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Turn on the radio and you won't hear much about IBOC. Why is that? I've asked around over the last few weeks, and talked with lots of different experts interested in the impact of digital radio in the US, and most people agree that IBOC is not reported on by the general media because it's just too technical. Well, when I look over the pages and pages of notes I have in front of me, it seems that it is a pretty technical issue - nevertheless, I think it's also something that more people should know about - especially any people who rely on radio for their news, information, and entertainment.
Here's a briefing of what you might expect from IBOC. In a nutshell, IBOC is short for In-Band/On-Channel digital audio broadcasting (or IBOC DAB). Rather than getting into the technical jargon, suffice it to say, that IBOC is the technology agreed upon by the majority of radio broadcasters in the US for the transition of digital AM and FM radio broadcasts. IBOC differs from XM and Sirius satellite radio in that it is intended to work on the same bands that you already listen to. In other words, you don't have to pay a subscription to receive thesebroadcasts.
One of the reasons, IBOC was chosen as the optimal digital technology for the US, has to do with the ability to keep stations at the current locations on the FM and AM dial. IBOC will allow broadcasters to keep their current station settings by essentially sandwiching the digital signal within the analog signal. The analog signal, which you hear now on your radio, will act like a host or carrier for the digital signal. Ideally, this signal sandwich will allow for a gradual transition from the current analog signal to a full digital transmission sometime in the future.