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Harris, NPR Labs to Demo HD-R Services for Hearing and Visually Impaired

Harris, NPR Labs to Demo HD-R Services for Hearing and Visually Impaired

Harris, the International Association of Audio Information Services and NPR Labs said they will cooperate at the convention to show how stations can use HD Radio signals to datacast and offer radio service to listeners who are hearing or visually impaired.
Visitors to the Harris booth will see a preview of captioned radio text for the hearing impaired, and extended hybrid mode operation of radio reading services for the visually impaired sent over the HD Radio air chain. The demo will feature Harris transmission equipment for insertion of program material in the HD Radio multicasting stream, and Kenwood and Boston Acoustics radios to receive the dedicated Radio Reading Service channel and a radio captioning display of an NPR program.
“Radio’s transition to digital and the inherent capacity of the HD Radio system allow us to partition a portion of the Advanced Audio Services data stream to provide these specialized services,” stated Mike Starling, chief technology officer and executive director of NPR Labs. This, he said, solves distribution and audio quality hurdles experienced with reading services in the analog realm and creates new opportunities for radio captioning.
“HD Radio can translate into dramatic improvements in the way disabled consumers will be able to access the day-to-day information they need to make lifestyle decisions the general population takes for granted,” said Kim Walsh, IAAIS first vice president.
The demos will feature a Harris Z-Series digital transmitter. A Flexstar HDI-100 Importer will send the services to a Flexstar HDE-100 Exporter, which multiplexes the services with audio prior to distribution to the transmitter. A Flexstar HDX-FM exciter will accept the services inside the transmitter and digitally prepare the signals for over-the-air HD Radio transmission to the Kenwood receiver.
A similar display will be conducted at the IAAIS Annual Conference/Membership meeting in May in San Diego. Host station KPBS(FM) will transmit its reading service in the extended hybrid mode. IAAIS members and other conference delegates will hear an A-B comparison of SCA audio vs. HD Radio audio in a greatly reduced bit rate format.
Booth: C807