HD, DAB, and Teens: The New Stuff

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Hello, Internet! In the wake of taking an extra day off for Memorial Day, I thought I might supply a roundup of a few different stories that caught my eye over the break. Here are my top three — a purely personal designation.

According to a press release I discovered on News Blaze, the new HD chipsets are going out. This is fantastic news for HD devotees as it will continue to drop the prices and upgrade the availability of HD ready devices.

As of this week, both Samsung and SiPort are now in general availability of next-generation HD Radio chipsets, shipping to dozens of receiver makers covering both the automotive and home/office markets. In January, Samsung disclosed sampling of a new generation of HD Radio chipsets to select customers.

Both the chipsets are enabling lower-power HD Radio receiver designs as well as smaller form-factors. These mobile devices will span both automotive and non-automotive applications. The Samsung chipset features an innovative single-chip RF-IF peripheral processor, a baseband processor, and achieves the coveted “no filter” concept. It supports a rich feature set, including conditional access, store & replay, traffic &navigation. For its part, SiPort’s single-chip solution has been designed specifically for low-power, high-performance portables outside of the automotive market such as portable GPS devices. TSMC is fabricating the chipset.

The original press release contains much more, including info on the software advances that go along with the new hardware. Certainly worth a look!

Now digital radio is not just a concern here in the USA. Its first cousin in Europe (DAB) is also experiencing both evolution and growing pains. Amanda Andrews at The Times Online brings us news of a new device which is seen as a possible savior for the troubled format:

A new electronic device that enables mobile phone users to plug into digital radio will rescue digital audio broadcasting, Channel 4 Radio believes.

The broadcaster, set to launch digital station E4 Radio this year, is in talks with electronics manufacturers to create a branded plug-in DAB device for iPods and mobile phones. The move comes as DAB radio take-up has been slow with the device facing numerous challenges in recent months.

Sources told The Times that, while talks with manufacturers were at an early stage, the broadcaster is keen to create an E4 or Channel 4-branded device that will cost no more than £20. Channel 4 would market the plug-in to young people alongside its new digital stations.

Ms. Andrews provides a nice recap of some of the struggles Radio 4 and DAB have undergone so far, particularly the announcement last February that GCap (the largest commercial radio group in the UK) was backing out of digital radio. For details check out the full article here.

After all that technical stuff, let’s take a look at the flip-side: the human element. Tony Ganzer, Morning Edition producer for KJZZ-FM (91.5) penned a nice little article over on The Arizona Republic about the Sonic Roots Program that he helps run:

Along with my duties as KJZZ’s morning producer, I also steer the Sonic Roots program. I introduce students to public radio and to the skill of creating a three-minute, sound-rich radio feature. The topic is chosen by the students, and interviews are conducted mostly by the students (with a follow-up question or two from me.) And after the work, the students make it to air. The shows can be heard at kjzz.org/news.

Now that is one really fun way to get kids involved in their community and in broadcast. The description given in the article define the Sonic Roots Program as encouraging teenage civic engagement by giving them a voice in the media. In an era where these kids are probably already throwing their own homebrewed videos up on YouTube or blogging, it is an excellent way to steer them towards radio and civic responsibility at the same time. I heartily approve!

Photo courtesy of losmininos, used under its Creative Commons license

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3 Responses to “HD, DAB, and Teens: The New Stuff”

  1. paul vincent zecchino Says:

    Wouldn’t old ex-Sov propaganda ghouls be drowning their green envy with gallons of zelonyi smee? HD radio all the buzz?

    Spare us. There’s no interest in HD. Listeners who checked it out long ago rejected it. HD jams other stations. Isn’t that its fatal flaw? No one likes not being able to hear their favorite radio station on account of HD’s relentless deliberate jamming. And listeners really don’t appreciate it when HD’s ever disingenuous promoters lecture them that they ‘have no business listening to out of town stations’ and should confine their listening to ‘local’ stations whose voice-tracked inhuman juke boxes are thousands of miles distant.

  2. bobyoung Says:

    Radio in 2020: Radio? What’s that? Oh, yeah… it was that free stuff that went over the air that you picked up on one of those old fashioned boxes. What happened to it? Oh, yeah, digital came along and completely ruined it, people just stopped listening because of the interference and lousy reception and 800,000,000 analog radios are now collecting dust ever since the last on air broadcaster went dark ten years ago. Yeah HD and dab were stupid ideas, no one cared about them and the broadcast industry stupidly pushed them so hard that it fell on it’s face.
    Digital radio is a scam which has already had it’s little short day in the sun, say bye bye.

    Robert D Young Jr
    33 S Main St #2B
    Millbury, MA
    KB1OKL

  3. George Williams Says:

    Gentlemen, thanks for sharing your opinions. I’m sorry to say that I cannot agree with them, although like Voltaire I would fight to the death for your right to express them.

    It is easy to make blanket statements about HD, and admittedly that is one area of the radio equation that is still evolving, but in the end it will be the consumer’s choice that makes the final decision not either of our opinions. The new advances in HD tech may well eliminate some of the issues you bring up. Only time will tell. As technologies go it is still in its infant phase.

    My mission is not to fight for or against any particular flavor of radio, but simply to help keep tabs on the amazing evolutionary process it is undergoing. No matter what view you take there are amazing things happening in radio all over the world. For example, my recent post about what is happening in Africa: https://radio2020.wordpress.com/2008/05/30/radio-vs-climate-change-audio-for-africas-farmers/

    Like all growth it is hardly free of its pains, but that is hardly reason to discount it.

    Speaking purely from personal experience I have not found that local HD signals interfere with my broadcast reception, of course your mileage may vary on that issue.

    Thanks for stopping by to share your views!

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