Thursday, March 29, 2007

If HD Radio Charges Consumers, Will It Be Considered Competition For Satellite Radio?

It is pretty much confirmed that HD Radio is going to charge consumers for content. At what point is the FCC going to consider this service competition for satellite radio? Ironically, free HD is not considered competition, but paid service would be!

Is Pay-for-Play HD Content on Horizon?
Conditional Access Is Tested; Reading Services Said to Benefit
by Leslie Stimson, 3.28.2007, RadioWorld

For more than a year, Ibiquity officials have been working with NDS, a technology contractor, to develop a conditional access feature for HD Radio.
With field testing underway at a Florida public station, some proponents hope conditional access is the next big feature for HD Radio and think receivers that can handle the capability may be available by the end of the year. Much must happen to make that a reality.
With conditional access, the ability to hear or see certain content on a digital signal is limited to consumers who have the appropriately “unlocked” receivers. The technology is envisioned as a new use for stations’ multicast channels, not their main digital channels, supporters say. Several companies involved in testing the concept were part of the project that helped push multicasting to market.
Numerous uses for conditional access have been cited. Stations could sell one-time paid access to audio events or provide upgraded audio quality for existing radio reading services for the visually impaired. Stations could offer spectrum to benefit emergency communications by first responders. They could sell software updates to car navigation companies or establish channels where parents could better control access to content.
Access to reading services would still be free to listeners who qualify, backers say. But whether regulators should allow commercial stations to charge for other content carried within their spectrum has not been widely debated and the question could be contentious.
Proponents said they’ve discussed whether the FCC would need to approve the use of a multicast channel that involves charging the listener, but don’t agree on whether it would be controversial....read more: here

3/29/2007 11:33:00 AM

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