AES Updates Audio Guidelines for OTT Television, Video Streaming

The focus is on managing loudness and loudness range of program and interstitial content

The Audio Engineering Society’s Audio Guidelines for Over-the-Top Television and Video Streaming (AGOTTVS) technical group has released an update to its preliminary recommendations published in October 2016. To maintain and improve the sonic integrity and listening experience across multiple devices, the guidelines are focused on managing the loudness and loudness range of program and interstitial content distributed via OTT and by online video distributors (OVDs).

The AGOTTVS technical group was formed in early 2016 to study the many issues related to audio-loudness variations in distributed video content. The 50-member panel, a study group of the AES Technical Council Technical Committees TC-BOD (Broadcast and Online Delivery), announced publication of its preliminary loudness guidelines at the 2016 Los Angeles AES Convention (published as a Technical Document by the AES Technical Council). The recommendations addressed the fundamental issues of audio loudness in online television and video-content delivery from creation through distribution to the consumer experience.

With the release of the “Preliminary Loudness Guidelines” in 2016, the AGOTTVS group raised awareness of forthcoming, comprehensive, and ongoing work and invited all interested parties to join the effort. The group subsequently increased in membership and continued its work, drafting the enhanced OTT and OVD “Loudness Guidelines” documented in the current release.

Given the transitional nature of media consumption, the group intends to continue to update its recommendations. Future work will likely involve objective and subjective tests of DRC and loudness profiles to ascertain how metadata might be leveraged to more appropriately tailor content to devices and different listening scenarios.

“We couldn’t be happier with this year’s accomplishment,” says Jim Starzynski, chair, AES AGOTTVS. “Our group worked tirelessly, creating succinct recommendations that build on previously established broadcast regional standards that are already familiar to much of the audio industry.”

The AGOTTVS group comprises volunteer members with expertise and/or interest in creation, distribution, and emission of professional audio. Membership is open to all stakeholders with a material interest in its work, regardless of AES membership status. Group participants include representatives of Amazon, Apple, BBC, CBS, Dolby, DTS, DTV Audio Group, Fox, Fraunhofer, Google, NBC Universal, Netflix, NHK, PBS, Starz, and Qualcomm.

“The AES is the perfect organization to host our work, bringing together members from all over the world to share their unique experiences, expertise, and passion for quality sound,” says Starzynski. “The AES Loudness Guidelines for OTT and OVD content is a set of forward-thinking, workable recommendations that, when followed, will optimize the online listening experience at present and for the future.”

The 2017 AGOTTVS guideline document, also published as a Technical Document by the AES Technical Council, can be downloaded from the AES website.

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