Digital Radio Update – September 6, 2006


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Index:

  • Autotech Daily: "HD Radio Set to Take Off"
  • DRM On Display at IBC 2006
  • Analog Radio Sunset Begins in UK
  • Radio Shack to Push HD Radio in NYC
  • Niles Audio Adds HD Radio to Installed Audio Line
  • Harris Offers Free HD Radio Seminars in Dallas
  • IBOC by Commomwealth: Puerto Rico
  • Noise Com Offers HD Radio Signal Generators
  • An Introduction to the New Language Surrounding HD Radio

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    News

    Autotech Daily: "HD Radio Set to Take Off"
    An online automotive trade publication says that HD Radio is poised to become a factor in the OEM auto electronics sector. Autotech Daily, an online publication of Hampton Auto Beat, cites a number of press releases from retailers like Radio Shack and industry groups like the HD Digital Radio Alliance as indicators that HD Radio has reached the point where carmakers ought to be taking notice.

    The Aug. 24 article points out that HD Radio’s biggest potential selling point in the showroom is that it offers drivers high-fidelity digital AM and FM multicasting, as well as text-based traffic and weather information, all without the recurring monthly charges associated with satellite radio services.


    DRM On Display at IBC 2006
    DRM broadcast and consumer products will be on display and demonstrated at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) being held in Amsterdam Sept. 8 to Sept. 12. On the consumer side, new receivers from Morphy Richards, Himalaya (Power) Electronics Co., and Starwaves will be on hand, with live off-air Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) demonstrations offered by the BBC.

    Items of interest to receiver manufacturers include Radioscape’s RS 500 DAB/DRM, as well as Nero AG’s DRM hardware decoder IP core solutions.

    Elsewhere at IBC 2006, DRM-capable professional products and live DRM broadcasts are being demonstrated by Digidia, Fraunhofer IIS, Transaudio Sender Systeme Berlin AG, Thomson, RIZ, Harris, Nautel, Telos/Omnia, and Radioscape.


    Business

    Analog Radio Sunset Begins in UK
    Radio listeners in Great Britain will have a tougher time replacing worn-out analog radios, as leading online electronics retailer Dixon’s will no longer stock analog-only AM/FM radios. But Curry's, Dixon’s parent company that maintains brick-and-mortar outlets in England’s major cities, will continue to offer analog radios at its walk-in outlets--at least for now.

    The move by Dixon’s is a response to a tremendous growth in sales of DAB receivers over the last three years. A Dixon’s spokesman estimated that its digital sets are outselling its analog radios by a ratio of about 30:1. That observation reflects a significant up-tick from a 2005 report by British telecommunications agency Ofcom that reported DAB devices accounted for 54 percent of sales of all portable radio’s in 2005, up from 45 percent the previous year.

    Dixon’s will continue to sell analog sets at its remaining tax-free airport stores and its shops in the Republic of Ireland where demand for them remains viable. The retailer added that personal CD players and boom boxes were also on the endangered list following the rise in popularity of Ipods and other MP3 players.


    Radio Shack to Push HD Radio in NYC
    Radio Shack is expanding a roll-out of HD Radio receivers in about 250 of the company’s nearly 350 stores in the greater New York metropolitan area. The move follows in the wake of a May announcement that the consumer electronics giant was commencing a tiered introduction of digital radio product in its outlets nationwide. The first phase included all Radio Shack stores in Dallas/Fort Worth and less than 20 pilot stores in such markets as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston and Washington, D.C. Radio Shack claims the current push in metro New York is in response to increasing customer demand for digital radio receivers spurred by growth in HD Radio content offered in that market.

    “The best way to interest customers in HD Radio is to allow them to listen to it in stores, see the type of information that is shown on the receiver’s display device and allow them to talk to knowledgeable, helpful sales associates who can actually answer their questions," said Wes Lowzinski, Radio Shack’s senior vice president, general merchandise manager. “That type of interactive engagement has Radio Shack stamped all over it. That's what we do better than anyone else."

    Radio Shack is currently offering New York customers the desktop Boston Acoustics Recepter HD digital radio in stores and online for $299.99, with plans to offer additional models in the months ahead. Customers will be exposed to in-store, online and point-of-purchase educational support backed with an on-air promotional campaign airing on HD Digital Radio Alliance-member stations HD1 and HD2 channels.


    Niles Audio Adds HD Radio to Installed Audio Line
    Niles Audio has added its new TM-HD/R HD Radio module to the company’s Intellicontrol ICS whole-house distributed audio system product line. The new module enables Intellicontrol ICS users to listen to HD Radio and multicast channels through their distributed audio system anywhere in the home, while viewing HD Radio data on the system’s wireless Iremote touchscreens and wall-mounted displays. The company claims that the new system is the first HD Radio-enabled wireless product to display HD Radio datacasting on a wireless user interface.

    The TM-HD/R module is designed specifically for use with the Intellicontrol ICS whole-house distributed audio system, a product that provides users the option to simultaneously access digital and analog radio, Sirius and XM satellite radio, Ipod, CDs, IP-based music players and other legacy audio sources in any room in the home.


    Eye on IBOC

    Harris Offers Free HD Radio Seminars in Dallas
    Broadcasters attending the NAB fall radio show in Dallas will have two opportunities to attend free seminars on HD Radio technology led by Harris. Entitled "HD Radio Transmission with Geoff Mendenhall," the sessions will focus on HD Radio transmission schemes as they apply to new HT–HD+ and ZX FM+HD transmitter lines. Mendenhall will also discuss the Harris Flexstar exciter and multi- channel HD Radio STL requirements.

    The seminars are being offered on Sept. 17 at the Doubletree Hotel Dallas and on Sept. 18 at the Houston Hobby Airport Marriott. Those interested in attending the free seminars should RSVP in advance with Lyle Garrison at 512-261-8826 or e-mail lyle.garrison@harris.com.


    IBOC Across America

    IBOC By Commonwealth: Puerto Rico

    Ibiquity has a list of stations that have licensed HD Radio technology and notes those that are on the air now. IBOC by state will look at various states and commonwealths and list the stations that are making the transition.

    MarketStationMain FormatOwner
    Puerto Rico WPRM-FM 98.5 Span/Trpcl Arso Radio Group

    Products

    Noise Com Offers HD Radio Signal Generators
    Noise Com, a telecom equipment manufacturer with divisions in the United States, Germany, France and China, has announce the introduction of its DSG 9000 series of HD Radio signal generators, specifically designed for R&D and production testing of HD Radio receivers.

    Noise Com describes the DSG 9000 series instruments as “HD Radio signal sources designed to play pre-recorded vector files that replicate various HD Radio service modes and channel configurations." The units can be configured with basic AM/FM HD Radio test vectors for simple production line testing of receivers with an optional transmitter interface, with more complex vector sets available for receiver development projects. The instrument includes a hard drive for data/setup storage and a DVD drive for update installs.

    Noise Com's DSG 9000 product line is fully certified by Ibiquity Digital.


    HD Radio Terminology

    The language surrounding HD Radio

    secondary sidebands: The sidebands to be added in the spectrum vacated by the analog signal. The secondary sidebands are divided into the secondary main (SM) sidebands containing 10 frequency partitions, secondary extended (SX) sidebands containing four frequency partitions and the secondary protected (SP) sidebands containing two groups of 12 protected subcarriers. The secondary sidebands consist of subcarriers -279 through +279.

    service access point (SAP): The interface between Layer 1 and Layer 2 at which the data from Layer 2 is formatted for delivery to Layer 1.




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