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Internet Radio Gets Certification Standard

Alliance of manufacturers and streaming media broadcasters hopes to speed time to market, avoid standards war

A group made up of Internet radio manufacturers and broadcasters say they’ve crafted a certification standard for Internet radios. Devices bearing the new logo will be in stores by Christmas, they say.

The Internet Media Device Alliance says the IMDA Profile 1 standard aims to protect consumers by aligning competing technologies and future-proofing Internet radio product design. Manufacturers hope the standard will speed time to market.

Internet radio manufacturers and broadcasters are backing the IMDA certification standard to ensure that new products will access the majority of streamed audio broadcasts, they say. IMDA members estimate that certified radios now receive around 90 percent of radio stations broadcasting over the Internet.

The group says online broadcasters adhering to IMDA Profile 1 will be able to reach target audiences using fewer audio codecs, cutting associated costs. The baseline standard stipulates that devices must decode both WMA and MP3 codecs; use HTTP streaming with 301 and 302 redirection; accept playlist formats M3U, ASX, PLS with new line separation for URLs in plain text; and receive stereo streams via two channels or by downloading a mix of both.

Mark Hopgood, an IMDA steering committee member and Frontier Silicon’s director of marketing, stated, “If a universal standard isn’t specified now, when the market for Internet radios is in its relative infancy, manufacturers risk entering a technology war. If this happens, many early adopters will end up with obsolete products. This needs to be avoided at all costs.”

The IMDA was launched this year to develop and promote a set of open, interoperable standards and device profiles for Internet-connected media devices. Its steering committee comprises organizations that include BBC, Deutsche Welle, the European Broadcasting Union, Frontier Silicon, Global Radio, Pure, Reciva, SWR and vTuner.

The announcement was made at IFA in Berlin.