Originally Posted by milehighmike
The FCC just posted (5-31-07) a comprehensive document on HD radio. See http://fcc.gov/mb
and open the Order. Of particular interest to this thread are references to ancillary subscription services at the bottom of page 19 continued on page 20 and on page 45.
Although not on topic for this thread, page 37 denotes approval of nighttime AM HD operations, which I recollect was the subject of an earlier thread.
Thanks for the info. However, the url link you posted did not work for me using IE7 on my Windows Vista machine. It should be http://www.fcc.gov/mb
After a quick read of this document, here is what I understand from it (my summary of the pertinent concerns we have discussed in this thread only)
The radio stations are allowed total freedom (within FCC DAB rules) of what and how they want to use the HD Radio channels as long as they provide one FREE main HD1 channel that is equal or better in audio quality to their main analog broadcast and also that it be the same content (simulcast) as their analog content. They are free to choose to use the full 96kbs HD bandwidth for a single high quality audio free broadcast HD1 channel or they can choose to multicast by dividing up that available HD bandwidth to broadcast lower bit rate (read lower audio quality) subchannels. They are free to decide what format, content, they think is the best and most successful for their segment of interests and service to consumers. They are free to change and experiment (at this time) with those subchannels. The radio stations themselves will decide on charging for paid subscription services or FREE service. The FCC will stay out of those decisions leaving it to each individual station and market to decide on what is the best model.
As for AM radio night time HD broadcasts (Full time), it is approved and allowed now with no need for the radio stations to re-apply for permission to do so. From what I understand, all AM stations can just start broadcasting FULL Time now. I don't know why here in NYC, the AM stations still stop broadcasting in HD after about 07:30pm to 08:00pm. They must not be keeping up with the new rules and regulations readings! I will check tonight to see if AM HD radio still stops at night or if any AM station (in the NYC area) has adopted the new ruling.
Now, my only concern is the mention or implication in this FCC documentation that there is only 96kbits for the total HD channel bandwidth and that stations can choose to use (as in take away, reduce) any amount of that 96kbits to reallocate some kbits to their multicast HD2, HD3, etc. channels for lower audio quality services. There is no mention anywhere in the doc that gave me the impression that there is 150kbits total bandwidth for HD broadcast signals... (I have not read up on IBOC technical specs at all and am too lazy to go that deep in research right now, so I don't know for sure if there will be 150kbits or is it just 96kbits tops for audio quality and sharing more bits to subchannels).
In a nutshell, though, FCC seems to be fairly open minded to how FREE HD and pay for listen terrestrial radio will pan out and develop. It will be up to the stations and the listeners (us) to decide and vote in dollars spent (or dollars made) ultimately.