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Via Licensing Adds xHE-AAC To AAC Patent Pool License Program

Via Licensing Corporation announced the addition of Extended High Efficiency AAC (xHE-AAC) to the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) patent pool. The expanded patent pool license will be available at no additional cost to licensees, starting in Q4 of 2017. Through this announcement, Via and the AAC licensors are taking steps to encourage and accelerate the adoption of xHE-AAC, the most recent and advanced member of the AAC family of audio codecs.

“The addition of xHE-AAC technology increases the value of our AAC patent pool license,” said Joe Siino, President of Via Licensing. “Adding xHE-AAC to our patent pool ensures that broadcasters and service providers can deliver the next generation of audio to consumers efficiently and affordably.”

Previously, xHE-AAC technology could only be used in devices if manufacturers paid for an additional license in addition to an existing AAC license. By bringing xHE-AAC into its AAC patent pool, Via grants licensees access to xHE-AAC rights at no additional cost, and reduces average per-unit cost through greater volume aggregation across all AAC related products. In addition, DRM receiver manufacturers deploying the xHE-AAC technology will be able to benefit from special rates for emerging markets formerly only available to AAC licensors, including China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, most African countries incl. South Africa, most Arab countries, most South American countries incl. Brazil, etc.

“We are very glad to see that xHE-AAC became part of the AAC program at no additional cost,” said Stefan Geyersberger, Head of Patents & Licensing at Fraunhofer IIS. “There’s great momentum by service providers worldwide that want to use the codec for audio and video streaming services but those typically rely on a quick and broad adoption in consumer devices”.

xHE-AAC combines two MPEG technologies, High Efficiency AAC v2, and Unified Speech and Audio Coding (USAC). It is designed to support the delivery of mixed speech and general audio content including music on mobile devices, radio broadcasts, and wired streaming services. xHE-AAC provides exceptional audio quality using low bit rates delivering a listening experience suitable for mobile devices, and can seamlessly scale-up to offer audiophile-quality reproduction. The reduced bit rate helps mobile broadcasters and streaming audio providers distribute their content more efficiently. Consumers are able to enjoy high quality audio reproduction at lower bit rates which lowers their data consumption and costs.

Applications for MPEG xHE-AAC include digital radio broadcasting, streaming over mobile and wired networks, and terrestrial radio. It has already been adopted for the Digital Radio Mondiale (“DRM”) broadcast standard and is currently in use on DRM transmissions around the world. For Ruxandra Obreja, the DRM Consortium Chairman, “this is a breakthrough initiative for the DRM receiver availability as it gives an extra boost to digital receiver manufacturing. The global receiver industry can now be confident that there are no extra costs but rather great cost savings in many relevant countries for manufacturing DRM or even multi-standard DRM/DAB+ receivers.”

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