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Digital Radio Update - November 26, 2008
IAAIS Issues Access Standards for HD Radios
The International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) has issued a set of voluntary standards for the design and manufacture of HD Radios created with the special needs of the visually and physically impaired in mind. Development of the standards marks a fresh approach to the issue, according to IAAIS HD Taskforce chairperson, David Noble, who noted that the expanded functionality of modern consumer electronic devices is rendering them unusable for a growing number of users.
Because HD radio technology is new, IAAIS believes the technology’s rollout represents a perfect opportunity to introduce a standard set that can be embraced in this new family of appliances. The announcement comes on the heels of successful NPR tests of specially designed radio receivers for the visually and hearing impaired during election-eve news coverage.
HD Radio is also seen as a perfect platform to introduce the concept, since HD Radio’s ancillary data and conditional access features can be harnessed for the development of applications designed expressly for those with disabilities.
The current IAAIS document breaks down radio functions and design into Required, Desirable, and Unacceptable categories, including Control, Display, Feedback, and Documentation. Other Considerations, such as Functionality and the use of remote controls are also addressed. Examples of desirable characteristics include speech feedback, tactile controls and larger buttons with at least 18-point print fonts, among other requirements. Unacceptable functions include touch screens, soft keys, and hard-to-find recessed buttons.
IAAIS says it plans to promote the purchase and use of accessible HD radios to provide reading services for blind or otherwise print-disabled persons, and also notes that it will not recommend or endorse any product that fails to meet the newly published standards.
The complete standards document and other information are available at www.iaais.org.
Study Suggests IBOC Adoption Window Remains Open for Now
A new study from Strategy Analytics, an independent employee-owned international research and consulting firm, suggests that the current global economic downturn might buy HD Radio a little more time for consumer acceptance, before a wave of wireless broadband applications substantially supplants traditional analog radio delivery somewhere around 2012.
In her report titled Automotive Digital Radio Market Forecast 2007-2015, analyst JoAnne Blight projects that HD Radio receive penetration could grow by about 5.3 million units shipped by 2015, while competing with slacking demand for new Sirius/XM receivers, expected to grow by about 9.5 million units during the same period.
Blight believes that tapped-out consumers may hold off a while longer before broadly adapting advanced wireless services in cars and handsets that will allow wide access to streamed wireless services. The economic slowdown may also chill new satellite radio subscription rates as free radio regains some of its allure.
The complete report is available for purchase from Strategy Analytics.
Technology and Applications
NXP Introduces SDR Technology for Consumer Radios
With the worldwide rollout of digital audio broadcasting now well underway, life after analog AM/FM will never be the same for consumer electronics makers. Despite early optimism that a global standard for digital radio broadcasting would eventually emerge, it’s become clear that the future of radio is multi-platform in nature. IBOC, DAB+, T-DMB and DRM are all likely to remain part of a mix of standards confounding a global electronic marketplace.
Over a decade ago, defense technology firms responded to similar issues regarding multi-force communication interoperability by coming up with the first Software Defined Radio designs. SDR technology takes advantage of an ongoing revolution in the design and fabrication of large scale digital signal processing (DSP), allowing engineers to create receiver hardware platforms readily adaptable to a multi-band, multi-system environment through intelligent software management.
According to a Nov. 7 article in Automotive Design Line, semiconductor maker NXP has now floated a design that brings SDR technology to the task of providing a single auto radio platform compatible with all major digital radio broadcast standards, including AM/FM HD-R, DAB/DAB+ , DRM/DRM+, as well as DMB-T.
Using a co-processor approach, NXP’s design combines a multi-standard DAB receiver with a conventional AM/FM receiver integrated with integrated IF processing and post-demodulator digital signal processing along with enhanced audio functionality. The company claims that by using this approach, it can provide a high level of cross-standard compatibility with the low power consumption and form factor essential in automotive entertainment products.
The full article, written by NXP’s Layland Key, is available at www.automotivedesignline.com.
IBOC Across America
IBOC by State: North Dakota
Ibiquity has a list of stations with licensed HD Radio technology and notes those on the air now. IBOC by state looks at various states and lists the stations making the transition. There are 8 stations in the Peace Garden State broadcasting 8 HD Radio channels.
|Bismarck, ND||KCND-FM 90.5||Variety||Prairie Public Broadcasting|
|Dickinson, ND||KDPR-FM 89.9||Variety||Prairie Public Broadcasting|
|Dickinson, ND||KDIX- AM 1230||AC/Oldies||Starrdak|
|Grand Forks, ND-MN||KUND-FM 89.3||Variety||University of North Dakota|
|Grand Forks, ND-MN||KFJM-FM 90.7||AAA||University of North Dakota|
|Jamestown, ND||KPRJ-FM 91.5||Variety||Prairie Public Broadcasting|
|Minot, ND||KMPR-FM 88.9||Variety||Prairie Public Broadcasting|
|Williston, ND||KPPR-FM 89.5||Variety||Prairie Public Broadcasting|
Eye on IBOC
No Ho-Ho-Ho for Satellite Radio
The past few weeks have not been kind to Sirius XM Radio. First there were howls of outrage echoing across the blogosphere as the newly minted monopoly reshuffled its channel offerings while trimming its programming staff in an effort to reduce expenses. Then there was SIRI stock dragging bottom at 15 cents a share.
And finally, this: a headline from Mike Elgan at datamation.com declaring unequivocally “Satellite Radio is Dead.” In his article Elgan claims that within two years the satellite radio industry will be laid out on a bier, thanks to MP3 friendly dashboards and nightstands, proliferating online content, wireless broadband onboard hip and in car, heavy corporate debt and tapped-out consumers.
Does all of this sound familiar?
Given the fact that the Christmas season is now upon us, perhaps it's time for a temporary truce in the ongoing war of terrestrial vs. satellite digital radio. As an olive branch, we earthbound broadcasters might send a Christmas card, embossed with the following message:
We feel your pain. Hope we’re all feeling better real soon.
And God Bless us, every one!
HD Radio Terminology
New Iphone App Bypasses Net Radio Middlemen
Jacobs Media says it has a new Iphone application bound to be the envy of every broadcaster that streams a signal on the Web. Unlike a gaggle of Iphone applications that give users access to Internet radio through large Web radio aggregation sites, the Jacobs application allows Iphone owners to access up to five individual streams under a single distinctive logo that appears directly on an Iphones users desktop.
What’s even more attractive is that the application connects the Iphone user directly to the station’s stream with no intermediaries. That means a given station can provide users its distinctive logo access icon with the ability to tap a main program stream as well as multicast and/or special event streams. And all with one touch convenience to station loyal listeners.
Stations can purchase the application for a one-time fee. More information is available at www.jacobsiphone.com.
HD Radio Becomes Standard on Most 2009 Volvo Models
Volvo Cars of North America is boasting it is the first automaker to offer HD Radio as standard equipment in its entire 2009 model line, with the exception of its SC 60 model, which is due for redesign later this year.
The 2009 Volvo model lineup includes the S40 and wagon counterpart V50; the XC90; the S80 luxury sedan; the V70 wagon and XC70 (Cross Country), and the C70 retractable hardtop convertible along with the C30.
The new radios are expected to begin showing up in showroom vehicles delivered early in 2009.
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