UK Digital Radio Receiver Means More Visualization Opportunities

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2016

UK digital radio manufacturer Pure has announced the Elan E3, a mid-price table-top DAB+ receiver which is the first at this price to include a color screen.

The radio, which carries the Digital Radio tickmark, contains a 2.8-inch, full-color TFT display capable of displaying the DAB SlideShow service, often dubbed SLS. The radio comes in a variety of colors and is priced at £49.99 (US $66) at Argos, a British high-street retailer.

This is the first time that a SlideShow-capable digital radio receiver has been available for under £50 and may stimulate UK broadcasters' interest in SlideShow functionality.

In a press release, Chris Walker, marketing manager at Pure, said: “The Elan E3 is the perfect introduction into digital radio for users that haven’t yet experienced the diverse range of great content in highly-detailed, digital-quality sound. With an increasing number of digital radio stations broadcasting information and graphics, it’s not only great sound you get, but more information at your fingertip, and in full colour.”

The Elan E3 isn't internet-connected. Instead, images for SlideShow are broadcast within the PAD of an existing audio broadcast, or as a signaled secondary service component. SlideShow allows JPG and PNG images to be broadcast, either as a simple instant slideshow or a timed, cached service. These images are broadcast in 320x240 pixels in landscape format.

Radio stations broadcasting SlideShow in Pure's home country of the UK are, however, relatively few: Only two stations in London carry SlideShow broadcasts due to capacity issues. However, a trial multiplex in Portsmouth is producing SlideShow for some of its services.

The UK is mostly using the older MP2 audio encoding format for its DAB transmission, though additional DAB+ services, which use aacPlus, are beginning to be launched.

SlideShow is more commonly used in DAB+ countries in Europe and Australia, where many services are carrying some form of images, including news, station logos, weather forecasts and limited advertising.

SlideShow support is unusual for lower-priced receivers. It was available on the Revo PiXiS, a similarly-sized receiver released in 2012, which cost over twice the price of the Elan E3. It's also available on the LG Stylus 2, a DAB+ enabled mobile phone which launched earlier this year for £219 (US $290) off-contract.
Approximately 42% of UK adults listen to DAB digital radio every week, according to research, accounting for over 30% of all time spent listening in the country (RAJAR: Q1/2016).


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