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Status and Future Activities in Standardization of Low Bit-Rate Audio Codecs

Recently developed perceptual coding techniques will play an important role in the future of broadcasting, computer multimedia, and telecommunications. The standardization body ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG11 (Moving Pictures Expert Group or MPEG) was drafting a standard for compressing the high bit rate of moving pictures and associated audio down to 1.5 Mbit/s. This paper deals with the audio part of the standard, which consists of three layers with increasing complexity and performance, developed by a European and American team of researchers.: Providing a significant reduction in the bit rate of a high-quality audio, this generic coding system is applicable to a wide range of consumer and professional electronics services, such as storage on inexpensive storage media or transmission over channels with limited capacity (e.g. Digital Audio Broadcasting or ISDN audio transmission). Due to the excellent performance of this standard, C.C.I.R. (Comitté Consultatif International des Radio-communications) is producing recommendations to use Layer II worldwide for contribution, distribution, and emission, and Layer III for commentary applications.: The main goal of ISO/MPEG-Audio Phase II is the development of a standard for low bit-rate coding of multichannel audio with backward compatibility to ISO 11172-3, so that a stereo-only decoder reproduces the basic stereo information consisting of a downmix of the multichannel program.

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