Thursday, February 24, 2011

Satellite radio in the new iPhone5

Apple plans to change the game by displaying all the available radio stations nearby on an interactive map, with names and signal strengths displayed for each station. Apple quietly submitted a patent application that altered the radio experience for its users and introduced three new elements to the iPhone: FM, AM, and Satellite Radio – all built in.

The radio patents are an indication that the iPhone 5 might offer a unique radio station mapping function which will let users find and select a station with the closest or strongest signal. The folks at T3 believe that Apple might integrate an FM radio receiver added to the top right corner of the device.If you’re traveling from town to town, this might be a great feature. Although from a functional standpoint it may be “cooler” than a scan feature, it’s hard to believe it is better. Meanwhile, if you – like most folks – do your radio listening in your own ‘hood, then this feature is pretty worthless. Still, kudos to Apple for more out-of-the-box (if surprisingly non-funtional) thinking.

The dream will have been realized and radio (and satellite radio) will once again be portable on one of America’s most popular mobile devices – the style-setter for all the rest.That portability will be provided at the level of consistency folks expect from FM and AM signals without the dropouts that may characterize streaming.You’ll still need to stream, you just won’t need to stream so that an iPhone owner around the corner from the station’s broadcast tower can get your station on their iPhone. Not only that, but there will remain an opportunity to stream things that are different from what’s on your air to properly leverage the power of your brand.

You’ll still need mobile apps, you just won’t need mobile apps that do nothing more than repackage your station in a stream (do you understand now why Apple has been rejecting these single-function radio apps?). You’ll have an opportunity to solve new consumer problems with your apps and extend your brand experience in new ways.Standard FM and AM are going into the new iPhone – not HD radio.Satellite radio is getting equal shelf-space to terrestrial on the new iPhones.

After all, this provides more distribution for FM and AM radio, but distribution has never been radio’s problem (which is why almost everybody listens to radio). Could it add new quarter-hours to your station’s audience? Sure, but primarily at the expense of somebody else’s quarter-hours. In other words, it does little to enlarge radio’s audience or revenue pie. Will folks turn off Pandora and their streaming radio apps for the new built-in radio app? Maybe. But Pandora has succeeded on iPhones not because FM or AM isn’t there – it has succeeded because it’s different from FM or AM, and that will not be changing.

Broadcasters will look at the presence of radio on iPhones as a future-oriented victory. But the race radio is competing in includes many more players besides other radio stations. And product innovation is key to win that race. Victory will not come from more distribution or from pretty geographic maps of your tower or from new platforms which place FM and AM beside satellite radio.On the iPhone, your competitor is not the station next door, it’s everything else competing for time and attention and advertising dollars on the iPhone. Imagine a radio dial that expands exponentially, and you begin to get the idea.

A new patent application from Apple was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office which covers Apple's intentions of finally bringing radio to the iPhone via AM, FM and Satellite signals. Apple being Apple, we could always expect something different, and in this case they're thinking of introducing us to a unique radio station mapping function that acts as an alternative to a straight scrolling list of radio stations. This could actually be very handy when you're on the road as opposed to being at home where a list is just fine. 

On the road, instead of using your in-vehicle radio roaming feature to find new stations, the proposed iPhone radio station mapping app would simply layout the stations visually for you to choose from - all at one time. It's a quick and easier solution. Apple's patent also hints of releasing a radio peripheral card for MacBooks.In opening cover graphic you could see a partial of patentwhich covers satellite radio. Apple states that the iPhone's radio will work with XM or Sirius satellite radio stations – beyond the basics of AM and FM.

In Apple's noted below, we see that an FM radio receiver (104) is associated with a future version of the iPhone. The iPhone's smart radio program is capable of presenting you with an FM radio list or a unique map with icons of the primary FM stations (e.g., 204a, 204b, and 204c, collectively referenced as 204) in the neighborhood.The map (202) may include the station call letters and the genre of the program that is currently being played at each station. The map is also able to show the broadcast signal strength (e.g., 210a, 210b, and 210c) of radio stations. The map is interactive, so you'll be able to tap on the icons representing the radio station in order to tune into the stations.

In Apple shown above we see an illustrated example of an iPhone tuned into the classical music broadcast from a radio station shown as KQXO. As you could see in the illustration, you'll be able to preset at least your top five radio stations on your touch screen.According to Apple's patent, the FM radio receiver 104 could "be a device that is attached to a notebook computer through a wired or wireless interface" but could also be "a peripheral card that is configured to be inserted into a peripheral card slot of a notebook computer."

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

ICC Cricket World Cup on SiriusXM radio

Sirius XM Radio announced that it will broadcast the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, offering both Sirius and XM subscribers play-by-play coverage of men’s matches from India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from the group games through to the World Cup Final on April 2.

For the second year, match broadcasts, provided by Cricket Radio, will air on Sirius channel 113 and XM channel 244. Visit for match times and listings.

The ICC Cricket World Cup, the 50-over world event for cricket held every four years, will take place at venues in India, Sri Lanka and, for the first time, Bangladesh. Fourteen national teams from around the globe will compete in two groups with the group stage matches running from February 19 - March 20.

The eight teams that emerge from the group stage will compete in the “Super Eights” from March 23 - 26. The top four teams from the Super Eights will compete in the semi-finals on March 29 and 30 and the 2011 Cricket World Cup champion will be crowned after a one-match final on Saturday, April 2.

England, the reigning 2010 World Cup champion, returns to defend their title. They will be challenged in this year’s competition by Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, and Zimbabwe.

Sirius XM offers an extensive lineup of international sports programming. In addition to the Cricket World Cup, listeners can also hear Formula One racing, world class soccer from the English Premier League, and World Cup skiing events from around the globe.

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

General Motors built the world’s first “vehicle-sized electronically modulated spherical near-field antenna testing system,to Improve Sirius XM Satellite Radio Reception

General Motors built the world’s first “vehicle-sized electronically modulated spherical near-field antenna testing system,” or ATS, in partnership with transmission tech giant SATIMO SA (Societe d’Applications Technologiques de l’Imagerie Micro-Onde SA).

It looks like Sirius XM Satellite Radio reception is getting an upgrade thanks to “wireless signal super-receivers” developed by General Motors utilizing their newly completed and now operational $750,000 antenna testing facility.

There are only two other vehicle antenna validation systems like this anywhere in the world, and ours was the first. The ATS system lets us test the antenna systems on the GMC Yukon Denali in virtually every possible real-world condition. What would take other automakers days of testing can be done in minutes with this system.

According to General Motors, the gigantic, first-of-its-kind signal-testing facility was created to “optimize satellite antenna design and placement” and to “keep data, cellular and other signals active in areas where wireless signal strength is limited.”

The massive ATS, resembling half of the St. Louis Gateway Arch, transmits signals from 103 discrete probes to a vehicle on a rotating platform below. GM’s 2011 Yukon Denali will be one of the first vehicles to benefit from this new technology.

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Insignia NS-HD01 HD Radio - Only FM HD radio or satellite radio

HD Radio sounds better than satellite, Internet, or analog AM and FM radio. Have you heard it yet? Chances are a few of your local AM or FM stations broadcast HD Radio signals, but they probably don't mention that fact on the air. To find out if your local stations are HD, check with iBiquity Digital, the company that licenses the technology. HD Radio--unlike digital satellite radio--has no subscription fee.

The Insignia NS-HD01 ($50) portable HD Radio's sound quality is a big step up from most mini radios, and it's the least expensive way to listen to HD Radio. Once it's locked onto an HD Radio signal, background hiss and noise vanish.

I listened to the NS-HD01 with a bunch of sets of headphones, including some of the best high-end custom in-ear models from JH Audio, Ultimate Ears, and Westone. Once the NS-HD01 is locked onto one of the better-sounding HD Radio stations, like WBGO or WNYC, the sound quality was a big step up from FM. Stereo separation and overall clarity were good enough to satisfy my audiophile tastes.

When I was on the move through New York City streets the NS-HD01 repeatedly lost the digital signal and switched back and forth between analog and digital sound. So it's clear that HD Radio technology doesn't improve reception. The NS-HD01's analog sound quality is still decent, but the analog and digital switch-overs might be a deal breaker for some buyers. The NS-HD01 is FM-only; it doesn't receive AM or AM HD Radio signals.

The radio is tiny, just 3.07x2.06x0.63 inches, but not so small that it's difficult to use. The front face is dominated by an easy-to-read 1.5-inch color LCD screen that's surrounded by nine control buttons. I found the radio easy to use and it was easy to toggle up or down through my presets. A rocker switch on the right side controls volume and mute.

The NS-HD01 is powered by a (not user-replaceable) rechargeable lithium ion battery. The recharging port is a standard Mini-USB connection, so you can charge the battery on your computer. The battery is rated for 10 hours of playback, and the screen auto-dims to save energy. Accessories include a Velcro armband, earbud headphones, and a USB cable.

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