Music' With 360 Reality Audio at CES 2019". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  19. "I want Sony's 360 Reality Audio to be the future of music". Engadget. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  20. 1 2 "Text of ISO/IEC 23008-3/ DAM, 3D Audio Profiles". MPEG. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  21. "MPEG 115 - Geneva - MPEG-H 3D Audio AMD 3 reaches FDAM status | MPEG". Retrieved 2016-08-02.