Linear Acoustic Shipping DTV Audio Loudness Manager; Pricing Discount Offered

With economic woes driving down budgets and the switchover to digital television transmission less than four months away, broadcast engineers are scrambling to implement a cost-effective solution to manage audio consistency issues between network and local programming. To address both the technical and financial issues, Linear Acoustic, the leading authority in loudness control and upmixing solutions for digital television, has started shipping the compact DTV audio/loudness manager and is announcing a special pricing offer through June 12, 2009.

Viewers are quick to notice loudness discrepancies between 5.1-channel network audio and local stereo programming and commercial insertions, and will voice their complaints — or simply switch to another channel. The Linear Acoustic addresses these issues by reformatting local stereo insertions to match the network’s six-channel audio feed while also applying loudness and metadata control in order to maintain a consistent, high quality, and seamless surround sound experience for viewers.

The proven UPMAX algorithm from Linear Acoustic operates in tandem with the company’s new AutoMAX-II auto-detection algorithm to generate downmix-compatible 5.1 surround audio where appropriate. AutoMAX-II implementation in the ensures that UPMAX processing is bypassed automatically and seamlessly when a 5.1 stream is detected, without switching artifacts or loss of dialogue. Switching may alternatively be controlled through GPI contact closures and the application of metadata.

To guard against loudness variations — the number one viewer complaint — the applies multiband, multistage processing to manage discrepancies between network and local programming and local commercial insertions. When an incoming 5.1 audio stream is automatically detected, loudness control processing is bypassed and only protection limiting is applied.

The 1-RU, an all-in-one solution that combines loudness management, 5.1 reformatting, and metadata processing, is the first six-channel audio processor to be priced at under $10,000. Mindful of the tough economic climate, Linear Acoustic is currently offering a free upgrade to include HD-SDI de-embedding, reprocessing, and re-embedding capabilities plus redundant power supplies, options valued at $3,250. The offer is open for orders placed through June 12, 2009, the federally mandated date for the analog broadcast switch-off.

According to Tom Bondurant, director of engineering at WAPT in Jackson, MS, “Maintaining a consistent viewer experience — eliminating any loudness fluctuations while also taking full advantage of the 5.1 soundfield — is high on the priority list for chief engineers as we approach the changeover to fully digital broadcast. from Linear Acoustic offers a cost-effective solution that not only can fit any budget but also elegantly combines loudness and upmixing control with associated metadata processing in a single, compact box that is easy to install and simple to set up.” may alternatively be used to match the quality of a backup transmission to the main path, and is also available in a dual-stereo (2+2) version for stereo and SAP processing. Built-in Dolby® Digital (AC-3) 5.1 encoding is also available as an option.

“Linear Acoustic understands the challenges facing the broadcast industry as they strive to maintain their viewer base,” said Tim Carroll, president and founder of Linear Acoustic. “With its built-in loudness and metadata control as well as optional transmission encoding, the gives broadcasters what they need to provide their viewers with the opportunity to maximize their listening experience easily.”

Linear Acoustic will highlight the DTV audio/loudness manager at the 2009 NAB Show, booth N1725.

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