DTS HD Radio

Amid a bright, bold show floor display at CES, within reach of the major automakers in the Las Vegas Convention Center, DTS and subsidiary HD Radio showcased a host of new innovations. Perhaps most pointedly, it included a demonstration of the company’s Connected Radio platform.

“This is a much more holistic view of radio, outside of HD Radio, and is really an all-new product for DTS. It can be viewed as a global analog-digital-with-a-little-bit-of-IP-metadata-added solution,” said Steve Cowherd, VP of OEM Business Development for DTS.

The Connected Radio platform combines over-the-air FM radio, HD Radio and IP-delivered content to innovate the AM/FM analog/HD experience in the car to become more personalized, predictive and feature-filled.

Among the coolest, most welcome features of the platform’s prototype product demo is a display that includes every local station logo and format in order of frequency across the dial, including HD-1 and HD-2 signals, as well as an option to sort local stations by genre.

Utilizing an IP feed through a listener’s smartphone in the car, as a song is playing, he or she can easily access the vehicle’s touchscreen to “like” (or not) the track—which sends a message directly to the host radio station. Listeners can also share a song via their social media Facebook and Twitter accounts with the touch of a button. In addition, there is an option to bookmark songs for later purchase.

And perhaps most impressive, the technology will offer a new feature for AM/FM radio called station forwarding. DTS is working with iHeartMedia on the technology which Cowherd explains thusly: “If you’re listening to a radio station driving from L.A. and you’ve gone 50 miles, up will pop a button that asks if you want to continue listening to this same content over IP,” he tells Inside Radio. “So on my way to Las Vegas, I can listen to my favorite DJ or the Los Angeles Dodgers game the entire way, beyond the coverage area.”

Cowherd stresses that the ultimate product is designed to be “very versatile for OEMs. Every OEM wants their own look and feel, and this allows for that. They can make this display match their existing radio technology. We give them the inputs and they determine where the output will be on the screen.”

Connected Radio is currently being discussed with a number of global OEM automobile manufacturer partners. In the U.S., NextRadio is working with DTS on the project. Cowherd said that it has commitments around the world to move forward with Connected Radio in North America, Western Europe, Hong Kong and Australia.

The time line right now is an API will be ready this month. From a customer standpoint, the group is going to the OEMs and working to foster that business, ultimately, with an intended rollout in late 2018.