WOWOW and MQA show HD video playback with the highest quality sound

Friday, October 25th, 2019
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Japan’s WOWOW + MQA Collaborate On World First Demo

  • Hi-res audio meets HD video

LONDON/TOKYO — WOWOW, Japan’s leading premium pay TV broadcaster, is harnessing MQA’s award-winning audio technology to showcase HD video playback with the highest quality sound. The first demonstration took place at a press event hosted at WOWOW’s Tokyo offices on 24 October; this will be followed by a full demonstration at Inter BEE trade show on 15 November in Tokyo.

MQA founder Bob Stuart, commented, “With our partners at WOWOW we’ve been exploring the feasibility of delivering video with MQA audio and our experiments have succeeded. We’re bringing the unique aspects of MQA – clarity, smaller file sizes and backward compatibility – to deliver the best quality audio alongside HD video. This development holds exciting possibilities for the international broadcasting sector.”

Hideo Irimajiri, senior expert, engineering division and project lead at WOWOW, added, “We’ve been conducting these trials with a view to integrating MQA into our services in the future, including on-demand and live broadcasting. It makes no sense that audio quality still lags behind, while video is achieving higher definition with 4k and 8k resolution display. Due to transmission bandwidth limitations, the audio element has until now been problematic, however MQA’s technology – which achieves high-resolution transmission with normal 48k sampling audio – solves this problem. Most importantly, we have proven that great sound is essential to fully convey emotion.”

While the mainstream consumer is used to a constantly improving visual experience, the audio element has too often been an afterthought. MQA’s technology enables the highest quality playback of the original recording on all devices – from smartphones to high-end home audio systems, as well as cars.

At Inter BEE 2018, MQA’s real-time encoding capability was demonstrated to Japanese audiences for the first time. A live audio performance from acclaimed jazz musicians, Eriko Shimizu and Mabumi Yamaguchi, was streamed in real time in MQA quality from Onkio Haus Studio to different locations throughout the show. MQA’s versatility is further reinforced by its adoption across multiple audio formats, beyond streaming and downloads to include MQA-CD, which has been particularly well received in Japan where demand for CDs remains high. Earlier this year, the widespread application of MQA earned it a special award from the “HiVi Grand Prix” judging committee, which recognises excellence in the world of audio-visual products.