October 18th, 2010
The BBC has today announced plans to launch an extra high quality audio stream for live online listening, called HD Sound. From December, BBC Radio 3 will be available in HD Sound through its website and special events on other networks will also be offered in extra high quality – starting with the Electric Proms on BBC Radio 2 later this month.
HD Sound uses improved encoding and higher bit rates to offer the BBC’s highest audio quality broadcast to date. It also offers a wider dynamic range, accentuating the difference in volume between quiet and loud sounds. Appreciation of the improved sound quality will depend on the equipment used – those using small speakers built into a laptop may not notice a big difference, but listeners with a computer connected to a good-quality sound system or high-quality headphones should be able to appreciate the extra clarity and detail in the sound.
In these early stages, the stream will only be available for live programmes (not on demand). It will initially be available through pages on radio networks’ websites and special event sites, although the ambition is to integrate HD Sound into iPlayer and Radioplayer as the technology develops.
Tim Davie, Director BBC Audio & Music, said: “HD Sound is an exciting development and a signal of our commitment to innovate in digital radio for the benefit of our listeners.”
Roger Wright, Controller Radio 3 and Director BBC Proms, said: “Online listeners to Radio 3 were able to enjoy the final week of this year’s BBC Proms in extra high quality audio and I’m thrilled that we can now offer this streaming permanently across our full schedule.”
HD Sound will be available to UK users following a successful trial of the technology during the BBC Proms. Findings from this first experiment have also allowed Radio 3 to increase the audio quality of the standard stream on iPlayer by optimising the level of the signals feeding the coders.
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