Next Gen TV Audio Test a Success for Verance, Dolby

SAN DIEGO—Following the announcement of a successful test of an ATSC 3.0 standard component on Wednesday, another element of Next Gen TV has received a passing grade during a separate experiment. Verance Corporation and Dolby revealed they conducted a test in February with San Diego station KPBS on internet-delivered dialogue enhancement, a Next Gen TV personalized audio experience.

Using the Verance Aspect watermark and Dolby AC-4, the test demonstrated that the dialogue enhancement feature of the AC-4 can be delivered as a standalone audio stream over the internet and paired with video delivered through a live linear broadcast. The companies reported that the pairing was made with precise broadband audio and broadcast video synchronization, and delivered over all MVPD paths, including cable and satellite.

After delivering dialogue enhancement over a live linear 1.0 broadcast environment, Verance and Dolby are said to be planning to replicate the test with an ATSC 3.0 broadcaster.

Aspect is designed to ensure Next Gen capabilities like personalization, interactivity and census-like audience measurement can reach 100% of ATSC 1/0/3.0-connected TVs, regardless of whether they receive content over-the-air, via MVPD or OTT. The Dolby AC-4 encoder, meanwhile, is meant to be able to power multiple personalized audio experiences.

“Together with Verance and KPBS, we have proven the value and impact Dolby AC-4 can play in hybrid broadcasts and demonstrated the growing importance of next-generation features like better audibility, also known as dialogue enhancement,” said Mathias Bendull, vice president, multi-screen services audio, Dolby Laboratories. “Not just a feature for the hearing impaired, dialogue enhancement also enables all viewers to have a better experience when dialogue is harder to hear, like a noisy room.”

KPBS Operations & Technology Division Associate General Manager Bruce Rogow says that viewers have sent complaints about background music and other sounds drowning out voices in shows, and believes the technology tested by Verance and Dolby could be a “game changer.”

Joe Winograd, CTO of Verance, said: “Broadcasters investing in the development of Next Gen TV applications can now proceed with confidence, knowing that these applications are capable of reaching 100% of U.S. households, including 80% of viewers currently using MVPD services.”

For a comprehensive source of TV Technology’s ATSC 3.0 coverage, see ourATSC3 silo.