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ITU Agrees on New Broadcast Audio Standard

Members of the International Telecommunication Union, which includes the U.S., have agreed to new global advanced broadcast audio standards.

The standards will make it easier to produce and distribute advanced audio files by including both audio samples and metadata for "any combination of object, channel and scene-based audio." The new standard is also based on an existing file format (RIFF/WAV) to make it easier to implement.

ITU says that combined with Ultra HD, the "immersive" standards with take TV "to a new level, further blurring the line between physical reality and virtual or digital simulation."

"The adoption of a single file format for signal interchange [will] greatly simplify the interoperability of individual equipment and remote studios," said ITU, while it will also make it easier to integrate editing, on-air play and archiving.

“The ITU global standard for immersive audio sets an important step for an exciting new age of ‘sound’ for broadcasting,” said ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao in a statement. “The advanced audio systems will provide additional features and performance well beyond those available today.”

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.