Surround Sound: Next New Thing for Digital Radio

Surround Sound: Next New Thing for Digital Radio
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Surround sound is a key feature for digital radio exhibitors on the show floor at CES. But one broadcast engineer for a major radio group told Radio World it remains to be seen whether consumers want to pay, in some cases, extra for the audio experience.
The theory is that as consumers enjoy surround sound at home with their home theater systems, they'll want that same quality in the car. "Expectations will be raised," said Neural Audio CTO and co-founder Robert Reams, who also sees potential for radio stations to sell advertisers on the concept of producing their ads with surround sound.
"It's easier to mix in surround than in stereo."
XM is demoing Neural's 5.1 surround technology in its booth. Executives say XM has been using the surround concept in its audio since it launched.
Sirius is showing Dolby Pro Logic, which it says can be decoded by SRS and other decoder manufacturers. Ibiquity is exhibiting SRS surround technology.
There's some jockeying back and forth about whose surround technology is better. XM claims its 5.1 is better than what Sirius is using because it is five discrete channels. Sirius disputed this vehemently.
Radio World readers may remember that Ibiquity showed Neural's surround sound at the spring NAB. When asked about the switch, Ibiquity executives said the company is working with several surround technology makers, preferring to let broadcasters decide which they want to use with their HD Radio installation.

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