AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Sept. 12, 2003 — Today at IBC2003, Microsoft Corp., Capital Radio PLC, NTL Broadcast and RadioScape Ltd. announced a trial period that will bring 5.1-channel surround sound to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) in the United Kingdom. The trial period will involve live Internet Protocol (IP) datacasting of Microsoft® Windows Media®
Audio 9 Professional (WMA Pro) 5.1-channel content over L-Band in the central London area starting October 2003. The trial is expected to last for approximately six months, bringing a true 5.1 experience to DAB for the first time.
Starting in October, Capital Radio will provide surround-sound content encoded in WMA Pro for the trial. The trial will be broadcast over L-Band in London using NTL Broadcast’s special DAB trial multiplex, and is expected to be able to be received throughout the central London area. The high compression efficiency of WMA Pro makes it possible to deliver 5.1-channel surround sound at bit-rates as low as 128 Kbps. This greatly expands the potential distribution options for 5.1-channel content beyond those of other technologies. WMA Pro will be streamed from Windows Server (TM) 2003 and then broadcast using IP datacasting via the DAB transport stream.
“This trial enables us to work alongside industry leaders in the United Kingdom, including Capital Radio, NTL, and RadioScape, to take the first steps in delivering high-quality 5.1-channel surround sound over DAB,” said Jonathan Usher, director of the Windows®
Digital Media Division at Microsoft.
“This trial illustrates how Windows Media 9 Series can work with current open digital broadcast standards such as DAB to help drive new business models and consumer services.”
“It’s important to our broadcast customers that we anticipate their future technology requirements, so we’re always pleased to be involved in leading-edge trials and in particular to support the development of DAB digital radio,”
said Simon Mason, head of new product development at NTL Broadcast.
“The high quality and compression efficiencies of Windows Media 9 Series make 5.1-channel surround sound over DAB a reality.”
“Capital Radio is extremely pleased to be participating in this DAB trial, as our listeners will for the first time be able to hear Capital in London broadcasting in CD quality with surround sound,”
said Nathalie Schwarz, director of strategy and development at Capital Radio.
“We are excited to be the leading content partner on this innovative trial with NTL using Windows Media 9 Series and believe there will be demonstrable benefits for both our listeners and advertisers.”
Two RadioScape DAB receiver designs that deliver 5.1-channel audio DAB data streams are currently in commercial production. These designs include Modular Technology’s new L-Band DAB PCI card and the Gyro-1112 DAB receiver module from GyroSignal Technology Co. Ltd., both of which interface with a PC for the final stage of the 5.1 audio decoding.
“This is a major innovation for DAB and provides listeners with a greatly enhanced DAB listening experience,”
said Dave Hawkins, business manager for digital radio at RadioScape Ltd.
“Windows Media 9 Series offers an excellent compression system and partners well with our software-designed DAB radio architecture to enable us to add 5.1 audio capability to our family of module designs in the future.”
WMA Pro 5.1 channel DAB over a single data channel will be demonstrated for the first time at IBC 2003 in Amsterdam Sept. 12–16. The 5.1 audio services from Capital Radio in the United Kingdom will be demonstrated in real time by NTL Broadcast at its Stand 259 in Hall 1 as a wider demonstration of the capabilities of WM9S in the delivery of broadcast content, and also by RadioScape in Stand 355 in Hall 8, giving visitors an advance preview of the London trial. This follows the pioneering demonstration by NTL Broadcast of Windows Media Video over DAB at NAB 2003 in April in Las Vegas.
About Capital Radio
Capital Radio plc is the UK’s most successful radio group operating a portfolio of complimentary radio brands in key metropolitan areas throughout the UK. Capital brands include the Capital FM network, the Century Network, the Capital Gold Network and Xfm. In addition to its analogue brands the group is a leading player in digital radio. Positioned as a multiplex owner and service provider the group holds the largest number of digital licenses in the UK. Capital’s digital only brands include the national adult contemporary station Life and Capital Disney, a format aimed at the under 14’s which was launched with Walt Disney International in 2002.
About NTL Broadcast
The Broadcast division of NTL has a 48-year history in transmission and has helped pioneer the technologies of the digital age. 22 million UK homes receive ITV, Channel 4 and ‘Five’ via NTL’s broadcast transmitter networks. NTL Broadcast also provides transmission for most UK independent radio stations, both analogue and digital. NTL provides end-to-end media solutions to the broadcast industry across terrestrial, cable and satellite platforms. This includes satellite uplinking, satellite newsgathering, outside broadcast facilities, programme presentation, play-out and distribution. Further information can be found at http://www.ntlbroadcast.com/ .
Ltd. is one of the world leaders in Software Defined (TM) solutions for Digital Radio applications. RadioScape simplifies the creation of wireless receivers and transmission infrastructure for digital radio, partners with Texas Instruments to create digital radio chips for consumer products, and designs its own family of DAB/FM modules including the RadioScape RS200 (TM) . Founded in 1996, RadioScape’s investors include Royal Bank Ventures, Scottish Equity Partners, Atlas Venture, JAFCO, Texas Instruments, Yasuda Enterprise Development, iGlobe Partners, Psion and NTL. RadioScape is headquartered in London, England, and has an office in Scottsdale, Arizona. For more information, please visit http://www.radioscape.com/ .
About Windows Media
Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, used by consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations throughout the world. The Windows Media 9 Series platform includes Windows Media Player 9 Series; Windows Media Services 9 Series, the powerful streaming server feature in Windows Server 2003 for distributing content; Windows Media Encoder 9 Series for content creation; Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series for the best-quality audio and video; Windows Media Digital Rights Management to help protect content; and the Windows Media Software Development Kit for software developers to develop digital media products and services. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is now the leading media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/ .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.
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