Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Fraunhofer IIS Demos Full-HD Voice Over LTE On Android

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the smell-o-vision-lite dept.

Android 99

MojoKid writes "Fraunhofer IIS has chosen Mobile World Congress as the place to present the world's first Full-HD Voice mobile phone calls over an LTE network. Verizon Wireless has toyed with VoLTE (Voice over LTE) before, but this particular method enables mobile phone calls to sound as clear as talking to another person in the same room. Full-HD Voice is already established in several VoIP, video telephony and conferencing systems. However, this will mark the first time Fraunhofer's Full-HD Voice codec AAC-ELD has been integrated into a mobile communications system. Currently, the majority of phone calls are limited to the 3.5 kHz range, whereas humans are able to perceive audio signals up to 20 kHz. The Full-HD Voice codec AAC-ELD gives access to the full audible audio spectrum."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

can you hear me now? (5, Interesting)

noh8rz2 (2538714) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160061)

wow this sounds really cool. I think it's so lame that as technology improved in the past 15 years and we went from landlines to cell phones, we took a huge step back in audio quality. Kind of like the step back from CDs to MP3s. I hope this catches on - do both parties need to use it? Perhaps it will be directly implemented in Skype or something.

Re:can you hear me now? (4, Insightful)

King InuYasha (1159129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160079)

Four parties need to support this for it to work: the caller's handset, the caller's mobile network operator, the recipient's mobile network operator, and the recipient's handset. If all four support the Full HD Voice codec for IMS-Voice (aka VoLTE), then it'll be used. Otherwise, it'll fall back to AMR-WB or AMR-NB.

It'd make me finally buy a smart cellphone (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160143)

It's worth it, though -- horrible audio is why I don't own an iPhone, just an iPad and an old dumbphone. Cellphone audio quality is simply horrible; whoever decided that the utter crap they call audio was "good enough" deserves to be taken out and shot. And considering how good audio compression is these days, there's very little excuse for it. Yeah, there are several points that have to support it, but we've seen lots of things added to the phone network, decent audio quality could easily have been one of them at just about any time.

Re:It'd make me finally buy a smart cellphone (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160167)

Actually the iPhone has pretty good audio. The speakerphone and room mic work very well compared to several dumb phones I've had. I still have a dumb flip phone because I don't need anything more than that, and I prefer a smaller flip that fits my head and pocket better..

Re:It'd make me finally buy a smart cellphone (4, Informative)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160249)

No. It really doesn't -- I've heard them many times, and the telephone audio sounds pretty much like every other phone, like over-compressed trash. The very minimum for "decent voice audio" requires *everything* between about 300 Hz and 3 KHz to reproduced accurately. That's the old POTS analog phone standard, by the way. And it would be lovely if it were more like 100 Hz to about 6 KHz - tons more nuance available with that kind of range.

Re:It'd make me finally buy a smart cellphone (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160597)

I'd agree the iPhone does not have "really good audio".

However it does have MUCH better audio than super cheap phones, my wife has one and I've tried a few others. I also thought the iPhone sounded "bad" for phone calls until I used them...

Re:It'd make me finally buy a smart cellphone (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160633)

Cisco has a white paper pushing the G.722 codec which is a 16-bit sampling from 150Hz to 7kHz.
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/voicesw/ps6788/phones/ps379/ps8537/prod_white_paper0900aecd806fa57a.html [cisco.com]
Keep in mind, part of the reason for the white paper is that they want to sell their newest 79xx series VOIP phones.

Re:It'd make me finally buy a smart cellphone (2)

Amarantine (1100187) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161065)

Keep in mind, part of the reason for the white paper is that they want to sell their newest 79xx series VOIP phones.

True, but those phones have been around for at least 4 years now. In fact, the whole 79xx-range is being phased out, in favour of the 69xx and 99xx series. G.722 does sound very crispy though. Made a test call back then on two phones supporting it, and I remember being amazed at how clear the sound was. I did not expect it could and would make such a difference. In speakermode, it was almost as if the person was sitting next to me.

Re:It'd make me finally buy a smart cellphone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160269)

HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA the iPhone... it still would receive the 3.5khz max as a freq. But since it starts with an i and it is from a company that sells fruit to fruitcakes it suddenly makes sound better?

duh.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160925)

When Fraunhofer IIS instroduced MP3 back in the 90', old establishments also ignored them.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161289)

Well, actually, given the bandwidth capability of LTE there is nothing of a challenge here.
Any mobile voip client can deliver crystal clear voice quality dramatically better than cellular.

Its not unusual for me to start a call on cell, ask if the end-user has a direct Voip address and switch to that. I use CsipSimple on android, but there are no shortage of clients, and free voip accounts are everywhere. Even inbound (DID) land-line to Voip numbers can be had for free if you shop around, and DOD voip to landline dialing is dirt cheap, even internationally.

This seems like another Fraunhofer move to extend patents that are close to expiring, by tweeking them just a bit, painting them with a fresh coat of LET, and calling them something new.

Re:can you hear me now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161931)

and the recipient's ears.

Re:can you hear me now? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160087)

Skype currently uses the SILK codec, which should give similar quality.

Skype was also involved with the IETF working group to produce a new codec (called Opus) which is also high quality and will hopefully see more widespread adoption than this AAC-ELD codec.

Would be interested in seeing some comparisons between Opus and AAC-ELD, especially since Opus can do both voice and music due to its hybrid nature.

Re:can you hear me now? (2)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160293)

I can tell the difference between the audio on my cell phone calls and my Skype calls. The Skype calls have much better quality.
I can use Skype over 3G from the South Pacific to the US and the quality is fantastic... better than a local call. The only problem is a bit of lag due to the distance.

Re:can you hear me now? (4, Informative)

jmv (93421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160481)

We actually wanted to compare Opus and AAC-ELD, but there was just no way to actually get an AAC-ELD implementation. The best we were able to do is to get an AAC-LD implementation from Apple. See this demo page [xiph.org] (scroll down) for the comparison we did between AAC-LD and CELT (which is now part of Opus). In the very few modes we had access to, CELT (Opus) was clearly superior to AAC-LD. I've no idea how much better AAC-ELD is.

Re:can you hear me now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160921)

jmv: Good to see you pitch in in this thread. As soon as I read the description I went 'Isn't that CELP' then went to xiph.org, realized it was CELT (but CELP was described there, hence my confusion), and went 'Xiph's done that!'

Then proceeded to read through all the other interesting codec related stuff that's been going on since the last time I visited the site.

Good job to all you guys, if it wasn't for xiph, I wouldn't have any of the formats I currently use, and half of my videogames wouldn't be using .ogg files for most of their audio (*cheers*).

Re:can you hear me now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161639)

I wouldn't be surprised if Opus is, or at least has the capability to be, very much better than AAC-ELD. That hybrid between time-domain and frequency-domain codec potentially allows for both quick transients and accurate frequency reproduction—I’m actually wondering how you compare to Vorbis I and AAC at the top end, and when/if you hit transparency, and if you don’t, what you might do so that you could hit transparency.

I’m also wondering if the now Microsoft-owned Skype are going to actually live up to Skype’s patent covenant concerning CELT when Opus is finalised.

Re:can you hear me now? (2)

jmv (93421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161715)

The only real comparison we've made with Vorbis and AAC was a 64 kb/s test comparing Opus to Vorbis and HE-AAC (v1). See the results [hydrogenaudio.org] and the analysis [xiph.org] . At higher rate, we definitely reach a point where Opus is transparent for everything, but the exact rate depends on the content and the listener.

As for Microsoft, they've actually updated their covenant to something which is nicer than what Skype originally had and (IMO but IANAL) totally acceptable.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161305)

Skype currently uses the SILK codec, which should give similar quality.

It doesn't matter what Skype uses, it's sunset technology of minor relevance to the larger landscape now that it's owned by Microsoft. Can you spell "Hotmail"?

Re:can you hear me now? (2, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160227)

What's especially funny about mp3 is how all the tools who listen to it don't know or care that there are superior oss codecs. I'm surprised flac or ogg haven't usurbed mp3 tbh.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160347)

The only tool is the person who cares what someone else uses or cares about.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162649)

I don't care what other people use, I just care what vendors are selling. There is no way in hell I'm ever paying money for an mp3. I've purchased flac albums several times, however.

Re:can you hear me now? (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160371)

Saying that FLAC is better than MP3 is like saying that an M1A1 is better than a smart car. If you care only about getting something from point A to point B undamaged, then yes, it is. If you care at all about efficiency, not so much.

As for Ogg Vorbis, I suspect the patent FUD spread by Fraunhofer pretty much sealed its fate as far as commercial vendor adoption was concerned, which in turn has limited its uptake by the general public.

Re:can you hear me now? (2)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161505)

As for Ogg Vorbis, I suspect the patent FUD spread by Fraunhofer pretty much sealed its fate as far as commercial vendor adoption was concerned, which in turn has limited its uptake by the general public.

The fate of ogg is far from sealed. It has grabbed a dominant position in video game assets and is the tech of choice in many other contexts. Wisely, Frauenhofer has not made a peep about its troll patent portfolio. Anybody who uses ogg instead of mp3 today when they do not have to is an idiot, but no denying there is a good supply of such idiots.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161695)

Anybody who uses ogg instead of mp3 today when they do not have to is an idiot, but no denying there is a good supply of such idiots.

I'm guessing by your context that you meant that the other way round?

I've found that I can't ABX AoTuv 5.7 (and 6.03) vorbis as far down as -q 3. That's an average bitrate of roughly 115kbps. Not too shabby at all. lets me fit an extra couple dozen albums on my ancient rockbox'd ipod video compared to lame, which I use at -v 4 (~150kbps).

Re:can you hear me now? (3, Funny)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161897)

Anybody who uses [mp3] instead of [ogg] today when they do not have to is an idiot, but no denying there is a good supply of such idiots.

I'm guessing by your context that you meant that the other way round?

Correct of couse. I could add "and anyboldy who posts the exact opposite of what they mean is an idiot".

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161697)

Nobody needed to use MP3 as the standard. But the majority did. When you paid for a license to MP3, you bought into the standard. At that point, just how much better or worse the codec was compared to all other alternatives is a moot point after the fact.

Re:can you hear me now? (4, Funny)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161809)

Saying that FLAC is better than MP3 is like saying that an M1A1 is better than a smart car. If you care only about getting something from point A to point B undamaged, then yes, it is.

Okay, I get your point, but you picked a rather unfortunate comparison.

1) Getting a parking space? Never an issue with the M1A1, even when all the lots are filled ...
2) Traffic jams? Shouldn't be a problem with the M1A1 either ...
3) Tail gaters? .50 cal machine gun and 120 mm cannon!
4) People cutting you off in traffic? See 3.
5) Getting T-boned in an intersection? Yeah, you might get banged about a bit, but I suspect the M1A1 will do just fine unless it's an 18-wheeler or bigger.
6) Are the local roads washed out by inclement weather? The M1A1 will still get you there. (I even suspect there'd be no real danger in driving straight through tornadoes and hurricanes in an M1A1).
7) Is there a foot of snow covering your local roads? Debris from the recent hurricane or tornado blocking the roads? The M1A1 will still get you there.

It's not difficult to think up even plausible ways that an M1A1 is better for your commute than a SmartCar.

But your point still stands.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161827)

Ogg Vorbis lost to mp3 because for the longest time there was no fixed point implementation of an ogg vorbis decoder, while there was one for mp3. This made the hardware to decode ogg vorbis more expensive, and hence no one made one.

There was fixed point before it even hit 1.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39162901)

Xiph released the fixed point decoder called Tremor in 2001, before the project even officially hit 1.0. That was only about a year and a half after the first alpha release.

Vorbis didn't unseat mp3 for a number of reasons (neither has anything else), but fixed point wasn't one of them.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39173755)

Ogg Vorbis lost to mp3 because for the longest time there was no fixed point implementation of an ogg vorbis decoder, while there was one for mp3. This made the hardware to decode ogg vorbis more expensive, and hence no one made one.

Incorrect. Vorbis lost to MP3 for several reasons.

First, ubiquity - by the time Vorbis came out (and was decent), MP3 was firmly established as the format to use and there were MP3 players out. All the tools and such were in place to ript CDs and produce MP3 files, and everyone (because of Napster) figured out what MP3s where.

Second, the best-selling player of all time didn't support it. The iPod, the world's first *decent* MP3 player (it was small and held lots of music - something neither the flash-based players nor the hard drive/CD players could claim).

Third, people didn't care. MP3 was "good enough" and fit in people's lives already. As a free alternative, Vorbis didn't do any better.than MP3 so most people simply said "why should I bother?"

The integer decoder part wasn't really an issue. Though, it did have a negative effect - the MP3 kernel (in DSP, a kernel is the core chunk of code that does the desired processing) could fit in the DSP's instruction cache, so decoding MP3s meant the DSP did not have to hit instruction memory. Vorbis was too big for the cache, so decoding a Vorbis file meant the cache had to be thrashed. Activating RAM meant a much shorter battery life. (What happened was the RAM buffer was filled from flash or other media, then the mass storage is turned off. The decode begins by having the data cache pre-filled with the RAM buffer, then RAM was put into low-power idle mode as it wasn't going to be used. The decoded audio heads straight to the DAC, and when the datacache is empty, RAM is brought up and a new chunk of data is brought into the cache. With Vorbis, the RAM couldn't shut down as the DSP needed to access it to decode a Vorbis file).

Now, that's not to say that Vorbis isn't used. It's used quite extensively in games and other stuff (including iOS - take apart an iOS game and a lot of the music assets are in Vorbis format). Many reasons for that - it's patent/royalty free, and the decoder code is BSD, so developers love stuff like that because it means no license fees and they can close the source. I believe many of the libraries used also support Vorbis for that reason - the library maker has a license-free, patent-free, royalty-free compressed music format they can sell to the users.

Wha? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39162241)

is like saying that an M1A1 is better

A fucking WHAT is better? I had to look it up.

You Americans must be taught fucking militarism from birth. No wonder you're all such war-mongerers and such psychopaths towards all people outside the borders of that stinking hell-hole you live in.

Thank goodness I was born and raised in a sane country and not brain-fucked by US Government Corp.

Geez, modded down? Now there's a surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39165845)

You simply cannot handle the truth about your evil culture and anti-human behavior. The fall of the 'merican empire is nigh and you did it to yourselves. You selfish, reckless, dumb fucks.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#39163063)

"Saying that FLAC is better than MP3 is like saying that an M1A1 is better than a smart car. If you care only about getting something from point A to point B undamaged, then yes, it is. If you care at all about efficiency, not so much."

If that M1A1 was as easy to drive and as cheap to build as the Smart, sure... and if we had a near-unlimited supply of fuel (I have a huge collection of ripped albums in FLAC, and I can't fill even a 500GB drive with it, even though it's mostly on the lowest compression setting).

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39176763)

In much the same way, if we had a near-unlimited supply of disk space, FLAC would be inarguably better.

You may not be able to fill a 500 GB drive, but most portable music players do not have 500 GB of storage. They have 1-2 orders of magnitude less space than that. Using a lossless codec, a 4 GB music player will hold (assuming 2:1 compression) just under 13 albums. That's not a lot of music. At a 128 kbps bitrate, that same player will hold over 60 albums. That's not a small difference.

And most folks listening to music on a multifunction device—a cell phone, an iPod touch, etc.—won't want to use all their space for music. They have movies, apps, photos, and who knows what else that they want to keep on the device, too. Lossless audio translates into buying a much larger device than you otherwise would have. That doesn't come for free, which was my point.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160809)

Ogg may be better than the ancient mp3 codec but it falls flat compared to mp4.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

noh8rz2 (2538714) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160893)

i thought mp3 was for music and mp4 was for video

Re:can you hear me now? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39162991)

And mp5 is for shooting.

Re:can you hear me now? (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160941)

mp4 is a container. not an audio codec.

did you mean AAC?
which AAC, quicktime, faac, nero?

doesn't really matter. aotuv tuned vorbis beats or at worst ties any flavor of aac down to and including 96kbps.
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Listening_Tests#Multiformat_Tests [hydrogenaudio.org]

doesn't truly matter anyway. aside from "killer samples", all modern codecs, including MP3, reach perceptual transparency by about 192kbps or so.

Re:can you hear me now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161279)

Ogg is also a container, he means vorbis.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39167827)

Mp4/AAC, of course. Generally that's what people refer to when they talk about mp4 audio. Sort of like how I knew that the guy I responded to was talking about ogg vorbis and not ogg speex or ogg PCM.

Stock Vorbis does not beat the Apple tuned AAC at any bit rate and of course you don't have to believe the hydrogen audio subjective listening tests unless you want to.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161517)

Ogg may be better than the ancient mp3 codec but it falls flat compared to mp4.

Haha, very funny Mr clueless, you are a real card.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39167839)

Nero AAC blows it away if you go by the subjective hydrogen audio tests, and apple's AAC blows Nero away.

Voice communication is still very ineffective. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160237)

It doesn't matter which codec you use, nothing will change the fact that voice communication is one of the most ineffective tools for getting real work done.

Once your communication goes beyond one or two sentences, it quickly becomes inferior to written- or text-based communication of some form.

With the web and smart phones being so prevalent these days, the need for voice-based communication is quickly dwindling. For quick questions or communication, you're better off sending a text message or even an email. If dealing with a business, email or even just a website is usually much more effective.

It's much too easy for voice communication to fail, especially with today's multi-cultural world and dealings where many communicators don't speak or understand the language of the other party very well. This leads to many misunderstandings, or a complete breakdown in most cases. This is usually much less of a problem when written text is involved. Given that it persists, it allows the other party to read it several times to make sure that they understand the full meaning, and it forces the sender to slow down and actually think about what's being communicated.

It's understandable that voice communication had value back when we didn't have powerful smart phones, tablets, and other portable communication device. But those days are long past. Voice communication should be a fallback option that's very seldom used.

Re:Voice communication is still very ineffective. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160255)

There is still no reason to fall back to the G.711 standard from 1972 (!) when using voice. Yet this is more or less what happens for most calls. And the reason is not a lack of good codecs, but fear of patents and inertia. AAC-ELD will do nothing to solve this.

Re:Voice communication is still very ineffective. (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160331)

Odd. I find that for communication with parties I already know, voice is by far the fastest. Textual communication is often more convient though, especially when dealing with companies or unfamiliar individuals.

Re:Voice communication is still very ineffective. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160373)

"Once your communication goes beyond one or two sentences, it quickly becomes inferior to written- or text-based communication of some form."

I feel sorry for the people that have to talk with you.

Re:Voice communication is still very ineffective. (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160439)

Once your communication goes beyond one or two sentences, it quickly becomes inferior to written- or text-based communication of some form.

In a conversation you rarely go beyond one or two sentences without some kind of feedback from the other end. Phones have always been used to decrease latency of communication.

You appear to be leet at typing on a phone touchscreen which mean you are only able to talk to 10 percent of the population anyway.

Re:Voice communication is still very ineffective. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160565)

"Once your communication goes beyond one or two sentences, it [voice] quickly becomes inferior to written- or text-based communication of some form."

Any time I get an IM from a coworker and the exchange goes beyond a short response or two, I invariably type "Call me." Voice communication - which is effortless (unlike typing), instantaneous (unlike typing), and nuanced (again, unlike typing) - is dramatically more efficient for discussing anything more complex than "Meet me at the bar at 6."

Re:Voice communication is still very ineffective. (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162699)

I find that even simple things like "meet me at the bar at 6" often require several back-and-forth follow-up messages. I'd much rather bump into someone in the hall on the way to the bathroom and spend 10-15 seconds talking.

Re:Voice communication is still very ineffective. (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162677)

You might be right in regards to purely communicating data, but for actual -work- and general communication, voice will always be king, regardless of how 'multi-cultural' things get.

When two people talk, unless one of them is autistic, they convey far more information with their voice than just words. Additionally, I don't know many people who type faster than they talk. In fact, I don't know anyone who legitimately types faster than they talk, and I mostly know people who have been typing for over two decades.

With text, it's harder to bounce ideas around and brainstorm. Unless you're using a real-time protocol, you can't intentionally interrupt people when they're going down the wrong path or you already know what they're going to say.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

Paul Slocum (598127) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160359)

To me, the delay and loss of clear full-duplex are bigger compromises for cell phones audio-wise, and the reason I have a land line at home. Hopefully this new technology addresses those problems in addition to improving the fidelity.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160473)

you know why it's "cool"? lte lacks voice spec.

you know why this particular demonstration isn't cool? it doesn't include "auto handover to gsm on network change"(though afaik, that was demonstrated by someone in some lab already.. ).

personally though, if I was choosing the spec to standardize on I sure as fuck wouldn't choose a licensed from fraunhofer codec, I'd probably just run with speex, less patent and license problems(ironically though the guys who are actually making this decision might go with the fraunhofer solution just because of that, because they'd view license burden on it as an advantage!).

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

no_such_user (196771) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161189)

I was thinking the same thing about Speex, but...
From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Since Speex was designed for Voice over IP (VoIP) instead of cell phone use, the codec must be robust to lost packets, but not to corrupted ones.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39164771)

are corrupted packets really that big of a problem on these new networks though? afaik lte acts just as data network and afaik this fraunhofer solution is pretty much regular voip.

with all this though, recodes happening to connect to end-points running another codec might be the real problem pit..

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

theweatherelectric (2007596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160475)

Perhaps it will be directly implemented in Skype or something.

Skype will use Opus [opus-codec.org] in future. Opus is a low latency codec suitable for both speech and music coding built from the combination of the SILK and CELT codecs. Opus outperforms AAC (and maybe it outperforms Fraunhofer's AAC-ELD codec as well). I imagine Skype's use of Opus will be dependent on Microsoft deciding to stick with that plan. However, as Microsoft has been discovering recently that codecs which require royalty payments can be difficult to manage [techspot.com] , I suppose they'll stick with the plan to use Opus as it's royalty-free.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161043)

It's about time someone started working to improve call quality on cell phones. I'm relieved when I call someone and get them on a land line because it means I'll be able to understand them. If both people on a call have cell phones, it always sounds like crap. That's why people talk so damn loud when they're on a cell phone. They're trying to overcome the crappy codec with volume.

Re:can you hear me now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161627)

I hear rumours that this varies from region to region - cellphone quality over here in NE Europe seems quite decent to me, but I've never had the chance to compare it to US standards.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178557)

People have been working on it for a long time. Notwithstanding a whiz-bang technology demo of a specific codec which does a good PR job of appearing a much bigger deal than it really is, it's a pretty complex problem - but G.722-based 'HD voice' has been deployed in various European countries for a few years, now. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wideband_audio [wikipedia.org] .

Re:can you hear me now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161291)

wow this sounds really cool. I think it's so lame that as technology improved in the past 15 years and we went from landlines to cell phones, we took a huge step back in audio quality.

Or, no audio at all. I'm blown away by how much is sent by text, now. Even the bastardization of language within a texted conversation might be considered low-baud quality.
    On the topic of mobile audio/text, is there an app that records a person's voice, encodes it as a text message, sends it to the recipient who can then decode the text message and play it as audio again? It seems more intuitive, to me, to use voice messages in simplex exchange, rather than text messages. But what do I know.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162791)

There is more than one reason to restrict bandwidth for voice calls - it doesn't just keep the cost of the call down (I am sure your network operator wants an excuse to raise the cost of your contract), it also reduces the prospects of sending unwanted noise (the wider you open the window, the more the dirt blow in).

I make a lot of calls from noisy environments (eg on transport), and don't want to pay my network operator more money. I am sure the people I make business calls to would rather hear what I say than appreciate the quality of the audio.

Its a phone, not a hi-fi!

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

noh8rz2 (2538714) | more than 2 years ago | (#39164293)

Its a phone, not a hi-fi!

why can't it be both? why can't it be the same quality as a landline? iPhone has voice cleanup algorithms baked into the hardware; this is probably suffish for taking care of background noise.

Re:can you hear me now? (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192429)

It would be cool if it wasn't from patent troll Frauenhofer and scofflaw Microsoft.

Full HD? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160077)

Full HD is a marketing term referring to 1080p-resolution content/screens. Why is it being used here? How does it make any sense whatsoever?

Re:Full HD? (4, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160111)

Full HD is a marketing term referring to 1080p-resolution content/screens. Why is it being used here? How does it make any sense whatsoever?

It makes every bit as much (or as little) sense here as it does when used to describe a television.

Re:Full HD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160133)

Full HD is a marketing term referring to 1080p-resolution content/screens. Why is it being used here? How does it make any sense whatsoever?

With the new high definition screens rumored to be used by the iPad 3 (and I assume its imitators not long after) going 1080p is not a problem.

Re:Full HD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160557)

Going 1080p... for what? A full-screen spectrum analyser? Note that this is voice calls, not video calls.

What good is HD-voice quality... (4, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160113)

...when the phones have shit sound components.

Handset makers have been so focused on stuffing their handsets with cameras, MP3 playback, video playback, picture messaging and other dumb things in a features race that they only phone-in (pun intended) the basic voice calling capabilities now.

Re:What good is HD-voice quality... (3, Insightful)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160191)

The crappy speakers and mics in most phones probably has as much effect as the processing and compression. It is true though that the cellphone frequency range does cut off too much of the lower frequencies. A codec that goes to 20k is pointless when there is no speech frequencies that high, and most people can't hear it anyway. The focus should be better lower frequency coverage, improve the dynamic range, and filter background noise.

It's kind like pushing HD radio, when most people listen to their radios in their noisy cars with stock speakers and can't tell the difference.

Re:What good is HD-voice quality... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160339)

It's kind like pushing HD radio, when most people listen to their radios in their noisy cars with stock speakers and can't tell the difference.

You've got the cause and effect backwards. People only listen to the radio in their cars, and using cheap equipment, because radio sounds pretty crappy to begin with. HD Radio has the potential to reverse both trends (but I don't expect it will).

Don't believe it? Look up how many users Pandora / Last.fm / XM/Sirius / Shoutcast / et al., have. People clearly value a radio-like service, and find the current broadcast radio situation so bad that they go for more expensive alternatives.

Re:What good is HD-voice quality... (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160593)

It's kind like pushing HD radio, when most people listen to their radios in their noisy cars with stock speakers and can't tell the difference.

You've got the cause and effect backwards. People only listen to the radio in their cars, and using cheap equipment, because radio sounds pretty crappy to begin with. HD Radio has the potential to reverse both trends (but I don't expect it will).

Don't believe it? Look up how many users Pandora / Last.fm / XM/Sirius / Shoutcast / et al., have. People clearly value a radio-like service, and find the current broadcast radio situation so bad that they go for more expensive alternatives.

But do you see XM/Sirius users upgrading the quality of audio equipment in their cars? I've heard the portable XM/Sirius radios (a few people in my office have them). I can't tell the difference in quality, and now that they have ads I don't see the advantage of a subscription radio service.

Re:What good is HD-voice quality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39176749)

I don't know what cars you are buying, but most cars these days have very nice sound systems. Unless you're a teenage boy who things vibrating the windows on the houses you pass is quality, of course.

Re:What good is HD-voice quality... (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160949)

Electret microphones are cheap and can be flat across the entire audio spectrum. Speakers are much more difficult; there are fundamental physical limitations that cannot be escaped.

The frequency response best for hifi (flat) is not the same as that which is best for communications.

Re:What good is HD-voice quality... (1)

fred911 (83970) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160349)

HD phone sex.

Re:What good is HD-voice quality... (2)

rasmusbr (2186518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160759)

I'm frequently amazed at the quality of microphones in newer phones. Call quality is usually limited by the codec, not the mic.

There are videos on Youtube taken by cellphones of rock concerts where the audio is both clear and doesn't clip. There are videos on Youtube taken by cellphones of speeches where the person filming is far back in the audience and there's no amplification, yet the recording is good enough that you can listen to the speech.

If you had told me ten years ago that it would be possible to do that with a mainstream consumer electronic device weighing in at 100 grams today I would have been very skeptical.

Re:What good is HD-voice quality... (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39163847)

What good is high-quality speakers when the signal received is so low "resolution"?

Just as TV makers all leapt on the chance to call their products "HD", and users leapt on the chance to buy something indescribably "better" ("it has 1080p!" "what's a P?" "I don't know, but I've got 1080 of them!"), I'm sure phones will go the same way.

Re:What good is HD-voice quality... (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39166445)

What good is high-quality speakers when the signal received is so low "resolution"?

That argument doesn't work because the components have actually gotten worse than they used to be, and now give a sub-quality performance even with the existing non-HD signal. From my own observation, things started to go downhill when flip-phones were becoming the most popular, possibly because more shallow components were needed to fit flip-phone casing thickness.

Users/cell? (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160185)

How many users/cell before this starts throttling? in the single digits?

Full HD 20-20 means... (2)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160205)

...distribution channel for Full 20Hz - 20kHz music source. Now go figure. Do the maths

Awesome! (4, Funny)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160261)

I can make phone calls with my phone now!

"Full HD" - right (0)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160301)

So what's the actual audio quality? It's probably inferior to uncompressed 16-bit 48KHz CD audio. I've been trying to find an audio sample on line, but haven't found one yet.

It's actually a variant of H.264/MPEG-4 AVC [wikipedia.org] , which is the codec on Blu-Ray audio. But not at a high bit rate, as on Blu-Ray discs. It's AAC/ELD v2, at 24Kb/s.

It's already in IOS Facetime, anyway.

Re:"Full HD" - right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160365)

Who cares about tech if the can pull another super-full-hyper-plus-marketing term out of their asses...

Re:"Full HD" - right (4, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160465)

It's actually a variant of H.264/MPEG-4 AVC [wikipedia.org] , which is the codec on Blu-Ray audio. But not at a high bit rate, as on Blu-Ray discs. It's AAC/ELD v2, at 24Kb/s.

It's already in IOS Facetime, anyway.

This post doesn't make any sense.

  1. H.264 is a video codec, it has nothing to do with the audio on a bluray disc. Blu-ray discs use a wide variety of sound formats, from 24-bit PCM Mono, all the way to 7.1 Lossless codecs.
  2. You don't have to use H.264 to be "Full HD". "Full HD" is nothing more than a marketing term to start with, but it only refers to 1080p video. Early Blurays used MPEG2 for video codec and still did 1080p resolution.
  3. Facetime doesn't use AAC/ELD, but only AAC/LD, which doesn't go as low in frequency. [fraunhofer.de]

humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz... (4, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160361)

Only those who have not had high-intensity hoot and thump music piped into their ear canals for the last ten years. Most twentysomethings won't be able distinguish HD audio from a 1940s telephone. They'll buy it anyway, though.

Re:humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz. (2)

Vegemeister (1259976) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160503)

There are very few people left alive who listened to something that wasn't 'high-intensity hoot and thump music' in their youth. Sorry about your lawn.

Re:humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz. (1)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160731)

Sorry about your lawn.

It's not the lawn that's the problem. It's the billions of dollars in hearing aids that Medicare and Medicaid will be expected to provide for stupid people who stupidly listened to hoot and thump music being played FAR TOO LOUD. One thing to listen to music, another to listen to it on headphones that can still be heard by people five rows away on a train, or in a car that is audible a half mile away.

Re:humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161429)

Note to self:
Buy stocking heating aid company

Re:humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz. (3, Funny)

Vegemeister (1259976) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161723)

Surely, you would be better served by stock in a hearing aid company.

Note to self:
Sell stock in speech recognition company

Re:humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39162199)

You're in your 20s, aren't you?

Re:humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz. (1)

POTSandPANS (781918) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160587)

HD voice is of limited use, but I find it works good for when you need to spell something or read a serial number, part number, etc. over the phone. It's much easier to tell apart letters like S and F over the phone when you're using a wideband codec.

Of course, text or email is much better for things like that.

Re:humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz. (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160909)

Never heard somebody using radio procedure over a cell conversation, eh?

I-SPELL INDIA TANGO APOSTROPHE SIERRA SPACE DELTA OSCAR ALPHA BRAVO LIMA ECHO.

I use it instinctively whenever I'm doing something like that over the phone, even if it's a good connection, and I ask the person on the other end to read it back to me phonetically as well. And when it's a bad connection, I'll use "words twice". It just makes sense when it's information like that, and I suspect even with "hd audio", you'll still need to do it, because people can still screw up S and F, D and T, and others like that. Surprisingly, even when you're speaking with somebody who doesn't have radio/military experience, when you start using radio indicators like "Figures", "I Spell", "Say Again", and the phonetic alphabet, people don't seem to have a hard time understanding it.

And yes, a text or an e-mail is better... in theory. On my cell phone, the keyboard is a pain in the backside, and it's very easy to make a typo. And that's one of the rare phones that actually has a keyboard... it's worse with the touchscreen. If I'm in the field, it is usually faster to simply spell it phonetically over the phone, rather than trying to write a text or an e-mail on my phone. And gods help anybody who's stuck using T-9.

Re:humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz. (1)

eharvill (991859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161675)

And yes, a text or an e-mail is better... in theory. On my cell phone, the keyboard is a pain in the backside, and it's very easy to make a typo. And that's one of the rare phones that actually has a keyboard... it's worse with the touchscreen. If I'm in the field, it is usually faster to simply spell it phonetically over the phone, rather than trying to write a text or an e-mail on my phone. And gods help anybody who's stuck using T-9.

You don't have an iPhone, do you? I've had one for about 3 weeks now (employer issued) and I hate the auto-correct/predictive text on it vs a Droid based device. I am much more efficient with emails/text on a Droid device vs an iPhone. No clue if either use T-9, but I'm guessing that's more of an early Blackberry function?

Re:humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39165733)

T9 is the system you'd typically use on a non-ancient phone with number keys: If 1 is [abc], 2 is [def], and 3 is [ghi], you press each key once per letter. "Bag" becomes 113, "head" becomes 3212. It then uses a dictionary with weighting to chose the most likely of the possible words, and you can scroll through the alternatives. Combined with a system for adding your own words, and a decent implementation that learns your preferred words, it's probably the nicest way to enter "normal" text with a slightly extended numeric keyboard. The first phone I used with it was the Nokia 3310, back in 2000. It was a massive step up from the multitap system used previously, where you press each key a number of times to indicate the letter (using the same examples, "head" would be 33 22 1 2, and "bag" 11 1 3 - the pauses were significant and somewhat annoying).

So, uhm. No touchscreen phone preferentially uses T9, I think - but it's possible (at least on android) if you so prefer. It can be nice if you've got a tiny screen, since the fewer, larger, buttons are easier to hit. Incidentally, blackberries are famous for not having T9; their hardware qwerty keyboards are one of the main selling points.

Re:humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39166747)

I think you're misunderstanding what he meant by T9. That's text entered on a numeric keypad, one press per letter with a predictive dictionary to work out what word you intended. The only Android based phone I've seen this used on was a Sony X10 mini (with it's tiny touch screen), and even then it was a 3rd party keyboard app.

Re:humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz. (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 2 years ago | (#39163343)

Most twentysomethings won't be able distinguish HD audio from a 1940s telephone.

Did they have really high quality phones in the 1940s or something? Because anyone who isn't completely deaf could distinguish current phone call quality from "HD audio".

Re:humans are able to perceive audio up to 20 kHz. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39164023)

WHAT!

Isn't this just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160705)

CELP anyone?

so what? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39164403)

Just means you will get throttled faster.

Until cell providers get a clue, we should not be developing new tech for their networks and instead stop sending them our money.

HD? (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39164813)

Back in my day we called it HiFi.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?