Research & Development

What we're doing

The development of a flexible audio format capable of containing data which represents audio scenes in a way that allows these representations to be recreated using a wide variety of reproduction systems. The development of format agnostic production methods for typical BBC productions.

Why it matters

Historically the audio broadcast chain was designed around a pre-defined listening set up and environment; stereo speakers in a quiet environment. Our audiences are no longer consuming content in this way, the ways of listening to music are diverging (think mobile phones, tablets, headphones, stereo, 5.1 surround etc.). The BBC need to be able to cater for these audiences needs in a cost effective way. This research is intended to establish a future audio format which contains the data to drive this multitude of different listening devices.

Our goals

  • To define an open, flexible production exchange format to allow the exchange of content between producers.
  • To develop this into a format which can be delivered to the home in an efficient way.
  • To understand the potential changes and impact required of typical BBC productions in order to represent audio in this format.

How it works

Unlike existing formats such as stereo or 5.1 surround sound, a future audio format would be abstracted from the listening system, using a combination of scene description data and audio data, for example audio files accompanied by data describing their position in space or movement.


  • Identification of required metadata relevant to production.
  • Inclusion of this metadata in format specification.
  • Recognition and/or endorsement of this specification as part of the relevant international standards and recommendations

Related links

BBC R&D blog - Pinocchio

This project is part of the Immersive and Interactive Content section

This project is part of the Audio Research work stream


People & Partners

Project Team