Millions of hours of music, movies, or TV series are streamed over the internet daily. For the best user experience on any device and in any listening environments, delivering an uninterrupted stream with best possible audio quality is key. xHE-AAC is an audio codec that meets exactly those demands.
xHE-AAC offers maximum coding efficiency with a usable bit rate range that spans from 12 kbit/s to 500 kbit/s and above for stereo services. This helps video and audio streaming providers to overcome audio bandwidth constraints and thereby facilitates an enhanced, more reliable consumer experience¬¬. Created with adaptive streaming via DASH or HLS in mind, xHE-AAC delivers transparent quality under good network conditions and, when necessary, seamlessly switches to the bit rates and quality levels that a congested network can support.
xHE-AAC also comes with mandatory MPEG-D loudness and dynamic range control metadata, which can be used on the playback side to achieve a consistent loudness level and optimal dynamic range for any playback device and environment. In a living room environment, a film can be enjoyed with the full dynamic range and on a mobile device in a noisy environment the loudness management ensures intelligible dialog.
Fraunhofer is offering a web-based test service that developers and manufacturers can use to validate their implementations of the xHE-AAC audio codec for compliance with MPEG standards. The service, which is available exclusively at https://test.xhe-aac.com, is free to use upon registration with Fraunhofer IIS and will test both encoders and decoders.
xHE-AAC is included in mobile devices running Android, Fire OS, or Apple operating systems and has also been licensed to Microsoft. Hence it is only logical that the codec is being gradually adopted by social media and streaming services. With Facebook and Netflix, two major players in their respective fields got on board in 2021.