Audio Resumes First Class Citizen Status in Digital Media
Mar 02, 2014
In the early days of online video communication and online video delivery, audio was a critical component of the overall quality of experience. When audio is smooth and clear, it can compensate for jitters or glitches in video. On the other hand, loss of synchronization between audio and video can demolish the quality of experience even if the video is otherwise flawless. As audio technology matured and the focus shifted to video resolution improvement, audio has taken a back seat in terms of R&D, innovation and differentiation. This is changing.
At CES this year, we saw many television sets demonstrating UltraHD experiences. While the video quality was compelling, simple single-channel or even stereo sound clearly fell short of complementing the visual experience. There is growing emphasis in consumer electronics stores on surround sound systems to serve this need, as well as a growing trend of recording and rendering 360 degree surround sound audio - particularly for movies and console games. We are also starting to see some video encoder vendors such as ATEME in contrbution and pay TV applications beginning to differentiate not only on video features but also on audio capabilities.
User interfaces are undergoing a sea change, driven by growing screen sizes on the one hand and rise in interactive experience expectations on the other. The 4-arrow remote is increasingly irrelevant in an era where rich personalized interactivity and touch-screen UI experiences are becoming the norm. As voice recognition technologies improve, audio is poised to play an important role in primary screen and secondary screen experiences. For example Gracenote provides an app that recognizes a TV program's soundtrack to automatically recogninze the show the viewer is watching and customize the second screen experience accordingly.
As audio begins to regain its first class citizenship status within the digital media ecosystem, Frost & Sullivan is intensifying its research into and coverage of this technology. Stay tuned for more!
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