MQA partners with Pay TV service for VOD audio demo

posted on Friday, 1st November 2019 by Steve May

MQA  Broadcast  Streaming  High Res Audio 

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High-Res audio format MQA manoeuvred into NGA (Next Generation Audio) TV waters, with an implication-laden demo of the high quality sound format partnered with HD video playback.

Japanese pay TV broadcaster Wowwow has signalled a possible intention to use MQA, following a demo of the system at its Tokyo offices. There will be another demonstration of MQA as TV audio at the Inter BEE trade show, in Tokyo on Nov 15.

Wowow operates three full-HD channels and a streaming service, and claims a total of 2.9 million subscribers. It’s the official broadcaster of the Academy, Grammy and Tony awards in Japan, and offers sports and movie content, as well as stage and concert broadcasts.

“With our partners at Wowow we’ve been exploring the feasibility of delivering video with MQA audio and our experiments have succeeded,” explained MQA founder Bob Stuart. “We’re bringing the unique aspects of MQA, clarity, smaller file sizes and backward compatibility, to deliver the best quality audio alongside HD video. This development holds exciting possibilities for the international broadcasting sector.”

11_MQA WOWOW Demo _Bob Stuart Video

2_MQA WOWOW Demo _Holy Mass

Hideo Irimajiri, senior expert, engineering division and project lead at WOWOW, added, “We’ve been conducting these trials with a view to integrating MQA into our services in the future, including on-demand and live broadcasting. It makes no sense that audio quality still lags behind, while video is achieving higher definition with 4k and 8k resolution displays. Due to transmission bandwidth limitations, the audio element has until now been problematic, however MQA’s technology, which achieves high-resolution transmission with normal 48k sampling audio, solves this problem. Most importantly, we have proven that great sound is essential to fully convey emotion.”

The move could transition MQA from being a streaming audio proposition to a solution with far wider implementations. The current leading NGA formats are Dolby Digital Plus and MPEG H.

For the demonstration, broadcaster Wowow recorded a live concert using a technology for binaural rendering of 3D audio called HPL (developed by Acoustic Field) in the mixing process; and combined this with MPEG-4 ALS lossless coding technology (provided by NTT Smartconnect), to support bit-perfect PCM data which is required to transmit MQA.

At Inter BEE 2018, MQA’s real-time encoding capability was demonstrated to Japanese audiences for the first time. A live audio performance from acclaimed jazz musicians, Eriko Shimizu and Mabumi Yamaguchi, was streamed in real time in MQA quality from Onkio Haus Studio to different locations throughout the show. Japan has also seen the introduction of MQA-CD. Earlier this year, the widespread application of MQA earned it a special award from the HiVi Grand Prix judging committee, which recognises excellence in the world of audio-visual products.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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