It’s only a matter of time, and NDS is working on it now. At The NAB Radio Show in Charlotte, RBR sat down with Tom Rucktenwald, NDS Director of US Data Applications Delivers to discuss NDS’s technology which is being licensed by the major equipment manufacturers for their Conditional Access offerings. Conditional Access allows broadcasters to limit content on HD streams to those which have paid for them or have special access to the content. Everything from live concerts to reading for the blind services.
Rucktenwald told us the process for conditional access technology in the receivers is still being rolled out. The first step-the "security chip"-has already been developed by LG Electronics and is moving into new receivers soon. The second stage will be a single chip with the encrypted conditional access ability. Receivers already out there today will not notice the conditional access channels. They just won’t be able to receive the content. Remember, an HD multicast channel can be free all day long and kick in a conditional access program anytime. If you’re addressable receiver is one that’s authorized, the content will come through.
Speaking of addressable, yes, Rucktenwald says the technology is here for HD Radio, just like for local cable ad inserts. They are currently working on getting it into the hardware for future radios. Other than that, all we need is the user to provide opt-in information; a small amount of memory space in the receiver and HD signal; and the industry needs a supplier to step up with an advertising service to tag the ads.
RBR/TVBR observation: When addressability becomes available to advertisers and agencies, it will put HD Radio on par with internet and television-no waste of messages being heard by the disinterested. Zit cream ads will go to the 12-18 years olds on an Alternative station; an insurance ad will be delivered to a 40-year-old who’s listening. The south side of a market will hear their local Toyota dealer ads; listeners on the north end of town will hear about a different set of dealerships.