Radio digitale, USA: le nuove frontiere dell’EPG e del tagging per la radio

La National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) dà notizia dello stato dei lavori della commissione USA incaricata di studiare nuove applicazioni di EPG (guida elettronica dei programmi) per la radiofonia, in questo caso per la radiofonia numerica HD Radio. Come spiega Radio Passioni in un post dedicato al problema, disporre di una guida interattiva che riesca in ogni istante a indicare quali programmi si possono ascoltare alla radio, o alla tv, è una questione ormai fondamentale in un panorama mediatico complesso e multitematico come quello attuale. E’ necessario implementare reti radiofoniche a standard numerico per avere a disposizione certe soluzioni? Per RP "sì, un sistema come il DAB o HD Radio aiuta, ma che anche per l’FM (e forse per le onde medie) analogica abbiamo la possibilità di trasmettere i metadati necessari attraverso l’RDS. Non conta insomma che le informazioni digitali siano inserite in un contesto di frame numerico su portanti modulate numericamente o se invece queste informazioni viaggiano su sottoportanti di una portante analogica opportunamente modulate a loro volta".

HD Radio EPG at the NAB Radio Show

Next week’s NAB Radio Show (Philadelphia, PA, September 23-25, 2009, provides a perfect opportunity to showcase some of the results from the NAB FASTROAD HD Radio electronic program guide (EPG) project. Through the FASTROAD (that’s Flexible Advanced Services for Television and Radio On All Devices, technology advocacy program, NAB has been funding the development of business requirements, system architecture and specifications of an HD Radio-based EPG for local radio broadcasters (see the August 3, 2009 issue of Radio TechCheck for additional information on this project).
In the Radio Show exhibit hall (booth 310), the project team of BIA Advisory Services (Chantilly, Va., Broadcast Signal Lab (Cambridge, Mass.,, and Unique Interactive (London, UK, will be demonstrating various aspects of the HD Radio EPG system which they have developed. Four specific demonstrations will be available (see diagram below):

* EPG service bureau demo – a number of the EPG system "models" developed by the FASTROAD project team involve use of a "service bureau" which collects EPG data from stations on a market-wide (or broader) basis, then organizes this data and sends it back to the stations in a format suitable for transmission over the HD Radio advanced data services channel. In the booth at the show, a demonstration of the EPG service bureau interface located at the radio station will be given, highlighting how the station uses/edits the EPG database, then uploads this data and other necessary parameters to the service bureau;

* Remote link to Boston field trial – since July of this year, a live EPG field trial has been underway in the Boston, Mass. radio market. Stations from the markets adjacent to Boston, including Worcester, Mass. and Providence, R.I. are also involved, showing how an HD Radio EPG can serve listeners as they travel. At the show, a live EPG monitor running on a computer in Boston will be mirrored to the Radio Show booth via remote desktop connection, showing EPG data received off-air from the field trial. This demo highlights what is called the "shared" EPG model, in which one or more "bearer" stations transmit EPG data for all other participating stations into the market;

* EPG transmitter/receiver demo – an HD-Radio Importer and transmitter will be in the booth, connected to a dummy load and feeding a signal (with EPG data) directly into two receivers an iBiquity EPG-enabled prototype receiver (a PC peripheral implemented on a printed circuit board) and a prototype EPG-enabled portable HD Radio receiver being developed by consumer electronics manufacturer Cydle Corp ( Here, the "parochial" model of EPG service will be highlighted, in which each station transmits only its own EPG data, including all multicast services the station may carry;

* EPG Web browser demo – in addition to the over-the-air broadcast of EPG data using the HD Radio advanced data services channel, the Boston field trial also includes a demonstration of how local station EPG information can be made available over the Internet for display on a PC or a Web-connected mobile device (such as an iPhone). Shown in the booth will be PC and iPhone Web-browser displays of EPG data from an EPG service bureau Web server. This demonstration highlights one aspect of the "network" EPG model whereby a general EPG resource on the Internet is filtered by information about the listener’s location, so that the device being used to obtain the EPG information (in this demo, the PC and iPhone) can obtain localized EPG data from a master database.

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