Integrated FM and digital station guide prototype unveiled

A working prototype of an integrated FM and digital station guide which will enable listeners to tune seamlessly between FM and digital frequencies and select stations by name regardless of whether they are on FM or digital, has been successfully developed just five weeks after the radio industry announced its commitment to work with receiver manufacturers to explore the technology.

The integrated station guide automatically scans for both DAB and FM stations and then displays them in one alphabetical list to the user. The working prototype was developed by engineers at Frontier Silicon, the leading chip manufacturer, and demonstrated on a Roberts ‘ecologic 1' radio at the Digital Radio Group Meeting held by Intellect, the trade association of the UK technology industry, last week, and attended by leading manufacturers.

As the radio industry moves towards a digital future, the development of an integrated station guide is a significant initiative in ensuring that local commercial and community stations which stay on FM, along with new services launching on newly vacated analogue spectrum, remain as accessible to listeners as those stations that have migrated to digital only.

Ford Ennals, Chief Executive, Digital Radio UK, said:

"It's really exciting to see this project make such rapid and significant progress. Creating a secure and thriving future for all sectors of the radio industry is our primary objective, and ensuring that listeners can navigate with ease between their chosen stations, regardless of platform, is crucial to delivering that."

Anthony Sethill, Frontier Silicon, said:

"Our engineers have already made great progress in the development of the integrated guide. The prototype that we've demonstrated gives a really good working impression of how we can effectively and simply eliminate the need for a button or switch to navigate between digital and analogue."

Leslie Burrage, Chief Executive, Roberts Radio, said:

"It's great to see the new integrated station guide in action on a Roberts radio and we're very much looking forward to working with our colleagues in the industry to develop it further."

Notes to Editors:
Currently, to listen to an FM station on a digital radio, listeners must navigate between digital and analogue through a button or switch, raising concerns that those stations not on digital may lose audience as listeners fail to switch between platforms. The development of an integrated station list will enable future radios to display all stations together in one list, allowing listeners to choose by name and tune seamlessly from station to station, regardless of whether the service is on digital or FM.

The majority of digital radios currently available include FM as well as digital tuners, and the newly agreed multi-standard WorldDMB digital radio receiver profile already incorporates FM, ensuring that all new digital radios will also be able to receive FM.

About Digital Radio UK

Digital Radio UK is the company tasked with establishing digital as the leading radio format in the UK and ensuring its wide availability and continuing take up among the UK's 46 million radio listeners.

Funded and supported by commercial radio, the BBC and Arqiva, Digital Radio UK is the central industry communicator on digital radio, working closely with all parties with an interest in digital radio, from broadcasters and the car industry to manufacturers and retailers, to deliver the consumer and economic benefits of digital radio upgrade, which include more station choice, better sound quality and greater functionality for radio listeners.

03.03.2010 | General

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