for Car Electronics Business
First Consumer High Definition Radio Tuner in U.S. Goes on Sale.
Models for Terrestrial Digital Broadcasts Follow Models for Digital Satellite Broadcasts.
Kenwood Corporation (Haruo Kawahara, President, headquartered in Hachioji, Tokyo) announces the development of the industry's first consumer car audio tuner for terrestrial digital high definition radio broadcasts, which recently began in the United States. The new tuner is the first product of its type of appear on the North American market.
Note: See the second half of this news release for information on high definition radio.
Kenwood's Involvement with High Definition Radio
Since its founding Kenwood has worked to develop high-performance radio receiver technology by making use of its own original ideas. The shift to digital broadcasting in recent years brings with it substantial new business opportunities, and the company has been developing several different types of digital broadcast tuners while continuing to do research on new transmission technologies.
In January 1994 Kenwood joined the Eureka 147 Project, a consortium devoted to the development and promotion of a new terrestrial digital broadcasting standard for Europe called DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting). In February 1996 Kenwood became the first Japanese manufacturer to put on the market measuring equipment designed for the DAB standard, and in June 1997 the first Japanese manufacturer to release a car audio receiver with a DAB tuner for the consumer market.
Then, in response to plans to begin digital satellite broadcasting in the United States in March 2000, Kenwood signed an agreement to develop digital satellite broadcast receivers with SIRIUS Satellite Radio. In February of 2002, timed to coincide with the launch of satellite broadcasting by SIRIUS, Kenwood released on the consumer market a car audio receiver incorporating a SIRIUS tuner. By the end of December 2003 a total of 25,000 units had been shipped, making Kenwood the leading manufacturer of SIRIUS tuners. Acting in partnership with SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Kenwood has helped contribute to the popularization of digital satellite broadcasting in the United States and to the success of SIRIUS as a company.
The new high definition radio tuner is the result of a development agreement signed in October 2002 with iBiquity Digital Corporation of the United States, a proponent of the IBOC (In-Band On-Channel) system. Under this agreement, Kenwood has worked on the development of IBOC compatible terrestrial digital broadcast receiver products, while iBiquity has been responsible for developing the broadcasting system itself and building the necessary infrastructure. Conventional AM/FM broadcasting has a history of more than 80 years, and during that time advances in broadcasting and receiver technology have continued to be made. However, the new IBOC terrestrial digital broadcast system supersedes conventional radio technology. The new standard gives Kenwood the opportunity to make the most of its existing radio technology, built up over many years, and of advanced digital technology as well.
The new high definition radio tuner is available as an option that can be added to a Kenwood car audio receiver. Work on further reducing the size and weight of the tuner is presently underway, and a car audio receiver with a built-in IBOC tuner will be on display as a reference exhibit at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas between January 8th and 11th. As with the SIRIUS satellite broadcast tuners, Kenwood sees bringing out popularly priced in-dash models of the new IBOC tuner as an essential step in order to expand the market for such products and boost sales. The company plans to continue expanding its lineup of in-dash radio tuner products for the American market in the months and years ahead.
The KTC-HR100 is the first car audio tuner for the consumer market that is compatible with the new IBOC terrestrial digital high definition radio broadcasting system developed by iBiquity Digital Corporation of the United States. Available as an option that can be added to a Kenwood car audio receiver, it can receive both the new digital broadcasts and conventional analog broadcasts. By adding the new tuner to an existing Kenwood car audio receiver, users can enjoy a variety of programs in CD quality sound in areas where high definition radio broadcasting is available. If the digital radio signal is weak, or if the car is in an area where high definition radio broadcasts are not available, the tuner switches automatically to conventional FM/AM reception. This allows the user to enjoy a wide range of broadcast offerings without having to worry about complicated settings or operations.
Reception frequencies: FM 87.9 MHz-107.9 MHz / AM 530 kHz-1,700 kHz
Power supply voltage: 14.4 V (11-16 V)
Current consumption: 500 mA
External dimensions: 188.5 (W) X 30.0 (H) X 145.5 (D) mm
About High Definition Radio
There is an enormous number of radio stations in the United Sates, and it is estimated that there are presently some 700 million radio tuners. A large percentage of these are car radios, and each year some 30 million car radio tuners are sold.
Recent years have seen a continuing trend for radio stations to switch from analog to digital broadcasting. In September 2001 XM Satellite Radio became the first to begin digital satellite broadcasting. XM Satellite was followed in February 2002 by SIRIUS. At present these two companies have more than 1.2 million subscribers (of whom 200,000 are SIRIUS subscribers), and the market continues to grow.
In contrast, high definition radio employs the IBOC (In-Band On-Channel) terrestrial digital broadcasting system developed by iBiquity Digital Corporation. It was approved in October 2002 by the Federal Communications Commission, and broadcasting began in spring 2003 in six metropolitan areas: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, and Seattle. At present nearly 300 radio stations have entered agreements with the service and approximately two-thirds of the broadcast area of the United States is covered.
The IBOC system used for high definition radio overlays digital signals onto conventional analog radio waves. This means there is no need to allocate new frequency bands for digital broadcasting; digital signals can be broadcast on the frequency bands currently used for AM and FM radio broadcasts. The system allows a radio station to upgrade to CD quality sound without altering its existing service area. In addition, high definition radio is free, like conventional AM and FM radio broadcasts, while a subscription fee is required to receive digital satellite broadcasts. There is no need to install a special antenna to receive high definition radio broadcasts. Furthermore, unlike digital satellite, high definition radio is suitable for the broadcasting of audio content tailored to specific regions, and it can also be used to transmit data. It therefore represents a new potential revenue source for radio stations and a new source of information for users.
Overview of iBiquity Digital Corporation
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