Launching HD Sound

Monday 18 October 2010, 11:09

Tim Davie Tim Davie Director of Audio & Music

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The BBC Symphony Orchestra

As the leading players in the radio industry gather today in Salford for their annual get-together, much of the conversation will be about the topic of innovation. Listeners are currently very satisfied with radio services but digital technology does bring opportunities to keep improving what we offer. This summer, BBC Radio 3 completed a trial of a higher quality online audio stream at the Proms. A positive listener response led us to look at a permanent launch. Therefore, from the beginning of December, we will offer "HD Sound" (as we are calling it) on Radio 3 when you visit the station website and listen online. We will quickly assess the performance of this before making the higher quality stream available on iPlayer and the proposed radio industry player (called Radioplayer). Radio 3 listeners will get the benefit of the highest quality broadcast available anywhere. Interestingly, it was Radio 3 that led the charge in 1971 as radio moved to stereo, and once again it is excellent to see it at the forefront of innovation.

As with Stereo, I would expect to see further roll-outs of HD Sound over time and we have already announced that we will be trialling it for Radio 2 at the Electric Proms. I am expecting that the performances by Elton John,Robert Plant and Neil Diamond will all be available.

Tim Davie is the Director of Audio and Music at the BBC.

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    Comment number 1.

    If you would be kind enough to do this to BBC Radio 1Xtra, that would be most apreciated. It's not just classical music that benefits from higher quality.

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    Comment number 2.

    What will happen with streams for users outside the UK, presumably they will stay with streams equivalent to the uk current low bandwidth.

    Or will overseas users get choices of two or more bandwidths.

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    Comment number 3.

    You say We will quickly assess the performance of this before making the higher quality stream available on iPlayer and the proposed radio industry player (called Radioplayer).

    Have you any links to information BBC or external, about this develpment. Is it related to the YouView / Canvas or something entirely different ?

    It is mentioned in the press release of the 18th October you link to above and also I note in a press release from 2009
    "BBC and commercial radio unveil industry-wide Radioplayer" - http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/11_november/19/radio.shtml

    (

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    Comment number 4.

    Briantist, I'm told that Radio 3 is first with HD Sound mainly because of the very varied mix of audio on the station - from speech and drama through to classical, jazz and world music - so you're right to point out that it's not just for classical music. The other networks will be keeping an eye on the new service, I'm sure, and, as Tim points out, Radio 2 are going to be streaming audio at 320K for the Electric Proms.

    John99, all existing streams are unchanged - both for the UK and internationally. HD Sound is additional to the existing streams and won't replace them for the time being. International listeners won't be able to hear the HD stream.

    Mike Hill, MD of UK Radioplayer, provides more information about Radioplayer in his blog post from earlier this week. The HD stream won't be available on the Radioplayer to begin with. Andrew Orlowski in The Register also has more detail about Radioplayer.

    Steve Bowbrick, blogs editor

 

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