Harmonic Makes Audio History with First Live, On-Air ATSC Trial of Dolby® AC-4
KQED-TV Demonstrates Superior Entertainment Experience With Harmonic Electra™ X2 Advanced Media Processor and Dolby® AC-4 Audio Format
“Recently, members of the ATSC audio subcommittee convened with Dolby in San Francisco to evaluate Dolby AC-4 for use within the new ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard. During the meeting, Harmonic and Dolby helped KQED become the first television station in the U.S. to broadcast live audio encoded with Dolby AC-4, a major, and historic, milestone for the next-generation format,” said Bart Spriester, senior vice president, video products, Harmonic. “This trial is another example of how Harmonic leads the industry in supporting new technologies. Having the Electra X2 media processor provide native Dolby AC-4 encoding for this trial, Harmonic allows broadcasters to deliver the future of audio entertainment.”
Harmonic’s Electra X2 advanced media processor today provides real-time AVC encoding of SD and HD video, as well as audio encoding of E-AC-3 (commonly known as Dolby Digital Plus) content, the predecessor to Dolby AC-4. This enables broadcasters to deliver market-leading video and audio quality at a low total cost of ownership. For the trial at KQED, Electra X2 added native Dolby AC-4 encoding, enabling the station to deliver 5.1 surround sound and HD video at a low bit rate of 2 Mbps.
“Harmonic and Dolby are industry leaders and trusted partners in broadcast delivery solutions, and we are committed to collaborating with them as a part of our public service mission to enhance our audience’s experience” said Lee Young, director of engineering and facilities for KQED TV. “I was impressed by the quality of the Dolby AC-4 broadcast at such a low bandwidth and see technology like this as an essential element to the future of KQED TV. We are pleased to play a central role in this historic event.”
Dolby AC-4 solves a range of broadcast challenges, offering significant benefits to stations and television viewers. Bandwidth efficiency is one of the key advantages: the format offers up to 50 percent improvement in compression efficiency for the same audio quality level compared with E-AC-3 and comparable codecs. This means broadcasters can deliver industry-leading audio quality at low bit rates, reducing operating expenses. Dolby AC-4 also provides enhancements for dialog management, making it easy for broadcasters to substitute dialog tracks for multilingual audiences, and gives viewers greater control over dialog levels, making the spoken part of the program more intelligible.
“Dolby already provides seamless broadcast audio solutions the world’s biggest events – the Oscars, the Grammys, and more. We revolutionized next-gen audio in the cinema, at home, and on mobile with Dolby Atmos, and now, with Dolby AC-4, we can solve for the broadcast challenges of today and tomorrow,” said Giles Baker, senior vice president, broadcast business group, Dolby Laboratories. “We are thrilled with this successful Dolby AC-4 trial with KQED and could not have done it without the encoding expertise of our friends at Harmonic. Harmonic was one of the first partners to implement Dolby Digital Plus, and we are glad to work with them again on this next audio innovation.”
Further information about Harmonic and the company’s products is available at www.harmonicinc.com.
Harmonic (NASDAQ: HLIT) is the worldwide leader in video delivery infrastructure for emerging television and video services. Harmonic enables customers to produce, deliver and monetize amazing video experiences, with unequalled business agility and operational efficiency, by providing market-leading innovation, high-quality service and compelling total cost of ownership. More information is available at www.harmonicinc.com.
The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are also subject to other risks and uncertainties, such as those more fully described in Harmonic’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec.31, 2014, its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and its Current Reports on Form 8-K. The forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to Harmonic as of the date hereof, and Harmonic disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.