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Dolby Laboratories Announces AAC Support Program

New Technical Marketing Program to Facilitate the Adoption of AAC Audio Compression for Internet Music Delivery, Digital Radio, and Japanese Digital Television

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 27, 2000-- Dolby Laboratories, the world leader in multichannel sound, today announced the launch of a technical marketing program in support of the new audio compression standard known as AAC or "Advanced Audio Coding."

AAC is the latest audio coder standardized by the International Standards Organization (ISO) as part of the MPEG specification. Compared to MPEG Layer-3, popularly known as MP3, AAC provides higher quality music reproduction at lower bit rates, and in addition can accommodate up to 48 audio channels. Widely viewed as the successor to MP3, AAC technology is being adopted in applications ranging from electronic music distribution, digital radio in the United States and Japan, and digital television in Japan.

AAC is a product of the combined efforts of several organizations including AT&T, Dolby Laboratories, Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, and Sony Corp. AAC is being made available to third parties on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

In order to streamline the licensing process, the foregoing companies have appointed Dolby Laboratories to administer an AAC licensing program. Today's announcement of a technical and business development program to support AAC is a further signal of Dolby's commitment to this important new technology.

"We believe that AAC will make better progress with a significant technical marketing effort," said Ramzi Haidamus, Dolby Laboratories' Technical/Business Strategist. "With over 400 customers worldwide, spanning a broad range of audio markets, Dolby is in a unique position to reach both hardware manufacturers and content developers to present the advantages of AAC over competing formats."

To supplement its current licensing and patent administration staff, Dolby has hired two new employees who are dedicated to the AAC technical marketing program. John Arthur, AAC licensing engineer, joined Dolby from QSound Corp. where he was an acoustic research physicist involved in the design of several 3D audio algorithms. Arthur has a master's degree in physics from San Francisco State University.

Andrew Fischer, AAC business development manager, has a bachelor of music degree and more than 15 years' product management and marketing experience at Hercules Computer Technology and Jon Peddie Associates. The new AAC technical marketing group is responsible for support of AAC licensees, as well as the promotion of the technology.

Dolby is preparing an AAC Decoder Software Developer's Kit to assist licensees with AAC decoder implementations. This package will include:

  • Optimized C++ AAC decoder source code
  • Optimized consumer AAC encoder executable
  • Professional AAC encoder executable
  • Test materials and tools

Dolby's AAC promotional efforts will include evangelism, public relations and tradeshow activities, participation in standardization efforts (SDMI), comparative testing with other codec technologies, and product training. In addition, Dolby is developing a Web site dedicated to AAC technology, its applications and implementers, at www.aac-audio.com.

According to Charles Seagrave, Dolby's director of engineering, licensing, "The grassroots phenomenon of MP3 has awakened the record industry to the realities of a digital market. AAC has matured just as other technologies are arriving, which will allow Internet music delivery business models to evolve. Dolby is committed to providing a high level of support to encourage the widespread adoption of AAC for online music distribution."

For more information about AAC, contact Andrew Fischer at 415/558-0731 or [email protected]. Direct inquiries about AAC licensing to [email protected].

About AAC

AAC is high-quality audio coding technology and the solution of choice for many broadcast and electronic music distribution applications. AAC is compatible with all digital rights management, encryption, and watermarking solutions available today. In independent tests, the coding efficiency of AAC proved to be superior to MP3, providing higher-quality audio reproduction at lower bit rates.

AAC provides up to 48 channels of audio, sample rates of up to 96 kHz, and can achieve ITU-R broadcast quality at 320 kb/s for a 5.1-channel audio program. Developed and standardized as an ISO/IEC specification by four industry leaders (AT&T, Dolby Laboratories, Fraunhofer IIS, and Sony Corp.), AAC is supported by a growing number of hardware and software manufacturers.

About AT&T

AT&T (www.att.com) is the world's leading provider of voice and data communications, with more than 80 million customers, including businesses, consumers and government. Backed by the research and development capabilities of AT&T Labs, the company runs the world's largest, most powerful long distance network and one of the largest wireless networks in North America.

The company is the leading supplier of data and Internet services for businesses and the nation's largest direct Internet service provider to consumers. AT&T also provides local telephone service to a growing number of businesses and consumers.

About Dolby

Dolby Laboratories (www.dolby.com) is the developer of signal processing systems used worldwide in applications that include motion-picture sound, consumer entertainment products and media, broadcasting, and music recording. Based in San Francisco with European headquarters in England, the privately held company also has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

About Fraunhofer IIS

Fraunhofer IIS (www.iis.fhg.de/amm) is the leading research laboratory in the area of audio coding. For more than 10 years, Fraunhofer IIS has actively driven forward international standardization of several audio compression algorithms including MPEG Layer-3 and AAC.

Besides devising advanced algorithms, Fraunhofer IIS engineers focus on the effective implementation of state-of-the-art audio and video coding schemes on PCs and digital signal processors (DSPs). Fraunhofer IIS is active in international efforts focusing on methods for intellectual property management and protection, including MPEG-4 and SDMI.

About Sony

Sony Corp. (www.sony.com) is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, communications, and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. Its music, pictures, and computer entertainment operations make Sony one of the most comprehensive companies in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of more than $56 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1999.

Note to Editors: Dolby and the double-D symbol are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories (c)1998 Dolby Laboratories Inc.




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