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IBOC Update - Sept. 21, 2005
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Canadian Satellite Radio Survives Challenge
It appears now that Canadians will have the opportunity to sign on with satellite radio providers, but may consequently wind up without access to a proposed terrestrial radio service, as a political challenge to new satellite services was sidelined by that nation's parliament on Sept. 9.
After what three Canadian Ministers of Parliament (MPs) termed a careful review of dissenting petitions, the Government of Canada upheld the CRTC's licensing of Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR) and Sirius Canada to operate satellite radio subscription services there.
Five petitions requesting reconsideration of the license grants had raised concerns about the amount of Canadian and French-language content that would become available on satellite radio. The licenses required the satellite carriers to provide only 10 percent content of Canadian origin, and only 2.5 percent to be broadcast in French.
A recent request by CSR and Sirius Canada for the CRTC to amend their licenses to virtually double the percentage of Canadian and French-language programming offered seems to have played a pivotal role in the government's decision. The proactive move by the satellite providers may have mitigated some of the cultural backlash emanating from eastern Canadian provinces, giving MP's the opportunity to back away from intervening in the CRTC decision.
In addition, the CRTC agreed to hold a public review of the license amendments, thus enabling Canadians to express their views on issues such as the impact of new technology on Canadian content and consumer choice.
In what appears to be an unforeseen consequence of the government's acquiescence to the new satellite services, CHUM/Astral Media has subsequently announced that it may indefinitely delay or even cancel the planned launch of its national, terrestrial-based subscription radio service, even though the CRTC has already granted the group's request for a license. Company representatives say that a decision to scuttle the plan would be based on a competition glut brought on by the pending entry of Sirius and CRS into the national radio market.
IBOC Translators Could Debut Soon
Non-commercial FM broadcasters struggling with the question of how to distribute their HD Radio hybrid signals through numerous translators may soon have an answer, according to inside reports from a few transmitter manufacturers.
Recent postings in a public radio engineering mail list indicate that several transmitter makers, including Crown, Larcan and Armstrong are developing what are being dubbed as "pass-through" translators that are able to satisfactorily reproduce FM HD Radio signals with little reprocessing of the digital signal component required.
Whether such translators can be produced economically is a major concern to many public radio outlets that rely on translators to bring their signals to geographically isolated communities and rural districts while operating under severe budgetary restraints. In some case, these translator webs can be extensive.
Sources within the manufacturing arena provided little in the way of specific technical detail, but there is speculation that demodulation of the hybrid IBOC digital may not be required to produce a satisfactory translator output if highly linear design techniques are employed. Some reports speculate that operable prototypes may be demonstrated as early as this coming January.
SRS Demonstrates Circle Surround at CEDIA
During the CEDIA Expo, HD Radio held an invitation-only event at Emmis Communications' headquarters in downtown Indianapolis, where the featured demonstration was a live broadcast of SRS Circle Surround encoded material that was decoded through the Yamaha RX-V4600 to the CEDIA crowd, press, OEMs and other attendees.
Circle Surround is a multichannel encode and decode system capable of supporting a wide range of surround sound creation and playback applications. It can encode up to 6.1 channels of audio for transmission or storage over two output channels or standard two-channel carriers.
CEDIA is the Custom Electronic and Design Installation Association and the CEDIA Expo is a convention for the residential electronic systems industry.
More Automakers to offer Ipods
Buyers of Audi, Volkswagen and Honda cars will soon have an Apple on their option menu, according to the makers of the ubiquitous Ipod audio player. Speaking at a recent press event in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs boasted that the company's Ipod player will become available as a factory option in about 30 percent of all 2006 car models available to consumers in the United States. Audi, Volkswagen and Honda will join 15 other auto manufacturers already supporting the option.
In exchange for the added sticker price, new car buyers will enjoy the convenience of having their Ipods fully integrated with the car audio system, with access jacks mounted in a glove box or center console. Honda and its Acura division even plan to offer a text and speech interface to allow drivers to manage playlists while operating the vehicle. Jobs estimates that about five million cars will be sold with the Ipod option in the coming model year.
Ibiquity Certifies Audemat-Aztec FM IBOC Monitor
Ibiquity Digital has certified Audemat-Aztec's Golden Eagle HD radio monitoring system as fully compliant with HD Radio standards. The Golden Eagle HD FM monitors quality and continuity of analog and digital parameters in FM HD Radio hybrid transmission systems. The device provides monitoring of QI, SNR, DAAI, SIS, RDS, analog audio levels and analog RF level. It also provides decoding functionality for secondary programming services (SPS) and measures time and level alignment to facilitate digital and analog audio blend optimization. The Golden Eagle HD includes an embedded Web server for remote monitoring via TCP/IP connectivity.
HD Radio takes Center Stage at NAB Radio Show
Visitors to the Ibiquity Digital booth at the NAB Radio show have lot to see and do. Among the attractions offered to IBOC-savvy convention goers will be a bevy of HD Radio receivers, live multicast and data demonstrations, and a cover-to-cover peek at the new HD Radio Playbook. In addition, Ibiquity executives will be featured in three conference sessions focused on the promotion and deployment of HD Radio technology. On display in the Ibiquity's booth:
But the IBOC digital action won't be confined to the Ibiquity booth. HD Radio systems and applications will also be featured at the booths of Broadcast Electronics, Harris, Radiosophy and Traffic.com.
There will also be three sessions on HD Radio held in the Pennsylvania Convention Center:
For more information on HD Radio relate events at the NAB Radio Show, go to the Ibiquity website at www.ibiquity.com.
Eye on IBOC
Digital Radio Marketing Lessons From Abroad
American broadcasters are not alone in trying to chart their way across the digital radio straits. A recent article in the British industry journal Media Week offers some clues on how Europe is addressing the task. Listed below are a few of the suggestions with salience for digital broadcasting on our side of the Atlantic.
IBOC Across America
|WBTN-FM 94.3||Cls/Nws/Inf||Bennington||Vermont Public Radio||No||No|
|WVPS-FM 107.9||Cls/Nws/Inf||Burlington-Plattsburgh, VT-NY||Vermont Public Radio||No||No|
|WNCH-FM 88.1||Classical||Lebanon-Rutland-White River Junction, NH-VT||Vermont Public Radio||No||No|
|WRVT-FM 88.7||Cls/Nws/Inf||Lebanon-Rutland-White River Junction, NH-VT||Vermont Public Radio||No||No|
|WVPR-FM 89.5||Cls/Nws/Inf||Lebanon-Rutland-White River Junction, NH-VT||Vermont Public Radio||No||No|
|WVPA-FM 88.5||Cls/Nws/Inf||Montpelier-Barre-Waterbury||Vermont Public Radio||No||No|
HD Radio Terminology
OFDM subcarrier: A narrowband PSK or QAM-modulated carrier within the allocated channel, which, taken together with all OFDM subcarriers, constitute the frequency domain representation of one OFDM symbol.
Reference subcarrier: Dedicated OFDM subcarrier modulated with the SCCH data. There are as many as 61 reference subcarriers depending on the mode (for FM) and as many as four for AM.
New Information on Motorola's Iradio Project
More details regarding the pending introduction of Motorola's Iradio project surfaced at a Las Vegas technology conference last week. Speaking before a group of technology analysts, Motorola marketing spokesperson David Ulmer gave more insight about his company's attempt to cash in on the growing popularity of podcasting and programmable MP3 player technology.
In a challenge to the Ipod, as well as satellite and terrestrial radio providers, Motorola's Iradio service will permit users to download 10 hours of custom radio programming from content providers anywhere on the Internet for about $7 a month. Ulmer said his company has already signed a number of agreements with radio syndication houses and networks that will become part of the provider portfolio, dubbed "Ilike Radio."
In addition to downloaded broadcasts, consumers will also be able to load and play their own MP3 files.
According to Ulmer, one key to the system's appeal will be a Bluetooth interface that allows wireless upload of programming through the consumer's home PC and wireless high quality playback through home and car audio systems equipped with a Bluetooth adapter. He also noted that Motorola will eventually make its entire handset line compatible with the system, and will offer the service through a number of national wireless service providers.
Motorola made a preliminary introduction of the technology earlier this year, but the company says a formal launch is now planned for the Consumer Electronics Show scheduled for Las Vegas in January.
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