RW has learned that a group of organizations is about to begin testing “conditional access” on a radio station in Florida.
Several of the companies were involved in the project that helped push multicasting to market.
Some IBOC proponents hope conditional access is the next big feature for HD Radio. With conditional access, stations can, for instance, offer one-time paid access to audio events or provide upgraded audio quality for radio reading services.
Conditional access capability is to be included in the next generation of HD Radios, which could be available by the end of the year, if things go according to plan.
Harris and Broadcast Electronics plan field tests of the technology, developed by NDS for Ibiquity Digital. NDS specializes in conditional access technology for cable and satellite TV; RW reported last summer that Ibiquity had contracted with NDS to develop such capability for HD Radio.
I’ve learned now that representatives from Harris, Ibiquity, NDS and NPR Labs plan to be on hand for testing later this month at WUSF(FM) in Tampa. NPR and Harris were two of the companies, along with Kenwood, in the original Tomorrow Radio project that helped push the radio industry to awareness of multicasting.
For the WUSF tests, Sangean HD Radio receivers will be used, although NDS says it’s working with multiple receiver manufacturers for the technology.
The International Association of Audio Information Services will provide the reading service material for the WUSF test, sources told me.
The participants plan numerous demos of the concept at NAB2007, and the topic is among those scheduled to be discussed at sessions covering new special services.
For more on the testing and about conditional access, look for my coverage in an upcoming issue of Radio World.