FFmpeg Introduces Native xHE-AAC Decoder

FFmpeg introduces a native xHE-AAC decoder! Most xHE-AAC streams are now supported, and updates for USAC and SBR are coming soon.

FFmpeg, a leading free and open-source multimedia framework, has announced the introduction of a native decoder for xHE-AAC (Extended High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding), marking a significant enhancement in its audio decoding capabilities.

For those unfamiliar with it, xHE-AAC is an advanced audio coding format that represents the latest evolution in the AAC and effectively supports a wide range of bit rates, from as low as six kbps to more than 500 kbps.

This new development means that FFmpeg now supports a wider array of xHE-AAC streams, though with some current limitations.

As it stands, the newly implemented decoder in FFmpeg can handle xHE-AAC streams that do not utilize Spectral Band Replication (SBR), Unified Speech and Audio Coding (USAC), or MPEG-H Surround.

However, the good news is that FFmpeg’s team has also disclosed that support for USAC and SBR is on the horizon. These features are essential for enhancing the efficiency of audio compression, especially at lower bit rates, by reusing high-frequency components to improve sound quality.

Despite these advancements, FFmpeg continues to recommend using Opus, renowned for its superior performance across both speech and music, as the preferred audio codec, particularly for applications requiring robust and versatile audio solutions.

In conclusion, integrating xHE-AAC into FFmpeg’s suite of supported codecs is a great feature, especially advantageous for streaming applications with fluctuating bandwidth.

For more information, visit the announcement.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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