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June 01, 2005
Digital Radio and....Wi-Fi?
Recently met with KCRW, the uber-techie NPR station in Santa Monica that dishes up podcasts and tons of options for online radio. That led to a conversation about HD Radio vs. Wi-Fi with Ruth Seymour, KCRW's station manager.
Seymour threw out a provocative idea about the transition to High defintion or HD Radio, which provides CD-quality like sound and more channels for niche programming. In a story on radio in March, we wrote that by the end of the decade at least 2,500 stations are expected to have HD and KCRW will be in that pack.
But Seymour says there will be will be a race between HD and Wi-Fi. The main problem with HD is that the radios are expensive, between $500 and $1,000 now, though the prices will go down.
So, she thinks that networked, broadly available Wi-Fi, whether offered by a city or town for free or a fee, will provide an alternative distribution channel for radio. "Wi-Fi will be an essential service that every town and city will have to see flourish if they want to attract business," says Seymour.
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The in-band, on-channel (IBOC) digital radio technology developed by Ibiatuiy Digital is branded HD Radio. This name does not stand for "high-definition" radio. Ibiquity's own style and usage guide says so.
The digital transmission systems uses an audio encoding format that is similar to AAC. This digital encoding removes more than 90 percent of the audio information to reduce the size of data payload. How can something with less than 10 percent of its original information be considered high definition?
Consumers are already confused by the various forms of digital radio, please don't confuse the issue by referring to the technology by the wrong name.
editor, Radio magazine
Posted by: Chriss Scherer at June 2, 2005 08:19 AM