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Handling adaptive bitrate audio streaming

Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:14 am
by orastream
In cloud-based music streaming services, the bandwidth conditions can vary dramatically over different access network technologies. As a result, current streaming services (Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Music, Deezer, Napster, others) store the same audio content at a variety of bit-rate qualities (and formats) in content origin at the server-side. In contrast, OraStream provides a one-file solution (with MPEG-4 SLS) to meet these requirements.

OraStream Connect adaptive streaming servers perform (enhanced version of) MPEG-4 SLS encoding, scalable audio truncation and delivery. They make use of the fine-grain bitrate layers (0.4 kbps increments) in MPEG-4 SLS audio to truncate and deliver scalable audio frames, responding dynamically to QoS variations in each user's (music player) network. [OraStream Connect applies patented (USPTO, EPO, Taiwan, Singapore) methods to encode and truncate scalable audio that maintain channel separation in adaptive bitrate audio streaming].

Using adaptive audio streaming, OraStream delivers bit-rate scalability for Internet audio streaming that feeds several channels of different bandwidth capacity (with variable QoS conditions).

In doing this, it is able to deliver 16-bit/24-bit resolution audio music services that take maximum advantage of bandwidth available for bit-perfect lossless audio streaming. Users need not choose between low-quality and high-quality music as adaptive streaming servers deliver the best musical experience possible in light of bandwidth availability and the (audio) source.

It can also optimize bandwidth usage through introducing service policies, such as:

1. A Fair Use provision (curb on excessive data usage) - Users can stream without bitrate caps until a specific data usage, say 10 GB per month. When a user reaches this usage limit, subsequent music streams (for the remaining service period) can be automatically limited to a bitrate cap (say, 160 kbps bitrate quality). When a new service cycle restarts, normal streaming is resumed without bitrate caps for said user.

2. Background Music mode (optimise data usage in low-volume listening) - Users may stream music in the background for extended periods. As a user lowers playback volume, say -10 dB, the streaming bitrate can be scaled down (say, to 320 kbps). As volume is reduced further, say -20 dB, streaming bitrate can commensurately reduce, say to 160 kbps. When playback volume is turned back up, streaming bitrates can then scale up to the highest audio quality possible. This provision optimises bandwidth usage for both services and consumers.

3. Mobile playback (optimise data usage for mobile environments) – Users when connected to cellular networks are likely to be (listening) in noisy environments. In such instances, streaming bitrates to cellular connections can be limited to 320 kbps or 160 kbps quality (by user or default setting).

4. Offline playback – Offline playback by storing audio in device memory is not unique. Offline playback is already offered on OraStream Connect.