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New audio standard nears green light

A new supercharged digital audio technology has taken a broad step closer to becoming part of the evolving MPEG-4 digital multimedia standard. The Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) body voted last week to finalize the specification for "aacPlus," a digital music standard based on work from a company called Coding Technologies. The recommendation still must be voted on by various national standards-setting organizations, but is now close to becoming part of the MPEG-4 audio specification.

AAC is a high-quality digital audio standard that has existed through several revisions of the MPEG group's work. The addition of the "Plus" technology allows audio files to be compressed to roughly half the size of the previously compressed file, without substantial loss in sound quality. MP3Pro, an update of traditional MP3 technology, uses this Coding Technologies technique, as do the audio signals transmitted by the XM Satellite Radio service.