Happy New Year everyone! "But not everyone is ready to predict that terrestrial digital radio can compete effectively in the U.S. market against satellite digital radio." The question instead should be, is it capable of competing against analog-only terrestrial radio? I don't think satellite radio has the same overwhelming hold on the US buying public that pay-TV has, so I think that comparing HD Radio with just satellite radio is incorrect and incomplete. The correct question is whether it can become the sort of ubiquitous appliance that AM/FM radios are. That is most in the hands of the radio stations and how well they use their new tool. Some, over in this market, are doing a great job. Also, the perfromance and cost of the radios. I really miss HD radio in the car, now. "'HD Radio does not have commercial-free content or breadth of coverage like satellite radio,' said Frank Dickson, chief research officer at MultiMedia Intelligence. 'You also have to separate the satellite radio companies from the transmission medium.'" And one has to disabuse oneself of the notion that satellite radio will continue to be commercial free, or that HD Radio necessarily isn't. As of now, there are commercial-free subchannels on HD Radio, although long term, I would predict that won't last (as it won't in satellite radio). "The satellite radio players say that they are content aggregators first, distributors second. 'This means they will license to Internet, mobile or any other distribution [medium],' Dickson said." Exactly the same applies to each HD Radio station or station group. Bert -------------------------------------- Terrestrial digital radio goes mobile Junko Yoshida (12/31/2007 1:49 PM EST) URL: http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=205205995 New York - The U.S. digital radio market is far from settled. The merger of rival satellite services Sirius and XM is still pending, iPod and MP3 players are proliferating, and Internet radio is fast becoming a viable option. Now iBiquity, a developer of free-over-the-air terrestrial digital radio broadcast systems, is pushing HD Radio. IBiquity is neither content owner nor broadcaster; rather, its technology lets radio stations simulcast compressed digital audio and traditional analog audio without shifting to new frequency bands. As of today, according to iBiquity, 1,500 HD Radio stations are on the air, with 700 offering new FM multicast channels exclusively to HD Radio listeners, subscription-free. IBiquity hopes to gain exposure for the concept at the Consumer Electronics Show, which opens Jan. 7 in Las Vegas. The company and its partners will demonstrate new HD Radio features at CES, including an "iTunes tagging" offering that it says will make it easier to purchase music, while unveiling chips and reference designs developed to let HD Radio go mobile in portable devices as well as car radio. Among the new IC offerings is Samsung's HD Radio chip set, consisting of an RF-IF peripheral processor and a baseband processor and billed as the first low-power solution for portable HD Radio. Not to be outdone, fabless chip company SiPort (Santa Clara, Calif.) will demonstrate a single-chip HD Radio solution at CES that integrates the RF, baseband, memory, ADC and PLL. SiPort's chip, now in production-silicon form, will show up in commercial portable products by the third quarter, Sid Agrawal, SiPort's CEO, told EE Times. IBiquity, which has been a CES regular for the past several years, believes the HD Radio infrastructure is finally in place to propel terrestrial digital radio's market penetration. A year ago, there were only 20 unique HD Radio products on the market, most notably a JVC car radio that sold for about $199. "Today, we have more than 60 unique HD Radio receivers, whose prices start as low as $99 and [scale] upward to $199," said Robert Struble, president and CEO of iBiquity. The company claims that HD Radio coverage reaches 80 percent of the population. For their part, digital satellite radio services have been growing their subscription base: Sirius reported 7.7 million subscribers as of September, and XM touts nearly 8.6 million subscribers. But the satellite services continue to rack up financial losses, largely as a result of expensive deals to sign up high-end talent (such as Oprah Winfrey, Bob Dylan and Major League Baseball on XM, and Howard Stern and the National Football League games on Sirius). Despite its latecomer status, HD Radio has potential, thanks to its free-over-the-air broadcast business model. HD technology enables multicast channels of programming, broadcast over a single FM frequency, which increases listener choice. The format has already garnered commitments from radio stations that produce or own content. But not everyone is ready to predict that terrestrial digital radio can compete effectively in the U.S. market against satellite digital radio. "HD Radio does not have commercial-free content or breadth of coverage like satellite radio," said Frank Dickson, chief research officer at MultiMedia Intelligence. "You also have to separate the satellite radio companies from the transmission medium." The satellite radio players say that they are content aggregators first, distributors second. "This means they will license to Internet, mobile or any other distribution [medium]," Dickson said. "They already do Internet radio as part of the satellite subscription package. Content is king, so he who controls Howard Stern and Opera Winfrey has a multinetwork opportunity." Indeed, iBiquity acknowledges it is neither content owner nor broadcaster. "We offer a patent portfolio, know-how and brand to chip vendors, receiver manufacturers, transmitter companies and broadcasters," explained Gene Parella, vice president of engineering at the company. That means the HD Radio concept is reliant on the available content offered by broadcasters-as well as on cost-effective receivers and innovative services and applications-for success among consumers. One new service that iBiquity is banking on is iTunes tagging, which the company states "makes listening, discovery and purchase of music easier." As a song is played on the air, the radio station broadcasts a metadata transmission of the iTunes store ID for the selection. A special iTunes tag button on the HD radio receiver lets users flag the song for subsequent preview and purchase on iTunes. At CES, Alpine Electronics, Polk Audio, JVC and others will demonstrate products with the tagging feature. Like XM and Sirus, which bank on new car sales as the biggest generators of new subscriptions, iBiquity considers the in-car radio an essential market for HD Radio. But if iBiquity hopes to succeed, it needs to pay attention as well to the retail radio market. That's where portable designs enabled by chips from Samsung and SiPort come into play. According to iBiquity's Parella, Samsung's HD Radio baseband processor, based on Tensilica's programmable core, integrates the baseband, memory, SDRAM and flash in a system-in-package measuring 9 x 9 mm. Including the companion RF chip, the chip set's total power consumption is 150 mW. Samsung developed the chip set based on iBiquity's design. Ibiquity intends to roll further reference designs that will let OEMs build tabletop radios and MP3 players capable of tuning and demodulating both HD Radio and its analog forebears. Other IC vendors, such as Texas Instruments and NXP, have licensed iBiquity's technology and built chips based on a netlist from that company. But SiPort designed its HD Radio chip on its own, claiming the first chip for the platform that is focused solely on nonautomotive applications. SiPort's single-die solution is tailored for low-power, high-performance portables. Sunder Velamuri, vice president of marketing at SiPort, said power dissipation of the mixed-signal device is expected to be "around 100 mW in typical configurations." He added that the chip, essentially "a software radio," can tune and demodulate not only analog AM/FM and HD Radio but also DAB and DMB-T, making it ready for the global market. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is fabricating the device. The startup is betting the first application for its chip will be portable GSP devices, given HD Radio's ability to datacast real-time traffic information from local radio stations in far more detailed and comprehensive fashion than is currently available via the analog FM band. All material on this site Copyright 2008 CMP Media LLC. All rights reserved. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.