Posts Categorised: HD Radio

Feature enables users to view on a single screen all of the FM and HD-Radio Channels 1-8 from channel presets

FELTON, Calif. — Inovonics says it has released a free firmware update that adds “Listener Experience” to its INOmini 638 HD SiteStreamer, which enables users to monitor up to 30 sources of FM and HD programming over the Internet.

According to a company announcement, the new Listener Experience feature enables “users to remotely view on a single screen all of the FM and HD-Radio Channels 1-8 from channel presets on the unit” via the 638’s web interface.

Inovonics says users can now select and view info from the FM channel and the HD-Radio channels that are being transmitted on one screen. This information includes call letters, RDS messaging, artist, song title, album and genre. This is in addition to remote listening via a live stream of the station.

Users can download the 638 Firmware Update Rev here.

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Retails for $99.99 and has both FM and AM digital reception

Sangean is out with a new pocket HD Radio that has provides both AM and FM digital reception.

The company calls it the first AM/FM Pocket HD Radio. It retails for $99.99; it shows up via online dealers for around $83.

Features include 40 memory presets, multicast capability, clock and alarm, low-battery indicator and FM antenna; it runs on three AA batteries or the included AC adapter.

It also displays PAD and RDS info.

The FM and AM frequencies including HD Radio are listed on the back.

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The series features two “Tips n Tricks” sessions, as well as discussions on HD Radio in Canada and engineering recruitment and training issues

HACKKETT’S COVE, Nova Scotia — Nautel is starting off a new webinar series this month with two “Tips n Tricks” sessions, followed in June by discussions on HD Radio in Canada and engineering recruitment and training issues. 

All webinars begin Wednesdays at noon EDT and qualify for ½ SBE Certification Credit.

The first session, to be held May 16, is entitled “Care and Feeding of AM Transmitter Sites.” Nautel’s Jeff Welton will bring his popular “Tips n Tricks” to discuss maintenance, troubleshooting, grounding, lightning protection and other issues associated with AM transmission sites. The webinar will run 45 minutes with time for questions afterward.

Welton returns on May 23, for a second session entitled “Care and Feeding of FM Transmitter Sites.” As with his first webinar, he plans to cover maintenance, troubleshooting, grounding, cooling, air handling and site security, this time for FM transmission sites. The webinar will run 45 minutes, again with time for questions.

On June 6, the implementation of HD Radio in Canada will be discussed by Nautel’s Chuck Kelly and Gary Manteuffel, along with special guest Paul Brenner of Emmis Communications. The discussion will cover the current status of HD Radio in Canada; the number of radios equipped with HD reception capability; regulatory issues; and implementing HD Radio at a station. The webinar will run 30 minutes plus time for questions.

“Broadcast Engineers and Technology: Training and Recruitment” will be covered in a webinar on June 13. Nautel’s Kelly will be joined by special guests John Poray of the Society o Broadcast Engineers and Wayne Pecena of Texas A&M University. They will discuss the scarcity of trained broadcast engineers in the U.S. and abroad; the effects of the increased pace of technological change; and the sources and strategies for training and recruiting to the radio broadcast industry. The webinar will run 45 minutes plus time for questions.

Register for the webinars online .

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The Worldwide Radioplayer API builds on the Radioplayer Car upgrade system

CALABASAS, Calif. — Xperi Corporation recently announced a partnership between its wholly owned subsidiary DTS and Radioplayer Worldwide , one of the world’s leading streaming radio content aggregation platforms, to develop and integrate DTS Connected Radio technology into future vehicles using the Worldwide Radioplayer API.

Utilizing a vehicle’s native IP connectivity, DTS Connected Radio delivers an innovative analog and digital (DAB and HD Radio) AM/FM experience by pairing broadcast programming with IP-delivered content. DTS Connected Radio aggregates metadata, such as artist and song information, on-air radio program information, station contact information and more, directly from broadcasters around the world to deliver an enhanced visual experience in the vehicle.

The Worldwide Radioplayer API builds on the Radioplayer Car upgrade system. The system automatically follows the listener’s favorite stations across DAB (in Europe of course), FM, and streaming, as reception varies. As well as enabling ‘hybrid’ switching between broadcast and streaming as reception varies, the new data feed can power features such as personalized radio recommendations, search results, and catch-up content.

[Read: Xperi Will Showcase DTS Connected Radio at CES]

“The number of countries adopting the Radioplayer technology is set to rise steeply in coming years, as more and more broadcasters decide to collaborate and pool resources. Automotive integrations are at the top of the list of priorities for Radioplayer, given radio’s huge importance to drivers, but they also develop world-leading radio apps, and innovative voice-control interfaces,” according to Xperi.

Xperi Corp. also announced a partnership between DTS and RCS, the world’s largest broadcast software company, to develop and integrate DTS Connected Radio technology into their family of radio automation and production platforms. The DTS Connected Radioplatform will enable broadcasters to deliver new services into connected cars of the future.

Utilizing a vehicle’s native IP connectivity, DTS Connected Radio delivers an analog and digital (DAB and HD Radio) AM/FM experience by pairing broadcast programming with IP-delivered content. DTS Connected Radio aggregates metadata, such as artist and song information, on-air radio program information, station contact information and more, directly from broadcasters to deliver an enhanced visual experience in the vehicle. 

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Good news from Nielsen, but BIA/Kelsey report is a cautionary tale for those counting on digital revenue

Like reported sightings of Bigfoot, and fanciful stories regarding unicorns, claims over the death of over-the-air radio aren’t based in reality, at least according to Nielsen

The company reports that each week, more Americans tune into AM/FM radio (93%) than watch television, or use smartphones, tablets or computers. “At the same time, digital streaming offers consumers even more ways to listen across many of those same devices,” they write. “Audio plays a central role in the daily lives of hundreds of millions of consumers. Broadcast radio specifically continues to profoundly enrich the lives of listeners and create value for advertisers.”

That’s the good news. Let’s also examine the news that’s not so good. According to BIA/Kelsey , the digital advertising income of U.S. radio stations showed a 9.7% increase year over year, but during the same period over-the-air radio showed a decline of 2.0%. (More details are shown in the first quarter edition of BIA Advisory Services’ 2018 Investing In Radio Market Report .)

Overall the industry experienced a 0.2% drop from 2016 to end the year at $13.87 billion.

“Although local radio stations are still important players in their local markets, we do not expect the over-the-air advertising revenue of U.S. radio stations to grow much this year or in the near future,” said Mark Fratrik, SVP and Chief Economist, BIA Advisory Services. He said the number of new audio and entertainment sources will provide continued competition for radio, which of course has a negative effect on ad revenue.

The game is still ours to lose. “It’s an aggressive environment that competes for audiences with local radio,” Fratrik writes.

HD radio technology is also mentioned in the report. “The radio industry is attempting to build out digital channels to reach local communities, but they are also focused on overall platform improvements,” writes Fratrik. “Opportunities for local radio stations include the further adoption of HD Radio technology to transmit their programming and add subchannels for additional programming. With car manufacturers including HD Radio receivers in their new cars, radio has a fresh opportunity to impress advertisers and consumers.” According to BIA data, as of January 2018, 211 AM and 1,980 FM stations were broadcasting an HD Radio signal.

The same report also said that another “strong opportunity” being employed is the increased use of FM translators for rebroadcasting AM signals, and that new technologies including NextRadio open up new avenues for revenue growth.

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FMXi 4g provides dynamic time and audio correction

MASON, Ohio — GatesAir will introduce its FMXi 4g and other new HD Radio enhancements for audio and data transport at the 2018 NAB Show, April 9–12 in Las Vegas.

In addition to “virtually eliminating maintenance through a fully embedded architecture that combines both functions” the new FMXi 4g is the first HD Radio Importer/Exporter solution to provide dynamic time and audio correction.

“Diversity Delay is a critical component of the HD Radio listening experience…the GatesAir-exclusive algorithm inside the FMXi 4g ensures proper time alignment between analog (FM) and digital (HD Radio) signals, and improves the listener experience by removing the objectionable blending artifacts” according to the company.

The removal of a standalone, computer-based Importer or Exporter eliminates the boot-up process, removes moving parts and frees broadcasters from “troublesome PC-based applications.” HD Radio implementation is simplified by “integrating the Importer and Exporter and eliminating complex external networks, clocking and GPS references between disparate systems which, substantially raises the possibility of packet loss and other imperfections,” according to the company.

[Exhibiting at NAB Show? Nominate a product here for Best of Show Award consideration.]

GatesAir will also demo how its new Intraplex IPConnect device for reliable and secure data transport can more effectively manage large data payloads across the E2X connection.

“The seamless integration of IPConnect into the Gen4 architecture smooths the very heavy signal bursts that are common across the E2X path,” said Rich Redmond, chief product officer, GatesAir. “The quality of service significantly improves through a reduction in dropouts and buffering instances that have long challenged HD Radio broadcasters.” 

Check out the FMXi 4g during the show at Booth N3703.

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The demo will feature a total of 12 HD Radio audio services from a single transmitter

LAS VEGAS — The NAB is planning a live demo of all-digital FM HD Radio featuring a total of 12 HD Radio audio services from a single transmitter during the show next month. The demo will feature a Nautel transmitter with Beasley’s KKLZ(FM) serving as the test station.

The demo will be available during regular NAB Show hours, according to Nautel officials. The special demo is tied to a session during the Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology Conference that will detail extensive high-power field testing of all-digital FM conducted earlier this year in Las Vegas using the Beasley station. Pilot, the NAB technology and innovation initiative, is hosting the session, “All-Digital FM Field Test Project” on Sunday, April 8, from 1:50–2:10 p.m.

[Read: More Reasons to Attend the 2018 BEITC]

The digital audio channels will be on even-numbered frequencies, so most receivers cannot get these. Attendees can go to the Pilot booth in the Futures Park section of the NAB Show where receivers will be tuned to the even-numbered channels.

Up until now only limited field testing of all-digital HD Radio has been conducted with low transmit power (100W) and reception equipment in non-real world test conditions.

KKLZ’s IBOC signal during the NAB Show will be based on the Nautel all-digital HD multiplex signal composed of three interleaved IBOC sidebands, according to Philipp Schmid, Nautel research engineer.

“To maintain KKLZ’s regular program service, the center sidebands are muted and replaced with the analog FM carrier. The result is two independent IBOC sidebands on both sides of the analog FM signal for a combined bitrate of 394 kbps (over 3.2x standard IBOC capacity), providing up to 12 HD Radio audio services plus the analog FM signal all broadcast by a Nautel GV40 transmitter from the Black Mountain transmission site,” Schmid wrote in an email to Radio World.

The experimental nature of the digital carrier consists of a “several minute-long loops of audio content” and is intentionally placed on the “even” dial positions, according to Schmid.

“The four digital sidebands will be available on 96.0, 96.2, 96.4 and 96.6 MHz that are not normally associated with standard FM radio stations and are receivable on some commonly available HD Radio receivers,” Schmid said.

Meanwhile, KKLZ’s regular FM programming will be available on 96.3 MHz with its regular HD programming suspended in favor of the special signal broadcast under experimental authorization, he explained.

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Powerlite DCR-T enters HD Radio and LPFM markets

RAYMOND, Maine — Antenna-maker Dielectric says it has adapted its Powerlite DCR-T antenna for the special needs of HD Radio and LPFM broadcasters. The key, according to the company, is added control of directionality.

The circularly polarized DCR-T directional antenna is offered as a cost-effective solution for low-to-medium power FM and translator stations, which traditionally required a far more expensive antenna in designs typical of higher power operations, to meet directional pattern requirements.

[Exhibiting at NAB Show? Nominate a product here for Best of Show Award consideration.]

Dielectric says this is possible because special software reduces antenna costs and production lead times, and with most FM translator directional antenna requirements, significantly reduces the price of the FCC proof of performance. The software that provides the proof of performance data required to confirm directional pattern compliance, as opposed to the traditional method of verifying patterns with physical scale models.

[Read: Dielectric Adds New Facility Ahead of the Repack]

Dielectric Sales Manager Steven Moreen said, “The ring-style design of the DCR-T antenna, with its stable axial ratio independent of impedance tuning, is an ideal platform on which to add directional signal control. And, given the efficiency at which Dielectric can produce these antennas, the antenna can be delivered within weeks as opposed to months, along with the associated FCC proof of performance.”

The company adds that the DCR-T’s broadband capability offers enough bandwidth to accommodate HD Radio signals alongside analog FM, with in-field channel adjustments should channels change. The low-profile design offers less wind resistance. An optional radome is available.

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DTS Connected Radio utilizes metadata from a variety of sources, now including RadioDNS, Jeff Jury says

CALABASAS, Calif. —Xperi Corp. says its wholly owned subsidiary, DTS, has successfully completed RadioDNS compliance testing. The DTS Connected Radio platform will enable an engaging in-car radio experience for drivers around the world. RadioDNS’ Project Logo service utilizes the RadioDNS standard in the delivery of hybrid radio content in connected broadcast radios and provides a valuable source of broadcast radio metadata from supporting broadcasters.

“As a founding member, we have long supported RadioDNS,” said Jeff Jury, general manager, automotive at Xperi. “DTS Connected Radio utilizes metadata from a variety of sources and we are proud to support RadioDNS as part of our global connected car solution and look forward to delivering a rich, dynamic service on behalf of broadcasters around the world.”

[Read — NAB Engineering Handbook: RadioDNS]

“RadioDNS encourages broadcasters and manufacturers to work with RadioDNS compliant technology providers, and we’re really pleased that Xperi has certified their Connected Radio platform as compliant with RadioDNS’ Project Logo functionality,” said Nick Piggott, project director, RadioDNS. “Compliance testing is a service we offer to all RadioDNS members, as either suppliers or purchasers wanting independent verification.” 

(Here’s an article by Nick that explains the basics of RadioDNS.)

DTS Connected Radio pairs broadcast radio with IP-delivered content, aggregating metadata, such as artist and song information, on-air radio program information, station contact information and more, directly from broadcasters around the world to deliver a single API with a cohesive visual experience in the vehicle. 

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FMHD-1 mod monitor gets AE management tweak

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Belar’s well-known FMHD-1 HD Radio-capable modulation monitor is receiving a software update that will allow it to decode and monitor the presence of Artist Experience graphics in the RF stream.

Belar’s new WizWin software will automatically manage bandwidth-heavy image data, while providing broadcasters with a diagnostic tool to monitor the health and status of the Artist Experience data stream. The software recognizes the receipt of Large Object Transmission data encoded in the HD Radio signal, and decodes the image for display on a desktop or laptop workstation in alignment with text-based Program Associated Data such as artist name and song title.

After decoding and processing images, the monitor communicates with the WizWin software to translate the image display on a PC. This ensures that engineers can monitor the presence and proper timing of graphics, and also visualize the full color palette to confirm image quality.

Belar CEO Mark Grant notes that simple HD Radio receivers such as car radios are not adequate to provide the detailed level of monitoring needed. “Without the built-in diagnostic tools of the modulation monitor, there is no simple and immediate way to understand what is happening if the graphic fails, and the service defaults to a station logo, for example. WizWin provides our customers with a complete solution to decode, process, display and monitor Artist Experience data from virtually any location.”

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