Digital Concert Hall
Type of site
|Owner||Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra|
The Digital Concert Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is a website which transmits the concerts of the Berlin philharmonic orchestra to the internet for registered users to access on demand.
The Digital Concert Hall was founded at the end of 2008.  The Berlin Philharmonic has done pioneering work by establishing this institution. From 2008 to 2016, Deutsche Bank was the main sponsor of the Digital Concert Hall.
The institution has been awarded the LeadAward 2009 in gold in the category 'WebTV', the DMMA OnlineStar 2009 in bronze, and numerous other awards.
Around 40 Berlin Philharmonic concerts per year are transmitted by the Digital Concert Hall from the Berlin Philharmonie and can be streamed live in high-definition video and excellent audio quality. In addition, after a few days' post-processing, the concerts can be accessed in the concert archive of the Digital Concert Hall. The comprehensive archive consists of recent concerts, mostly directed by Sir Simon Rattle, but also older performances such as 1990s concerts with Claudio Abbado. Concerts from other venues, for instance the "Waldbühne" (Berlin's open-air stage), or a series of "Europakonzerte", are also included. 
Moreover, there are documentaries such as the film Rhythm Is It! which deals with a group of Berlin youths and their efforts to realise parts of the ballett "Le sacre du printemps" by Strawinky in cooperation with the Berlin Philharmonic, the documentary "Trip to Asia", contributions from the educational program of the Berlin Philharmonic, plus interviews with conductors or soloists.
The documentaries, Education contributions or interviews are usually free of charge, whereas the Philharmonic concerts must be paid for. There are several different ticket options for Digital Concert Hall access: the 7-Day, 30-Day and the 12-Month Ticket. During the given period, the user is entitled to watch as many concerts as he or she wishes. Lastly, there is also a monthly subscription which is automatically extended unless one cancels the arrangement. Tickets are also available as gift vouchers.
Since July 2014, the archive of the Digital Concert Hall also contains a collection of archived concerts from the 1960s and early 1970s in which the orchestra is led by Herbert von Karajan, then the chief conductor. In this way, one can also directly compare different interpretations of certain pieces, which serves to illustrate the changes in conducting over the last decades.
To capture the moving images during the concerts, seven high-definition video cameras have been installed above the orchestra's stage in the Berlin concert hall. These cameras, as well as the microphones, can be operated by remote control.
The audio is transmitted at a rate of 256 Kilobit per second, the code corresponds to stereo Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) at 48 Kilohertz. The coding corresponds to the H.264 standard (see below). The quality is automatically and instantaneously selected from five qualities offered:
- Very high: 2.5 MBit/s
- High: 2.1 MBit/s
- Medium: 1.5 MBit/s
- Low: 1.1 MBit/s
- Very low: 0,7 MBit/s
The transmitted concerts can be played with all usual web browsers with two loudspeakers, by Smart TV sets and Blu-ray players with the appropriate equipment, by mobile devices or by streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.
From 1 January 2017, there will be a collaboration between the Berlin Phil Media GmbH (BPM), responsible for the orchestra's media productions, and the Panasonic Corporation. Panasonic will supply audio-visual technologies to prepare the Digital Concert Hall for 4K/HDR video and hi-resolution audio.
- Website of the Digital Concert Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic
- Free Concert: Sir Simon Rattle conducts Beethoven's symphonies No. 4 and 7
- Wolfram Goertz: Digital Concert Hall - Die digitale Philharmonie (in German), www.rp-online.de, 15 December 2008 (called on 27 February 2012)
- tickets etc.; concert-archive (composers alphabetically ordered; called at 20 Nov. 2013)
- Die Digital Concert Hall im Überblick - Die Technik, in German, www.zeit.de (called 27 February 2012)
- Technical (and other) questions - e.g.: What audio & video formats are used to broadcast the concerts?, digitalconcerthall.com, called at 6;Jan. 2016