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BBC R&D: Personalised audio in your future

13 September 2014

New ways of describing and delivering content as media objects can provide exciting new opportunities for novel
user-experiences and personalisation.

BBC R&D is demonstrating its latest ideas on audio production techniques and workflows at the Future Zone as well as the innovations in user-experiences that object-based audio can provide to audiences.

“The new Audio Definition Model can be used to store object-based immersive audio in programmes,” said Andy Bower, head of external relations, BBC R&D. “Demonstrations include playback and manipulation of some example programme files.”
Use of the Web Audio API to present interactive audio-visual navigation and immersive audio programmes is also a highlight.

“We are demonstrating a variable length radio documentary — as far as we know the world’s first — which shows how in the future, in a non-linear, object media world, content could be personalised to fit the time available that individuals have to consume a particular programme or with individual preferences.”

In the demonstration, paths are dynamically created through the narrative graph in response to the desired programme set by the listener. The final broadcast is reproduced by delivering individual audio assets to the client’s device, reassembling them, and reproducing them in real time using a multichannel WebAudio scheduler.

The research body will also debut multiformat audio playback based on ADM BWF files and a Radio 5 Live Football experience as an example for improved accessibility using object-based audio.

These demonstrations are aimed at providing the industry with a snapshot of BBC R&D’s vision for how broadcast media could evolve as we migrate to a world based on IP systems.

“These are experimental systems – they do not indicate a commitment on the part of the BBC to launch specific services or functionality,” stresses Bower.

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