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OBA offers extra personalisation

IBC’s annual ‘Loudness Breakfast’, chaired by the always-excellent Florian Camerer (ORF), heard a fascinating preview of how 21st Century Fox sees the future for Object Based Audio.Steven Silva (VP/technology & strategy) said that personalisation – and to every device – was a key part of “keeping viewers happy”.

Silva anticipated ATSC’s 2016 decision on which codec to implement would almost certainly see multi-channel audio included in the spec, and permit OBA to play a major role.Camerer reminded delegates that the ITU’s 1770-3 standard also covered higher channel counts.

Silva explained that while most broadcasters were looking ahead to HDR and perhaps even 8K down the line, the audio engineers could then deliver a number of fascinating options to the user. As well as simply improving fidelity overall, he cited sporting events where one channel could be devoted to the ‘home’ team’s commentator while the ‘visitors’ could have their own. There could also then be a dedicated audio track for the hearing impaired.

“Sport will be an early adopter,” he added. “While it may present a few challenges to the stadiums and the OB crew, I can see this gaining immediate consumer acceptance. We have to crawl first, then walk and eventually run as we gain a better understanding. But OBA and the extra dimensions of multiple tracks will give amazing flexibility.”