ITU receives Emmy Award for new audio broadcast standard

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is set to receive an Emmy Award from the US National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at the ongoing 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas for the “Standardization of Loudness Metering for Use in Broadcast Audio”.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is dedicated to the advancement of television broadcasting and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry.

The annual Technology and Engineering Emmy Award recognizes the ground-breaking work on the worldwide standardization of loudness metering for use in broadcast audio, which the Academy considered as outstanding and showing excellence in engineering creativity.

ITU-R Recommendation BS.1770 on “Algorithms to measure audio programme loudness and true-peak audio level” was elaborated over a decade as a result of the dedication of many specialists including Craig Todd of Dolby Laboratories, USA; Gilbert Soulodre of Communications Research Centre, Canada; and Spencer Lieng of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The standard was finalized during the last study period within ITU-R Working Party 6C under the Chairmanship of David Wood of the European Broadcasting Union. The pertinent algorithm and the agreed parameters are now contained in the ITU-R Recommendation approved by ITU Member States, giving worldwide guidance on loudness metering.

“The Emmy Award exemplifies the close relationship that ITU enjoys with its membership and partners in industry. By working together under the aegis of an intergovernmental platform we are able to develop standards that enhance the quality of ICTs and their accessibility to a worldwide audience,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré in a release.

“ITU’s pioneering work has led to many innovations in broadcast television. The ITU-R Recommendation BS.1770 on Loudness Metering in Audio Broadcasting will improve the experience of watching television for viewers worldwide as they will no longer have to adjust the volume on their sets while switching channels or watching commercials,” said François Rancy, ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau director.

There are many applications where it is necessary to measure and control the perceived ‘loudness’ of audio signals. Examples of this include television and radio broadcast applications where the nature and content of the audio material changes frequently. In these applications the audio content can continually switch between music, speech and sound effects, or some combination of these.

It can also change between various audio or audio-visual sources, for example in international programme exchange. Such changes in the content of the programme material can result in significant changes in subjective loudness, and the new standard on loudness metering will make it easier for television viewers. The matter of subjective loudness is also of great importance to the music industry where dynamic processing is commonly used to maximize the perceived loudness of a recording.