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TDF backs traffic system for pay radio


Published: 1 June, 2012


This week a second bidder for the pay radio spectrum offered by French regulator the CSA emerged in detail, with broadcast services player TDF offering a system which combines real time traffic update, with a device which can read out eNewspapers as you drive, along with 30 paid radio stations - all around an in -vehicle service rather like XM Satellite Radio in the US.

Three weeks ago our we carried details of the bid from Onde Numerique to offer a bouquet of 56 brand new radio channels plus 7 public service channels built around one touch storage of music tracks and one touch purchasing, but aimed almost entirely at French homes, not cars.

The TDF based bid, under the name "La Radio Numérique en Bande L" will harness another one of its subsidiaries Mediamobile, and breaks into two segments, the first being the media bundle, with the 30 radio stations, at a higher listening quality than FM radio, which will use many of the features that have been established in previous satellite radio systems such as catch-up radio, time shift and searching for programs by topic.

However the media bundle also offers a "read while you drive" package, with digitized articles from hardcopy newspapers and digital books using text-to-speech to read them to you over the radio - something we have not come across before.

But the Mobility bundle, the second offering which offers the traffic system is very similar to the one that was used to drive T-DMB to such immense success in South Korea, especially around the capital in Seoul. The system there used TPEG designed features (Transport Protocol Expert Group) - which includes the idea of real time traffic updates being broadcast to devices, either so they can be fed into a Personal Navigation System, or so drivers can plan their own routes to bypass busy areas. In Seoul the traffic reduction by this traffic system, launched with the Mobile TV service, was substantial and entirely the reason why 20 million people decided to buy into it. So there is method in the apparent madness of the TDF bid.

The system will offer real-time information on driving conditions, traffic alerts, road weather forecasts, fuel prices, and so on.

The French system will be awarded this Summer or Autumn and given that this is a beauty contest style of bidding, the two approaches could easily be merged by the regulator.

Mediamobile will run the TDF bid and also has other stakeholders, including Renault, and operates traffic services on FM radio in France, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Poland. If Renault immediately agrees to put pay radios in all of its cars, that will get the system off to a great start with an over 21% market share in French car sales.

If you wish to see this or any other Rethink TV article, as they originally appeared, in full, within our paid weekly service Faultline, then please go to and order a FREE copy of this week's issue.

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