It’s been quiet on the subject of towers being the cause of massive deaths of migratory birds — until now. On Feb. 19, a U.S. Court of Appeals ordered the FCC to study the effects that several thousand towers have on migratory birds in the Gulf Coast region.
We have covered this topic in Radio magazine many times before. In my Viewpoint in the January 2007 issue I noted that there is a great deal of misinformation and supposedly factual evidence of the severity of the problem. Many of the studies that are currently referenced point to other studies that point back to the original. There doesn’t appear to be any source data in the first place.
I’m all for protecting the environment and wildlife, but I haven’t seen the undisputed data to recognize the real severity of this problem. Perhaps this court order will produce some factual results.
Read more: Fight Over Flight
The Trends in Technology feature in our February issue explored the use of IP technology for remotes. Read that article at this link. What are your experiences with IP technology and remote broadcasts?
By now you have heard that there is a quiet movement to increase the power level of the digital portion of the HD Radio hybrid signal. You can read something about that in the Feb.6 Digital Radio Update newsletter.
On the surface, increasing the level of the digital carriers sounds like a good idea. More power means a better digital signal. But increasing the power raises other questions, with concerns of first-adjacent channel interference being at the top.
The results of the study have not yet been posted. I’m looking forward to reading them.
What’s your opinion of the power increase?
The 2008 NAB Show (no more NAB2008; I guess the new name will really make a difference) is a few weeks away. We all have different missions and goals for the convention, but the exhibit floor is always an important part of any engineer’s convention plan.
If you attend the convention, you’re probably already starting to build your list of companies to visit and technology to investigate. By the way, we’ll be able to help you make those plans with our March issue and our Engineer’s Guide to the 2008 NAB Show. But let’s push the limits for a moment. What dream product or service would you like to see at the convention this year? I’m not talking crazy anti-gravity devices, but practical and realistic devices that don’t exist yet.
As the proposed satellite radio merger of Sirius and XM drags on, Ibiquity and the HD Digital Radio Alliance have added their voice to the filings. Ibiquity has no formal stance on the merger itself, but says that a condition of the merger would be to require that all future combined-mode satellite radio receivers must also have HD Radio capability.
A mandate such as this would certainly help put HD Radio receivers on the street.
Some argue that this mandates a privately developed technology to be used in consumer products. This would obviously benefit Ibiquity. On the other hand, a satellite radio receiver is already loaded with private-interest technology that benefits the satellite radio providers.
If adopted by the FCC, the requirement would likely help HD Radio adoption. Still, if the consumer wants to buy a satellite radio receiver, that’s his choice. He shouldn’t be forced to pay for something he may not want.
What’s your view?
As the digital radio rollout continues — regardless of the flavor, whether it’s HD Radio, FM Extra, Cam-D, DRM or anything else, the one obstacle continues to be the availability of receivers. There were more HD Radio receivers shown at CES2008 than ever before, but it’s still hard to find them on the shelves at the local electronics box house.
Digital Radio Express was touting its shipments of FM Extra receivers for several months, but that attention has also died down.
What’s the answer? A year ago in my Viewpoint column (Dec 2006) I noted that the real success of a digital radio format will be seen when the consumer does not have to make a conscious choice in buying a digital radio of any flavor. (Read that article:
Granted, we’re not there yet.
What’s your view? What steps should be taken to help digital radio take off?
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