BBC Tests Ultra-High-Quality Streaming

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The British Broadcasting Corporation is making an attempt to redefine the perception of streamed Internet audio from one of acceptable audio quality to a superior system of live audio delivery. According to an article in the Beebe's Internet blog, BBC engineers streamed the final week of the Proms, a world-renowned symphony performance series from London's Royal Albert Hall via AAC-LC coding running at a blazing 320kb/s.

The experimental webcast, dubbed PromsXHQ, was offered last week alongside the normal BBC 3 feed available at 192kb/s. One of the selling points of PromsXHQ is that the performances are being made available without the use of multiband audio processing to provide dynamic control normally required for transmission of classical music over lower bit-rate streams, DAB and analog FM radio broadcasts.

Driving the project is Rupert Burn, head of technology for BBC audio and music, who helped BBC stream listeners tap into the HQ stream by putting up an FAQ covering the technical essentials of PromsXHQ.

Golden-eared listeners with high-end audio systems were also encouraged to submit their feedback directly to the engineering team via e-mail or Tweets. Much of their feedback is now posted in the blog comments section.

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