mp3PRO rocks out of the box

To the delight of audiophiles everywhere, mp3PRO, the next generation audio compression format, has made its debut.

Launched by Thomson Multimedia, mp3PRO is an improved version of the popular mp3 coding-decoding (codec) format that provides improved sound and creates files that are half or less the size of original mp3 files.

In addition to its combination of more compact mp3 files and superior audio quality, mp3PRO offers backwards and forwards compatibility with mp3, enabling original mp3 files to play normally on a new mp3PRO player and mp3PRO files to play on original mp3 systems. The best audio performance is achieved when consumers both encode and decode music files in mp3PRO.

Thomson multimedia is the exclusive licensing representative of mp3 and mp3PRO patents and software of Fraunhofer IIS-A, Coding Technologies and Thomson Multimedia.

Today, mp3PRO encoder/decoder demonstration software can be downloaded from Thomson’s website (www.thomson-multimedia.com), as well as the website of Coding Technologies, www.codingtechnologies.com . This application, which is compatible with Windows 9X, 2000, NT, and Millennium, encodes .WAV files into mp3PRO files at 64 kbps and plays back all mp3 and mp3PRO files. Availability of other mp3PRO software products supporting other mp3PRO bit rates and mp3PRO-compatible portable devices is expected later.

Coinciding with Thomson’s introduction of the downloadable mp3PRO software, integration work for popular PC based players and jukebox products of current mp3 licensees and for several Thomson and RCA hardware products has started. In addition, the mp3 licensing division of Thomson multimedia has embarked on a program designed to introduce mp3PRO capabilities across the audio hardware and online sectors.

Developed by Coding Technologies, mp3PRO uses both Coding Technologies’ codec enhancement technology and the pioneering work in the field of perceptual audio coding covered under the basic mp3 patents owned by Thomson and Fraunhofer.

When making an mp3Pro file, the new mp3PRO encoder splits audio recordings in two. One part of the new files contains all the information found in ordinary mp3 recordings to maintain complete compatibility with original version players. At the same time, new or upgraded players supporting mp3PRO will tap into another stream that holds high audio frequencies, putting them together to make a higher-quality sound.

Offering 128kbs performance at a 64kbs-encoding rate, mp3PRO doubles the digital music capacity of flash memory and of compact discs. For example, traditional audio CDs hold 15 songs, and an mp3 CD today holds up to 150 songs.

In the near future, mp3PRO will allow consumers to store over 300 songs on an mp3PRO Compact Disc. Using advanced psychoacoustic techniques and music structure analysis, mp3PRO creates files that are twice (or more) as compact as original mp3 files, with equal or better sound quality, along with backwards and forwards compatibility.