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An Introduction to the New Language Surrounding HD Radio
Study: Global Market for Digital Radio Receivers Up
The market demand for terrestrial and satellite digital radio receivers could hit 22 million units by the year 2009, according to a report entitled "Digital Radio: Turning Up the Volume on Satellite and Terrestrial Radio Adoption." The report, complied by Research and Markets, predicts that strong growth in the combined market of digital satellite and terrestrial radio worldwide will stem from new and compelling content, data services, price erosion for digital radio receivers and digital radio provider partnerships with new car manufacturers.
The authors note that while satellite radio is driving the digital radio market in the United States, terrestrial DAB is driving it other countries, most notably in the UK. Launches of Digital Multimedia Broadcast (DMB) services in Japan and Korea, along with increased promotional activity in Singapore, Australia and Taiwan over the next year, are predicted to ramp up digital radio shipments in Asia.
The report also suggests that 600 U.S. AM and FM stations will broadcast with HD Radio technology by the end of 2005, and that XM is expected to accumulate more than 6 million subscribers by the end of 2005, while Sirius will surpass the 3 million mark.
Commercial-free radio ranks as the top reason for purchasing a satellite radio, with 54 percent of surveyed satellite radio owners citing it.
"Digital Radio: Turning Up the Volume on Satellite and Terrestrial Radio Adoption" includes analysis of major international digital radio markets, forecasts for U.S. satellite radio subscribers, and for digital radio units sold worldwide through 2009, segmented by region. It also contains the results of a survey of U.S. consumers on digital radio, along with profiles of digital radio IC vendors. More information on the report is available at www.reasearchand markets.com/reports/c30662.
NAB, RIAA Parlay on HD Radio Copy Flag
In an attempt to resolve the ongoing controversy over digital broadcast copy protection, NAB President David K. Rehr recently tendered an open letter requesting RIAA Chair Mitch Bainwol to help broadcasters develop a solution to HD Radio content control questions.
In his letter, Rehr says that although NAB believes that HD Radio's potential for music piracy has been overestimated by the music industry, he and his organization stands ready to work with the RIAA to achieve a "mutually acceptable resolution of this issue."
Industry observers say the move was made because an RIAA proposal to control digitally broadcast content by requiring encryption of digital audio at its source, might temporarily derail HD Radio's rollout--a potentially mortal wound for a technology straining for public awareness midst a tidal wave of digital audio content. The letters preceded congressional hearings on the issue in which a consensus appears to be building for the establishment of a federal advisory commission on digital radio. This group will be charged with developing safeguards to prevent the proliferation of parsed and copied digitally broadcast audio protected under copyright. Such a commission, as envisioned in draft legislation, would be composed of representatives from the recording, broadcast, consumer electronics and IT industries.
In response to Rehr's letter, Bainwol said that his organization understood NAB's position that "encryption at the source is not a...viable option at this point and therefore, [we] support working with [NAB] to implement a broadcast flag solution for digital over-the-air radio."
An earlier draft of the HD Radio Copyright Protection Act (HDRCPA) provides a framework regarding the functionality RIAA seeks in a "digital flag" solution to the copyright question. According to one version of that bill's draft text, an acceptable HD Radio "flag" would:
...not permit the redistribution, retransmission or other exporting of recorded material from the device by digital outputs or removable media.
Broadcasters have generally been opposed to the idea of a digital flag on HD Radio content because it adds yet another wrinkle into an already complex set of issues slowing rollout of the technology.
No word yet on when the first meetings between the two organizations will take place or when the still-hypothetical federal commission might be named.
Business Week: XM, Sirius Inspire Competition
Radio content is suddenly a hot ticket--and satellite radio is the reason. At least that's what author Olga Khalif opines in a Jan. 13 Business Week article entitled "Everyone's Aiming at Satellite Radio." The story attributes satellite radio's high profile in the popular media as the inspiration behind a deluge of innovative competition, including HD Radio's rollout.
"Rival technologies and services are popping up all over," Khalif said, and "the competition for ears will be deafening."
The article points to new offerings from non-traditional radio delivery sources such as Motorola's Iradio, Qualcom's Media Flo and Sprint/Nextel's Mspot Radio as evidence that corporate America has radio on the brain.
Meanwhile, broadcast radio, satellite radio's original target, is fighting back with its own digital platform: HD Radio. And rumors that Apple may come up with an HD compatible platform for it's Itune product indicates that some new players in the covergence marketplace are taking that technology seriously.
What this all means, said Khalif, is that the future of satellite radio may be somewhat less than steller. To prove her point, she cites Pacific Coast Securities Analyst Chad Bartley and SG Cowen's Tom Watts, both of whom are questioning whether satellite radio's current growth rate can be sustained under an onslaught of new distribution channels.
One problem facing satellite operators is the fact that only one of them, XM, is expected to move into the black by the end of 2007. If growth slows significantly during that time, profitability could remain elusive as programming and promotion costs mount in the face of intense competition.
DAB and T-DMB Rollout Continues in South Korea
The rollout of Digital Multimedia Broadcast (DMB) services, a mixture of TV, data and radio services based on the Eureka 147 DAB platform, is pacing well in the Republic of South Korea, the first country to approve implementation of the technology with a launch in Seoul area late in 2005. During the past 24 months, SomerData, a UK-based firm, reports that it has supplied a range of record, replay and monitoring products for DAB and DMB to Korean national broadcasters and consumer electronics manufacturers.
T-DMB multiplexes aimed at mobile handsets are currently operated by DMB service providers that include Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and the 24-hour news station YTN.
Receiver manufacturers such as Hyundai Motors, Pantek & Curitel, LG Electronics and Samsung are developing in-car, portable and handset receivers for the new service. An estimated 22,000 mobile devices have already been sold in Seoul, with sales of two million expected by the end of 2006.
Other key areas of interest for T-DMB are Germany, France and the UK, where trials of this multimedia enhancement of the existing DAB network are currently running or are planned for 2006. Germany and Korea are expected to expand their T-DMB services to broadcast 2006 FIFA World Cup matches to mobile devices.
Broadcast Electronics Adds to HD Radio Seminar Offerings
Broadcast Electronics (BE) is adding two new dates and venues to its HD Radio "Learn and Earn" seminar series. The two additions are scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 28 in San Francisco and Thursday, March 2, in Washington, DC.
The seminars will feature comprehensive sessions presented by company engineers Richard Hinkle, vice president engineering and technical services, and Jerry Westberg, who is principal engineer. John Bisset, BE's NE regional RF sales manager, is also scheduled to present field reports and case studies of the latest technological developments.
Consulting engineers attending the seminars will receive a certificate of participation and posting on the BE website as resources for those seeking HD Radio qualified engineering services.
The Learn and Earn seminars are offered at no charge, but advance registration is required. More information is available via e-mail addressed to email@example.com.
Eye on IBOC
HD Radio Alliance Touts Multicast Format Picks
Members of the freshly-forged HD Radio Alliance have gone public with their selections for FM digital multicast format selections in 28 markets nationwide. With more than 250 multicast signals now planned or on the air, one might think that the temptation to target in-market competition with a second program stream would be unbearable for the nine large groups involved, many of which go toe-to-toe on a daily basis.
But Alliance members Beasley, Bonneville, CBS, Citadel, Clear Channel, Cumulus, Emmis, Entercom and Greater Media say that avoiding overlapping existing formats in any given market is exactly what they want to avoid.
According to Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis Communication, the process was less difficult than it appeared. "It really hasn't been difficult at all. We beta tested format selections for side channels with both alliance and non-alliance members a few months back and were delighted at how many unserved niches and format offerings programming directors came up with. The selection process for both the beta test and actual markets has gone incredibly smoothly, mainly because broadcast companies and their programmers have treated these side channels as an opportunity to provide listeners with the kind of diverse programming that many think is limited to pay radio. New, free format choices. That has a lot of potential to fuel interest in HD Radio receivers."
That sentiment has echoed across the alliance, where niche formats that formerly languished for lack of advertiser sex appeal have been rolled out with gusto by programmers itching to show off their creativity. How about a disco reprise? Or opera? Or classic rock with playlists four thousand songs deep? Those are just some of the offerings in store for consumers willing to shell out money for an HD Radio receiver–and many will be commercial free.
But the enthusiasm with which press releases are flying out of alliance member's corporate headquarters is apparently not being matched with rising anxiety levels among corporate officials at satellite purveyors Sirius and XM, where one executive says his company sees only "...more circling wagons from a traditional radio industry that has clearly lost touch with its audience."
IBOC Across America
IBOC By State: Washington
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 list the stations that are making the transition.
|KNWR-FM 90.7||Clscl/News||Ellensburg||Washington State University||No||No|
|KLWS-FM 91.5||News||Moses Lake||Washington State University||No||No|
|KFAE-FM 89.1||Clscl/News||Richland-Kennewick-Pasco||Washington State University||No||No|
|KBKS-FM 106.1||AC||Seattle-Tacoma||CBS Radio||Yes||Yes|
|KBSG-FM 97.3||Oldies||Seattle-Tacoma||Entercom Communications||Yes||No|
|KCMS-FM 105.3||ChrsContemp||Seattle-Tacoma||Crista Ministries||Yes||No|
|KDDS-FM 99.3||Span/Mexcn||Seattle-Tacoma||Bustos Media||No||No|
|KFMY-FM 97.7||Clsc Hits||Seattle-Tacoma||South Sound Broadcasting||No||No|
|KING-FM 98.1||Classical||Seattle-Tacoma||Classic Radio||Yes||No|
|KISW-FM 99.9||Rock||Seattle-Tacoma||Entercom Communications||Yes||No|
|KJR-AM 950||Sports||Seattle-Tacoma||Clear Channel Radio||No||No|
|KJR-FM 95.7||Clsc Hits||Seattle-Tacoma||Clear Channel Radio||Yes||No|
|KMPS-FM 94.1||Country||Seattle-Tacoma||CBS Radio||Yes||No|
|KMTT-FM 103.7||Adult Rock||Seattle-Tacoma||Entercom Communications||Yes||No|
|KNDD-FM 107.7||Alternative||Seattle-Tacoma||Entercom Communications||Yes||No|
|KPLU-FM 88.5||Jazz||Seattle-Tacoma||Pacific Lutheran University||Yes||Yes|
|KQBZ-FM 100.7||Talk||Seattle-Tacoma||Entercom Communications||Yes||No|
|KRWM-FM 106.9||Soft AC||Seattle-Tacoma||Sandusky||Yes||Yes|
|KUBE-FM 93.3||CHR||Seattle-Tacoma||Clear Channel Radio||Yes||No|
|KUOW-FM 94.9||News/Info||Seattle-Tacoma||University of Washington||Yes||Yes|
|KWJZ-FM 98.9||Smooth Jazz||Seattle-Tacoma||Sandusky||No||No|
|KWPZ-FM 106.5||ChrsContemp||Seattle-Tacoma||Crista Ministries||No||No|
|KZOK-FM 102.5||Clsc Rock||Seattle-Tacoma||CBS Radio||Yes||Yes|
|KDNA-FM 91.9||Spn/Edu/PbS||Yakima||Northwest Communities Educational Center||No||No|
|KNWY-FM 90.3||Clscl/News||Yakima||Washington State University||No||No|
HD Radio Terminology
An introduction into the language surrounding IBOC.
OFDM symbol: Time domain pulse of duration Ts, representing all the active subcarriers and containing all the data in one row from the interleaver and system control data sequence matrices.
Supplemental Program Service (SPS): The Supplemental Program Service provides for the option of multiplexing additional programs with the MPS. The SPS includes Supplemental Program Service Audio (SPSA) and may also include Supplemental Program Service Data (SPSD).