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MPEG Surround Aired Over HD Radio

Boston — A classic rock station here is the first radio station to broadcast in stereo-compatible MPEG surround on its main digital HD-Radio channel, but it’s not the first U.S. radio station to broadcast in surround.

Boston’s WZLX-FM began broadcasting select songs this week in 5.1-channel MPEG Surround over its HD-Radio signal to prototype receivers provided by the Fraunhofer Institute to Bose, Boston Acoustics and Tivoli for evaluation.

Prior to that launch, 61 classical FM stations began broadcasting select works in stereo-compatible 5.1-channel Neural-THX Surround over the air and over the Web. The classical stations that converted to digital HD Radio are broadcasting Neural-THX Surround over their digital and analog signals. The broadcasts can be decoded by commercially available home A/V receivers incorporating the Neural decoder.

For the WZLX broadcasts, Telos’ Axia division provided the integrated digital multichannel studio infrastructure. Telos is demonstrating the technology at this week’s National Association of Broadcasters convention.

Said Telos managing director Denny Sanders, “J.D. Power and Associates’ research has confirmed that surround sound is at the top of the list of the entertainment features that new car buyers want in their next vehicle.”Many cars already have DVD surround sound systems, and surround is available through HDTV sets, he said. “Radio audio should not take a back seat to TV audio, should it?”he added.