In 2004, the ISO/MPEG Audio standardization group started a new work item on efficient and backward compatible coding of high-quality multi-channel sound using parametric coding techniques. Finalized in the fall of 2006, the resulting MPEG Surround specification allows the transmission of surround sound at bitrates that have been commonly used for coding of mono or stereo sound. This paper summarizes the results of the standardization process by describing the underlying ideas and providing an overview of the MPEG Surround technology. The performance of the scheme is characterized by the results of the recent verification tests. These tests include several operation modes as they would be used in typical application scenarios to introduce multi-channel audio into existing audio services.
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