By Andrzej Bialczyk, TVP
TVP Kultura HD, the Polish public television station is broadcasting the 18th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition from Warsaw, Poland (October 2nd to 23rd 2021) in Dolby Atmos 5.1.4, encoded in AC-4.
TVP Kultura in Dolby Atmos AC-4 is a free-to-air service broadcast in test Mux 5 DVB-T2/HEVC terrestrial television. The DVB-T2/HEVC digital terrestrial television standard will be launched and mandatory in Poland starting next year and replace the DVB-T standard. Polish broadcaster Emitel uses 49 DVB-T2 transmitters distributed over Poland, so the signal is already available for more than 90% of the Poland public.
The Chopin Competition is organized every 5 years by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute. It is one of the most prestigious musical events in the world. More than 500 pianists from Canada, China, Italy, Japan, Korea, Poland, Russia, the U.S.A, and other countries, have applied for the 2020 competition. After the preliminary, 87 pianists have qualified for the 3rd stage of the competition. The top 10 pianists will compete in the final. The entire competition including the inaugural concert is being held at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. The prize-winner's concert will be held at the Polish National Opera.
During the first stages of elimination the performers play only a piano solo while in the final they will be accompanied by an orchestra. TVP sound mixing engineers produce about 11 hours of content daily in Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 all of which is broadcast live by TVP Kultura. Immersive 3D sound adds a sense of height and width to the sound field and gives the music additional clarity and depth. You feel like you are there in the concert hall instead of just watching TV.
Distinguished experts and excellent educators discuss the technical performance and artistic impressions of the performances in the TV studio. Usually, TV studios broadcast in stereo. Now excerpts of the pieces presented in the TV studio are also broadcast in 5.1.4. So, there is no inconsistency for viewers and listeners when discussing the subtle details of the performance pieces. The fidelity of the sound is preserved when broadcast live.
TVP Kultura is broadcasting in three DVB-T2 high-quality audio streams simultaneously: stereo and 5.1, both Dolby Digital Plus encoded, and 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos encoded in AC-4. Stereo and 5.1 are encoded respectively with bit rates 96 kbit/s and 256 kbit/, AC-4 with 320 kbit/s. The signal is available all over Poland without any restrictions. Viewers can compare the sound and listen to their preferred format. A great advantage of listening to the audio AC-4 stream is the dialogue enhancement. Viewers can adjust the level of dialogue according to their personal preference. This feature is not available in previous DD/DD+ coding systems.
This is the first transmission of the concert by a broadcaster with 3D immersive sound Dolby Atmos encoded in AC-4.
Dolby, Telos Alliance, Emitel, and DTS Poland supported the TVP Team with their successful Dolby Atmos AC-4 broadcast.