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Major Enhancement To Nero Digital As Ahead Software Announces AVC/H264 And MPEG-4 High Quality Parametric Audio Coding At CeBIT 2004About Ahead

Nero Digital to raise the barriers again in superior MPEG-4 Audio and Video

KARLSBAD, GERMANY (March 16th, 2004) -- Ahead Software have announced an upgrade to its renowned Nero Digital, taking AVC (Advanced Video Coding/H264) and AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) and to a level of performance not previously seen in any MPEG-4 audio and video compression technology.

Nero Digital Video will also be significantly enhanced with the addition of AVC/H264. In recent proven tests by the MPEG Organisation, MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding significantly outperformed the coding efficiency of previous standards including MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 Simple and Advanced Profile. Achieving bit rates of up to 4 times greater in terms of equivalent perceptual video quality is seen as a major step towards AVC becoming the next generation video standard.

Parametric Audio Coding contains a highly efficient tool to code the stereo image enabling Parametric Stereo AAC to be combined in a backwards compatible fashion with High Efficiency AAC for usage in the low bit-rate range. This can offer an increase of up to 33% in coding gain over HE-AAC permitting very high quality audio compression at the lowest bit rates.

Ahead AAC developers have created special optimizations to the existing Nero Digital HE AAC core codec that includes down sampled HE AAC mode that will provide higher quality playback for devices not supporting HE AAC but supporting LC AAC. Likewise for devices that have HE AAC integration, there will be a big improvement in the overall quality of playback.

For the first time, bit rates as low as 24kbps will be realised at a quality level surpassing HE AAC at 32kbps in many cases. Therefore in the future, using Nero applications such as Recode, full high quality transcoding to Parametric Audio Coding will be possible at the lowest of bit rates.

"Nero Digital has already achieved huge market exposure with downloads running at well over 40 million", says Klaus Bock, General Manager of Ahead Software AG, "With growing consumer electronic and mobile convergence, we firmly believe Nero Digital Parametric Audio Coding and AVC/H264 technology will have an ever-increasing role in future content distribution".

About Ahead

Ahead Software provides the most reliable CD/DVD software applications available to serve digital media markets worldwide. Since its inception in 1995, Ahead’s leading application, Nero, has built a loyal customer base of more than 120 million users world-wide.

Ahead’s award-winning flagship product Nero 6 provides an all-in-one comprehensive CD/DVD burning suite. Ahead’s product line also includes Nero Digital – audio/video technology, SIPPS™ – VoIP, and across – professional computer aided translation software. Ahead distributes its products globally through world’s leading drive manufacturers and PC makers, as well as leading world-wide retailers, online partners, and also directly to consumers at www.nero.com. Ahead Software AG is headquartered in Karlsbad, Germany, with its subsidiary Ahead Software Inc. located in Glendale, California USA.