Sunday, May 12, 2013

Schaa says "Opus codec for DRM"

Update 20130512: Rafael - our man about town in Brasil - indicates that the newest version of DReaM software supports Opus codec! Now for the addition of Codec2 and some hardcore experimenting! I'd love to see one of our favorite International broadcasters and super-power outlets experiment with DX and multiplex using these new, highly effective/efficient codecs.

Update 20121024: Read this Opus (CELT) proposal for DRM by Michael Feilen. Michael also added some clarification on rights and pricing of AAC+ via the DRMNA Yahoo Group. Read his post here.

Our friend Stephan Schaa (of HCJB Global Germany and Pappradio fame) wrote to the DRMNA Yahoo Group this morning...

Adding Opus as a free codec to the DRM System would give many benefits: At the moment you have to pay royalties for the use of the "better" codecs AAC+ for example. This has to be done if you produce receivers (for less than 1000 it's free, maybe this is the reason that the number of units for DRM Receivers are so small everytime), but the "bigger money" is made on the encoder side: about $4000 (or more) have to be paid to dolby if you want to use AAC+. If - for example - Brasil would opt to the DRM System and insists on a opus as free codec, I think this would be a good idea..." 

  • The cost for equipping transmitters would fall a lot using Opus.
  • As royalties for receivers using Opus only, receiver costs would go to zero, this receivers could be cheaper and manufacturers could produce higher numbers of units without problems.
  • Most existing DRM Exciters can be updated to Opus without problems (for example the ones produced by Transradio).
  • The Opus codec is or will be supported in Android, Apple and other Arm processor based platforms ( look at Rockbox)... This makes it much easier to build a software decoder for DRM @ Arm Processors and so to build open source radio sets.
I love the idea of an open source codec in DRM (an open source digital broadcasting format). What can we do to encourage the consortium and manufacturers to investigate this? Several sites I read indicated that major Internet movements are already embracing it, including Skype and WebRTC for streaming.

I'm guessing that existing hardware and software can be easily firmware upgraded to provide compatibility. I know we have readers from the Consortium, manufacturers and broadcasters. Can we convince them to give this emerging codec a try?