Thomson today announced that mp3, the world’s most popular audio compression
format, goes multi-channel. Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS,
inventors of mp3, together with Thomson, co-inventors of mp3 and exclusive
licensing representative for their mp3 patents and software, and Agere Systems,
have joined to launch mp3 SURROUND into the consumer and commercial markets.
This technology will enable 5.1 channels surround-quality sound for a broad
spectrum of applications including web-based music distribution, broadcasting
systems, PC-related audiovisual or gaming applications, consumer electronics and
automotive systems. Attracting attention at several recent industry events, the
new mp3 SURROUND format has become eagerly anticipated by the vast mp3 user
community. The web site
http://www.mp3surround-format.com
now provides users immediate download
access to free mp3 SURROUND evaluation software, demo samples and detailed
technology information.

Thomson today announced that mp3, the world’s most popular audio compression
format, goes multi-channel. Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS,
inventors of mp3, together with Thomson, co-inventors of mp3 and exclusive
licensing representative for their mp3 patents and software, and Agere Systems,
have joined to launch mp3 SURROUND into the consumer and commercial markets.
This technology will enable 5.1 channels surround-quality sound for a broad
spectrum of applications including web-based music distribution, broadcasting
systems, PC-related audiovisual or gaming applications, consumer electronics and
automotive systems.

mp3 SURROUND supports high-quality multi-channel sound at bit rates
comparable to those currently used to encode stereo mp3 material, resulting in
files half the size of common compressed surround formats. At the same time, the
new format offers complete backward compatibility to any existing mp3 software
and hardware devices.

Attracting attention at several recent industry events, the new mp3 SURROUND
format has become eagerly anticipated by the vast mp3 user community. The web
site
http://www.mp3surround-format.com
now provides users immediate download
access to free mp3 SURROUND evaluation software, demo samples and detailed
technology information.

Thomson, which has partnered with Fraunhofer IIS since the codec’s launch in
1992, is adding Fraunhofer Institute’s new mp3 SURROUND technology to its
licensing program.

"The free mp3 surround evaluation software will enable everyone to test the
latest feature of the digital audio standard. We encourage music artists,
engineers and producers to experience this new multichannel audio format and
realize the benefits of its portability and backward compatibility," said Henri
Linde, Vice President, Growth Initiatives, Audio & mp3 program of the
Intellectual Property and Licensing unit for Thomson.

The evaluation encoder enables the creation of mp3 SURROUND files out of 5 or
6-channel wav material. The Fraunhofer IIS mp3 SURROUND player is capable of
decoding and playing back the surround format’s files as well as stereo mp3
material. This software-only solution runs on any standard PC with multi-channel
audio capabilities.

mp3 SURROUND was developed by Fraunhofer IIS in collaboration with Agere
Systems. Using a psychoacoustic technique called binaural cue coding, mp3
SURROUND captures the spatial image information of multi-channel sound. This
method is critical in preserving the compact file size that mp3 users expect.

"We are delighted to advance mp3 into the area of multi-channel audio, with the
help of Agere Systems. As surround sound is increasingly gaining importance in
the marketplace, we are confident that mp3 SURROUND will attract the attention
of music production professionals and consumers alike," said Juergen Herre,
Chief Executive Scientist at Fraunhofer IIS.

"Together, Fraunhofer IIS and Agere are developing technology that will
contribute to the delivery of a compelling compressed multi-channel audio
solution into the marketplace," said Peter Kroon, chief multimedia architect for
Agere’s Mobility business. "This work is part of Agere’s overall commitment to
provide advanced multimedia technology that enables consumers to stay
connected."

The evaluation period of the mp3 SURROUND encoder will expire on the 31st of
December 2005, while the Fraunhofer IIS player will continue to remain fully
functional. The use of the software is allowed for personal and non-commercial
purposes only. Professionals can license mp3 SURROUND from Thomson at
http://www.mp3licensing.com