PlayBox Technology Expands Audio Versatility of AirBox by integrating SurCode for Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby E

Thursday, March 5, 2015

PlayBox Technology announces a major expansion to the audio capabilities of its AirBox broadcast playout solution with the addition of Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby-E encoding and decoding.

"Dolby Digital has been an integral feature of AirBox for many years," comments Don Ash, PlayBox Technology Managing Partner and Director, Sales. "Large screen television displays, typically 55 inches and above, are becoming increasingly popular among home television viewers which in turn is creating strong interest in high-quality television sound. This demand will be further accelerated by the rapidly falling price of 4K home television receivers with internal upscalers.”

"AirBox with SurCode for Dolby Digital Plus encoding and decoding enables broadcasters and playout facilities to deliver cinema-style 5.1-channel surround sound,  while reliably and easily maintaining high quality at more efficient bit rates without the expense or rack-room clutter involved when using external hardware codecs. The encoded stream is fully compatible with all Dolby Digital decoders."

Dolby E makes the transition to multichannel sound easier by providing the ability to distribute up to eight channels of audio, plus metadata and timecode, via the existing stereo channels (AES/EBU) available on conventional digital video tapes, video servers, communication links, switchers, and routers.

Unlike some other Dolby technologies, the Dolby E signal never reaches the home viewer. Rather, it is decoded back to baseband audio just prior to the transmitter and then re-encoded into the final audio format, such as Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus.

The Dolby E encoding system is ideal for the production and broadcast of live events because it facilitates the contribution of multichannel audio from the event back to the broadcast centre. The system has been used in the broadcast coverage of professional sports and live music shows. A single Dolby E stream can carry surround-sound plus two additional tracks which can be used for a stereo mix or a foreign language version, or as specialised tracks such as those for the visually impaired.

With Dolby E, audio can be repeatedly encoded and decoded throughout the broadcast chain without discernible loss of audio quality.

Dolby E enables the simple contribution of multichannel audio for live events and provides frame-accurate audio to ensure effortless switching, editing, encoding, and decoding.

Designed and produced by PlayBox Technology, AirBox is a content playout and streaming system which can be used both in SD and HD. Capable of manual or 24/7 unattended operation, it can be connected easily to third-party devices. AirBox supports a multitude of media containers and is compatible with a vast variety of compression type.

Changes to the AirBox playlist can be made while on air. Every listed clip except the one which is currently playing can be trimmed, edited or repositioned. Playlist order can be changed on-the-fly with commands such as skip-to-next or jump. Order changes are performed seamlessly without interrupting the current playout session. Live productions are controlled via a Live Show Clipboard which allows insertion and/or execution of various events or live streams.

About Minnetonka Audio Software

An award-winning solutions provider for motion picture, video, broadcast, game, and optical disc production, Minnetonka Audio Software ( creates essential technology for the world's top media professionals. Its revolutionary AudioTools Server is the file-based software alternative to hardware programme optimisers, bringing expert audio automation to existing media production infrastructures. The AudioTools Server and SurCode  product lines support the full array of audio codecs, file types, and standards for CD, DVD, BD, broadcast, and digital television. The company is the leading provider of professional OEM audio solutions as well as file-based QC and loudness control. Spanning more than two decades of operation, the Minnesota-based company has a subsidiary in Germany and an international network of distributors and channel partners who share its commitment to quality and service.