Junger Audio has helped Malaysian television viewers to experience the benefits of digital television after Anugerah Juara Lagu, one of the country’s most popular shows, was broadcast live in Dolby 5.1 surround sound for the first time in its long history.
Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL) is an annual music competition that has been running on Malaysia’s TV3 channel since 1986. Public votes held every month via the Muzik Muzik programme determine the fate of various musical and lyrical compositions that have been entered in the competition. Those with the most votes eventually make it to the semi-finals where a judging panel selects the 12 best songs to take part in the finals. What makes AJL unique is that the competition honours the composers and lyricists of the songs rather than the performing artistes.
This year’s final took place at the Bukit Jalil stadium in Kuala Lumpur and was broadcast by TV3 via the MYTV digital TV platform, which is set to handle all of Malaysia’s freeview transmissions once the country moves over to digital broadcasting.
The plan to switch to digital broadcasting is tentatively scheduled for later this year, which is why TV3 wanted to run a live trial on the MYTV DVB-T2 platform. Choosing a high profile show like AJL was a brave strategy as the programme regularly pulls in audiences of over five million viewers, therefore it was imperative that all the equipment used had to be extremely reliable.
Junger Audio’s distributor JAA Systems worked closely with TV3’s parent company Media Prima Berhad to ensure that the right dynamic processing units were selected for the trial.
David Chan, head of JAA Systems, says, “During the contribution stage, we deployed a Junger Audio C8000 frame with a C8492B SDI interface, a Dolby E encoding card and Junger Audio’s proprietary Level Magic technology, which was used to control loudness and ensure that audiences received the highest possible audio quality.”
All of the programme material was sent to TV3’s MCR via a DSNG link and the 5.1+2 audio produced at the event was sent though in the Dolby E format. Once at the MCR, TV3’s own C8000 frame was used to decode the Dolby E signal into a multichannel audio stream, which was passed through the MCR for further processing.
Prior to transmission, the multichannel audio was encoded to Dolby Digital Plus using a Junger Audio D*AP 8 TAP (Television Audio Processor). It was then sent to MYTV for myFreeview transmission and viewers were able to experience native 5.1 surround sound produced locally on supported IDTVs and DVB-T2 decoders. Junger Audio’s D*AP8 TAP units were also used in TV3’s MCR to upmix 5.1 content so that viewers without multichannel audio could experience continuous surround sound in HDTV.
Imaliana Muzni, Broadcast System Engineer at Media Prima Berhad, says, “This is the first time we have broadcast a live programme of this magnitude on the MYTV DVB-T2 platform and it was a success. Thanks to the help we received from JAA Systems, Junger Audio and Dolby, we were able to test the upmix and native 5.1 production for TV3’s HD channel. It has been a great learning experience throughout the process, from production to delivery to MYTV.”
As a result of the trial, Media Prima Berhad is now planning to permanently install Junger Audio D*AP8 TAP units at its TV3 facility, in readiness for the switch to digital broadcasting. JAA Systems is also experiencing plenty of interest in Junger Audio technology from other broadcasters in the region.
“As Malaysia embarks on the transition to Digital TV, this trial gave many viewers an opportunity to experience Dolby surround sound and see for themselves the benefits it brings to their viewing and listening enjoyment. Its success will encourage more live 5.1 transmissions and productions to be conducted by broadcasters. This trial also proves the Junger Audio is a great solution for Dolby upmixing and encoding, as well as audio level and loudness control.”