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Orban Releases the first aacPlus v2 Streaming Audio Encoder
Posted: 22-Dec-2004 [Source: Orban]

[Orban brings its broadcasting expertise to the Internet and 3G broadcasting world. The company's Opticodec-PC is 3GPP AAC/HE compliant and raises the bar on audio quality in a bitrate constrained environment.]

Tempe, Ariz -- Orban(r) (CRLI.OB), a worldwide leader in audio processing for broadcasting and the Internet, today announced important improvements to its Opticodec-PC AAC/HE -AAC/aacPlus(tm) streaming audio encoder, which is available now. Introduced earlier this year, Opticodec-PC is the first AAC/HE -AAC/aacPlus(tm) encoding software and provides the industry's most favorable tradeoff between streaming bitrate and audio quality. In addition to its existing support for Apple's free Darwin Streaming Server, Opticodec-PC now adds full support for the HTTP/ICY SHOUTcast and HTTP/ICY Icecast2 streaming servers and includes aacPlus(tm) v2 audio. With the addition of Parametric Stereo, aacPlus v2 raises the bar as the state-of-the-art low bit rate open-standards audio codec. Streams already broadcasting in aacPlus v2 format can be found at www.tuner2.com.

aacPlus v2 is AAC coupled with Coding Technologies' SBR (Spectral Band Replication) and Parametric Stereo technologies. SBR is a unique bandwidth extension technique that enables a given audio codec to deliver the same quality at half the bit rate. Parametric Stereo enhances the codec efficiency a second time for low-bit-rate stereo signals. Both SBR and Parametric Stereo are backward and forward compatible methods to enhance the efficiency of any audio codec. Accordingly, aacPlus delivers DVD-quality streaming and downloadable 5.1 multi-channel audio at 160 Kbps, near CD-quality stereo at 48 Kbps, excellent quality stereo at 32 Kbps, entertainment-quality stereo at 24 Kbps, and great quality for mixed content down to 16 Kbps mono and below. This level of efficiency fundamentally enables new applications in the markets of mobile and digital broadcast.

The addition of the HTTP/ICY protocol to Opticodec-PC extends its support to the well-regarded, free Nullsoft Winamp player client (version 5.05 and higher), and implements artist and title metadata. This complements Opticodec-PC's existing support for the RealPlayer 10 player client via RTSP/RTP and provides an alternative means to stream to the QuickTime 6 player client, which supports both RTSP/RTP and HTTP/RTP. The HTTP/ICY protocol is often more "firewall-friendly" than the RTSP/RTP protocol that Opticodec-PC previously supported exclusively, and HTTP/ICY's support for Winamp extends a netcaster's potential audience to those who prefer using Winamp because of its grassroots support and its non-OS-obtrusive installation.

The output of Opticodec-PC can also be streamed via the Darwin Streaming Server to 3GPP/3GPP2 wireless devices containing the Coding Technologies player client. This opens up yet another potential audience to the forward-looking netcaster.

Greg Ogonowski, Orban's Vice President of New Product Development, stated, "The addition of aacPlus v2 and HTTP/ICY support to Opticodec-PC makes it even more attractive to any netcaster seeking the widest potential audience. Opticodec-PC allows netcasters to replace expensive, high-quality 128 kilobits per second MP3 streams with equivalent quality Opticodec-PC streams at one-third the bitrate. The resulting huge cost savings are what netcasters need to become profitable."

Opticodec-PC is available in two versions, LE and PE. LE works with any Windows sound device and encodes a single stream at bit rates between 8 and 32 kbps, while PE requires a companion Orban Optimod-PC audio processor and can encode multiple simultaneous streams at bit rates from 8 to 320 kbps. For the last 30 years, Orban's patented Optimod technology has helped radio and television broadcasters everywhere shape their sound to grab and hold their listening audiences. Optimod-PC 1100, a professional PCI sound card designed for streaming media, provides "genuine radio"(tm) audio processing for Internet broadcasters. With three on-board DSP's providing mixing, equalization, AGC, multi-band compression, and look-ahead limiting, Optimod-PC 1100, especially when combined with aacPlus encoding technology, delivers a polished and produced stream that rivals the loudness, consistency, and punch of satellite and major-market FM radio. Opticodec-PC and Optimod-PC are compatible with the Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003 Server operating systems. Opticodec-PC LE retails for $99. The Opticodec-PC PE has a suggested retail price $1995 (including the Optimod-PC audio processor/sound card) or $495 purchased separately (if customer already has an Optimod-PC).

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