A new adaptive audio streaming technology using the MPEG-4 SLS audio standard sets to revoluntionalise the digital music industry with its capability to scale and adapt bit-rate on the fly to network conditions in real time during a streaming session. Users no longer have to trade off audio quality with streaming speed.
Singapore, 6 January 2010 – Exploit Technologies, the commercialisation arm of Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) today announced MPEG-4 SLS (Scalable-to-Lossless Coding), the world’s first adaptive audio streaming technology using the MPEG-4 SLS audio standard. This technology will be presented by Exploit Technologies during the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at booth North 4638 and North 6817.
SLS is a music coding format developed with major contribution from A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (FhG). This patented music coding format is an MPEG-4 audio standard that is capable of compressing music files (such as CD tracks) for playback without any loss in fidelity. It also allows for fine-grain pre-encoding of music files at different bit-rates so that they can be subsequently streamed or played back at different quality, depending on the device type or available channel bandwidth. This allows for uninterrupted music streaming all day round, regardless of bandwidth or internet traffic volume. MPEG-4 SLS’s scalability also means that a single encoded file can be played back on different environment with bit-rate cap determined by the service provider.
“Exploit Technologies leverages different commercialisation platforms to bring to the market A*STAR’s technologies. When MPEG-SLS was launched a few years ago, there was little interest in the use of this technology. By focusing development on adapting MPEG-4 SLS for streaming audio, a solution is now available to support streaming music services and at the same time pave the way for the future with HD audio. We believe that this innovative adaptive technology could completely change the digital music industry, just as the introduction of MP3 did many years ago,” said Philip Lim, Chief Executive Officer of Exploit Technologies.
MPEG-4 SLS: Unleashing the power of the digital recorded music industry
Adaptive MPEG-4 SLS offers seamless audio streaming that opens a new realm of music entertainment possibilities. Thanks to the technology, high-music entertainment is no longer limited to desk-bound hi-fi systems. MPEG-4 SLS is an attractive format for streaming applications due to its scalability feature. This feature enables a streaming system to respond to network conditions in real time during a streaming session.
The A*STAR I²R team was awarded the National Technology Award 2007 for its research and development work on SLS. Said Prof Lye Kin Mun, Deputy Executive Director (Research) of I2R, “Our research team developed this technology to answer the needs of new generation consumers who want hi-fidelity music entertainment at the appropriate quality and on demand, anywhere anytime. This is also in line with upcoming trends of moving away from traditional to new media in the infotainment world”
The digital distribution of music stands fully ready to become the dominant way in which music will be produced and consumed. Now that the consumers have access to millions of soundtracks, the challenge would be to find the music that one really wants to hear, quicker and more accurately. Adaptive MPEG-4 SLS may provide the missing piece to the puzzle for service providers of digital music content.
MPEG-4 SLS is currently being test-bedded online at www.songsofcampus.com. Exploit Technologies welcomes industry partners to join our efforts to commercialise MPEG-4 SLS.
Annex A: Notes to the editoron A*STAR’s adaptive audio streaming technology using the MPEG-4 SLS audio standard
For industry players interested in commercialisation opportunities, please contact:
Kent Tan (Mr)
Manager, Science and Engineering Commercialisation
Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (A member of A*STAR)
DID : (65) 6478 8453
Mobile: (65) 9366 4584
Email : email@example.com
For media enquiries, please contact:
Seeto Wei Peng (Ms)
Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Communications
Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (A member of A*STAR)
DID : (65) 6478 8443
Mobile: (65) 8375 9474
Andrew Yap (Mr)
Acting Manager, Corporate Communications
Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R)
DID: (65) 6419 1143
Fax: (65) 6466 7716
About Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd
Exploit Technologies is the strategic marketing and commercialisation arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Its mission is to support A*STAR in transforming the economy through commercialising R&D. Exploit Technologies enhances the research output of A*STAR scientists by translating their inventions into marketable products or processes.
Through licensing deals with industry partners and spin‐offs, Exploit Technologies is a key driver of technology transfer in Singapore. It actively engages industry leaders and players to commercialise A*STAR's technologies and capabilities, bridging the gap from Mind to Market. Exploit Technologies’ charter is to identify, protect and exploit promising intellectual property (IP) created by A*STAR’s research institutes.
About Institute for Infocomm Research (I²R)
The Institute for Infocomm Research (I²R ‐ pronounced as i‐squared‐r) is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) family. Established in 2002, our mission is to be the globally preferred source of innovations in `Interactive Secured Information, Content and Services Anytime Anywhere’ through research by passionate people dedicated to Singapore’s economic success. I²R performs R&D in information, communications and media (ICM) technologies to develop holistic solutions across the ICM value chain. Our research capabilities are in information technology, wireless and optical communication networks, interactive and digital media; signal processing and computing. We seek to be the infocomm and media value creator that keeps Singapore ahead. Website: www.I2R.a‐star.edu.sg.
ANNEX A: Notes to the editor on A*STAR’s adaptive audio streaming technology using the MPEG-4 SLS audio standard
SLS is an audio compression technology which extends MPEG-4 AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) from perceptually transparent playback to true lossless audio quality, in a scalable fashion. This means that losslessly-compressed audio files can be played through an SLS decoder with results that are bit-for-bit identical to the original source material. The same SLS files can also be played back through a standard AAC decoder, such as an iPod, and will deliver the same listening experience as if the source material were encoded in AAC.
SLS is particularly suited for use in broadcast and music production environments where its lossless performance allows multiple phases of the recording and editing process to be managed without signal loss. SLS can also ensure that the final production delivers a faithful and complete rendering of the uncompressed source material. The scalability of SLS gives users the ability to maximise sound quality during distribution, by matching the bit-rate to the available bandwidth.
SLS is implemented as an enhancement layer to the AAC codec. Upward scalability (towards full lossless performance and quality) is achieved by dedicating varying amounts of data to the SLS enhancement.
The average compression ratio of SLS equals or is superior to many existing lossless audio compression schemes that do not offer the key feature of backward-compatibility. In addition, SLS features multi-channel capabilities.
In the event that consumers would elect to use a future audio coding technology, re-encoding of material stored in a lossless format such as SLS may help guarantee optimum results.
Benefits to music enthusiasts and audiophiles include:
· Seamless streaming: eliminates abrupt stoppages and re-buffering due to sudden network congestion and other real-time changes in channel bandwidth.
· Scalability: supports a wide range of bit-rates, from full-rate lossless compression of 50 per cent of PCM* (700Kbps) for great sound quality to lossy compression rates of just 32Kbps to keep the music streaming going.
· Adaptability: responds to network conditions in real time during a streaming session. Users and Operators do not need to trade off quality (128 kbps) versus smooth delivery (32 kbps) in such large steps. Instead, the adaptive technology would always provide the best bit-rate possible at any moment provided by the network channel
· Empowered users: allows users to control the maximum quality bitrate streamed over the channel at real time and scale down adaptively to the channel’s bandwidth.
Benefits include to content service providers:
· One-file solution: allows service providers to keep only one version of their media content instead of having to encode multiple bitrate files of the same file. This helps to lower the cost of media database archival; lower the cost of media files maintenance; and optimises storage space by doing away with the need of multiple media files storage.
· Different bitrate QoS package option: allows service providers to provide different packages according to the subscribers’ needs. This is particularly relevant to networks with varying QoS parameter (such as streaming in a mobile network or streaming over public internet).
· Empowered service providers: provides the ability to set a cap on the upper bound of the streamed content. This helps to control the maximum quality bitrate streamed over the channel at real time and scale down adaptively to the channel’s bandwidth.