Maintaining audio quality over multichannel distribution

August 8, 2013 - 11:46am

Digital generation loss is problem for audio signals as well as video ones. In typical transcoding scenarios, audio loses quality with each subsequent compression. For more direct satellite signals, the slightly diminished quality and volume of audio channels is usually imperceptible. However, as multichannel distribution becomes the dominant reality of content delivery, the loss of audio quality can end up significantly diminishing the value of content.

This phenomenon is no better illustrated than in the case of OTT video, which in the era of mobile devices and laptops, may be the premium way that a user watches their favorite content. Most people likely have experienced audio signal loss on an internet video stream that makes it impossible to distinguish the audio with any clarity. This is true for amateur video auteurs that populate YouTube as well as video broadcast systems operators. According to TV Technology contributor Steve Harvey, the aural challenges for broadcasters are accelerating

"The focus is no longer just loudness monitoring; new products also address issues of multiplatform remote access, limited real estate and monitoring of more formats," he wrote. 

Audio quality optimized for any device signal is critically important in the filming of live TV events, as broadcasters don't have the luxury of anything but real time manipulation and correction of their signals and compression. Minimizing crowd and ambient noise and maintaining the volume and quality of channels can be difficult, according to Broadcast Engineering, especially during sporting events and other large, multi-camera spectacles. It's for this reason that broadcasters should utilize multichannel a video/audio transcoder for their digital signal compression needs. These devices enable lossless decoding and re-encoding of audio to different broadcast formats. Although video occupies more space than do audio signals, as bandwidth concerns grow for transfer of data over high bitrate channels, every reduction in bandwidth without a corresponding loss of quality will be essential.

Signal Quality