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ABI reports on digital radio

Digital radio gained traction in 2004 as broadcasters and equipment vendors saw consumers warming up to the new technology, according to “Digital Radio Automotive Markets,” a new study from ABI Research Inc.

The report focuses on automotive markets, examining the major digital radio protocols and how they address mobile receivers. It dissects business issues, trends and technological advancements in detail, along with their potential market impact.

Attracted by falling IC prices and by digital radio’s efficient spectrum use, which promises more channels and more revenue-generating data services, equipment makers are flocking to the new market, according to Frank Viquez, ABI’s director of automotive research. Automobiles as well as radios and handheld devices are receiving CD-quality audio, video and data broadcasts from satellites or towers.

That’s especially true in Europe, where analog FM and AM are being replicated by Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM). Those technologies that will eventually replace the analog platforms that have been in place for nearly 100 years.

Viquez says digital radio's draw cards include dramatically improved audio quality, new revenues from specialized programming, and commercial data services such as real-time traffic information.

This year marks the introduction of satellite radio-enabled dynamic navigation services through XM Satellite Radio's new NavTraffic Service. "Traffic data services are inexpensive to combine with an automotive telematics offering because the infrastructure is already there,” he says. “Also, you don't have to pay for air-time as you do with cellular."

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