xHE-AAC: latest audio codec for music and video streaming

xHE-AAC is the latest member of the MPEG AAC audio codec family. It is natively supported on the latest Apple, Android and Amazon products, and Fraunhofer’s xHE-AAC implementation has been licensed to Microsoft. The codec enables consumers to enjoy uninterrupted streaming of all types of content – such as movies, music, audiobooks or podcasts – with stereo services at bit rates ranging from 12 kbit/s to 500 kbit/s and the ability to switch between them seamlessly. The mandatory MPEG-D DRC metadata provides loudness and dynamic range control so that xHE-AAC can play content at a consistent volume and deliver the best possible user experience in any listening environment, on any device.

Product Specs

  • NATIVELY SUPPORTED ON THE LATEST APPLE, AMAZON, AND ANDROID PRODUCTS

Codec implementations of xHE-AAC for use in DRM and streaming applications are available for the following platforms:

  • PC (Windows/Mac OS X/Linux)
  • ARM (decoder only)
  • MIPS (decoder only)
  • Texas Instruments C6x, DaVinci, OMAP (decoder only)
  • ADI Sharc+ (decoder only)
  • Cadence Xtensa (decoder only)
  • Apple iOS® SDK (decoder only)
  • Apple iOS 13 (decoder only)
  • Fire OS 7 (decoder only)
  • Android™ (decoder included in Android 9 and later)

DRM broadcast encoder solutions based on Fraunhofer’s ContentServer technology, as well as third-party implementations, already support xHE-AAC. All DRM receiver chipsets belonging to the initial mass-market generation include xHE-AAC from market launch.

  • SUITABLE FOR STREAMING OF MOVIES, MUSIC, AUDIOBOOKS AND PODCASTS

xHE-AAC meets the requirements of digital radio and mobile audio and video streaming applications, where various audio content types need to be transmitted at very low bit rates. The codec opens up the possibilityof reaching billions of 2G users with streaming services for the first time, especially in emerging markets such as India. Streaming service providers benefit from drastically reduced CDN cost and simplified encoding asset management.

  • STEREO BIT RATE RANGE FROM 12 TO 500 KBITS/S

xHE-AAC provides consistently high-quality audio for all signal types, such as speech, music or mixed content, at all bit rates – starting as low as 6 kbit/s for mono and 12 kbit/s for stereo services, up to 500 kbit/s and above. 

  • SEAMLESS BITRATE ADAPTATION USING DASH AND HLS

The bit rate flexibility of xHE-AAC enables MPEG-DASH or HLS streaming apps and streaming radio players to switch to very low bit rate streams and offer continuous playback even under challenging network conditions. When network connectivity recovers, the xHE-AAC player will adapt to a higher bit rate and seamlessly switch over the full range of bit rates, up to transparent quality. Additionally, the outstanding coding efficiency of xHE-AAC means the bit rate saving can be invested in improving the video quality of mobile video streaming.

  • MPEG-D DRC PROVIDES MANDATORY LOUDNESS & DYNAMIC RANGE CONTROL
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