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Conditional Access on the Horizon

Expect plenty of discussion about conditional access at the NAB show.

Expect plenty of discussion about conditional access at the NAB show.

As first reported in RW’s “The Leslie Report” this week, a group of organizations is about to begin testing the concept on WUSF(FM) in Florida.

How well will traditional radio adapt to the idea that only certain listeners and receivers can hear certain content? Will debate over pay radio erupt in the “free radio” industry?

It’s likely to be a topic of talk at NAB in April.

Joseph D’Angelo of Ibiquity will give a presentation on advanced services as part of the “Multicasting for Radio” session of the Broadcast Engineering Conference Sunday morning. He’ll also talk about time-shifting, electronic program guides, real-time traffic and other multi-media services.

Also scheduled to discuss conditional access is Raymond Miklius, vice president of Broadcast Electronics, who will speak during the Sunday session about “Implications of Advanced HD Radio Services on Station Workflow.” Miklius is planning to talk about additional infrastructure required for conditional access, EPG services and other new data offerings.

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; we reported last year that Ibiquity had contracted with NDS to develop the capability for HD Radio.

Harris, Ibiquity, NDS and NPR Labs plan to take part in the testing at WUSF in Tampa. Sangean HD Radio receivers will be used, though NDS says it’s working with several receiver manufacturers. The International Association of Audio Information Services will provide reading service material for the WUSF test.