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RadioDNS enables Switching between Broadcast and IP

September 15th, 2011 by Nick Piggott

I’m really pleased to say that in (nearly) simultaneous presentations today in London and Chicago, the RadioDNS project demonstrated automatic switching between broadcast radio and IP streaming on a mobile phone / cellphone. It’s the most obvious demonstration so far of how the project can use IP in a way that compliments broadcast radio, rather than competes against it.

The principles are quite simple. Through RadioDNS, your radio can discover a short piece of information that describes all the ways your radio station can be received (FM, DAB, DAB+, HD, IP Streaming), and your preference for which should take priority. All that configuration is held on your servers – RadioDNS (as usual) is just providing the facility for a radio to find your server.

Once it’s got that information, your radio can decide that best way to tune into radio for you, where you are now. So if you have a good FM signal, it will use that, and if the signal fades away, it will switch automatically to IP streaming. When FM gets good again, it switches back. There’s information provided to help the radio accommodate the different delays between platforms, to make the switch almost seamless.

It also enables the “One Preset” button. Your one station preset can find your station wherever you are in the world, moving easily between broadcast and IP. That should make it possible to have service orientated navigation, rather than forcing users to decide to choose between FM, HD/DAB or IP before getting a list of stations.

Here’s a video of it in action in Chicago, IL.

If you’re a broadcaster, we’re going to be providing a tool at the beginning of this week to create a test entry for your station to enable the switching. We’re also aiming to provide some apps for relevant mobile phones.

Everything you need to know about implementing Switching is in our proposed RadioEPG specification. And of course, there’s lots of helpful people in our mailing list to answer specific questions to.

Alongside RadioVIS (adding visuals), RadioEPG (adding programming information), and RadioTAG (open tagging platform), I think this creates a brilliant and exciting enhancement to broadcast radio.

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