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12 August 2003 PR 03/66

dDAB commences multimedia DAB Digital Radio trials

The dDAB consortium is pleased to announce the first live consumer trials for multimedia radio in the UK. Consumers will be able to listen to various live audio channels whilst at the same time viewing synchronised visual content delivered via DAB Digital Radio data streams. The aim of the trials is to assess the quality, relevance and effectiveness of the visual data delivered in conjunction with the audio. These are the first trials of their kind in the UK.

The trials will be taking place in London and Loughborough and will be utilising NTL:Broadcast’s experimental L-Band Multiplex and a research Multiplex at Loughborough University. Using proprietary software and content developed by the consortium, a mixture of audio and visuals will be broadcast to a defined user group. Trial programmes will include an educational programme about Astronomy and a comedy programme. In addition, throughout the trial period visual content including various banner ads and sponsorship messages will be broadcast alongside Virgin Radio’s Liquid DAB Digital Radio station integrating directly with the live audio stream. Iain Duncumb of the IMPACT Research Group said, “DAB Digital Radio allows for the broadcast of audio with pictures and text and is ideally suited for mobile environments. This will mean that in the near future radio listeners will be able to receive additional information such as, images of scoreboards, interactive adverts, artist biographies and other contact information. It is important not only to develop the right software to be able to broadcast this additional information but also to be able to ask the consumer what they would like to see – these trials will achieve this”

Lee Roberts, Sales Director of Virgin Radio commented “ It is not the intention of these trials to change the fundamental nature of radio. What we are offering is the chance for radio consumers to enhance their audio experience by allowing them to capture information that would ordinarily be lost as the audio broadcast moves on”

Matthew Honey, Managing Director of Unique Interactive said “DAB Digital radio already offers radio consumers simple information such as the track currently playing and the track to come, via the scrolling text - through this project though we can now offer a much greater level of interaction. This has benefits to radio listeners and to all DAB Digital Radio broadcasters, both from the commercial and the public sector”

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For further information contact:

Notes to Editors
The dDAB consortium is developing synchronised visual media and interactivity to add value to existing radio broadcasts. The consortium has been supported by a £350k grant from the DTI and EPSRC and includes Unique Interactive, Virgin Radio, Nucleus Digital and TTPCom. The project is managed by the IMPACT Research Group at Loughborough University.

Further information on the dDAB Project and consortium can be found at http://www.ddab.co.uk

The IMPACT research group in the Computer Science Department at Loughborough University is directed by Professor James L Alty and combines a core skill in Human Computer Interaction with technical experience in digital broadcasting and telecoms. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, and strong links with industry. The University has been awarded four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; and for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development.

TTPCom develops technology intellectual property used in the design and manufacture of wireless communication terminals. TTPCom has developed a comprehensive range of software products and with its silicon partners offers state-of-the-art radio and baseband chipsets to major manufacturers worldwide. Further details can be found at http://www.ttpcom.com

Unique Interactive is one of the leading data delivery developers in the UK, specialising in DAB Digital Radio data, multimedia content delivery and online media archiving. The company supplies DAB Digital Radio data solutions and Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) management, online media delivery and archiving services to a wide variety of clients. Further information can be found at http://www.uniqueinteractive.co.uk Unique Interactive is part of the UBC Media Group plc, a UK public company. The group is a market leader in the supply of content to the radio, Internet and digital television industries in the UK.

Virgin Radio, has a weekly audience of over 2.7 million listeners and broadcasts on 1215AM nation-wide and 105.8FM in London and the South East. Virgin Radio is the world’s most popular web radio station and it is wholly owned by SMG plc. Visit our website at http://www.virginradio.co.uk Virgin Radio is a pioneer in new media innovation, having been investors in DAB since 1995. Virgin Radio was the first radio station in Europe to stream online, the world's first radio station to launch its own WAP site and experimented with broadcasting over 3G in 1999.

Nucleus Digital Broadcasting (NDB) is a small production company specialising in factual television and multi-media production. NDB's main area of business is the production of programmes about science and technology. Its interest in dDAB is the development of a new platform that can offer the producer and broadcaster a cost-effective, imaginative and interactive approach to educational broadcasting.


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