Mix: DRM, French law, Gratis Internet, HD Radio | iLounge News


Mix: DRM, French law, Gratis Internet, HD Radio

An MP3.com report says that purchased music wrapped in digital rights management (DRM) technology drains your iPod battery faster than regular audio files.

While French lawmakers have discussed forcing companies such as Apple to open up their proprietary music formats, they have yet to offer an official proposal on the matter for voting.

Despite promises to never sell or transfer its huge list of contacts, Gratis Internet, best known for its “Free iPod” pyramid schemes, has sold 7.2 million Americans’ names, e-mail addresses, home phone numbers and street addresses to e-mail marketing giant Datran Media.

Mercury Radio Research has released the results of a survey of 1,000 people about HD Radio and the iPod: “Given the choice between the two technologies at the same price, better than 50% preferred HD over the iPod.”

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Am I the only person who doesn’t know what HD Radio is?

Posted by Brian on March 17, 2006 at 11:22 AM (CST)


It’s digital radio as far as I’m concerned, in the UK it’s called DAB. Supposedly CD quality sound, and loads of stations…

Posted by silver_haze20 on March 17, 2006 at 12:42 PM (CST)


So, basically the same thing as sattelite radio? (XM, Sirius)

Posted by Brian on March 17, 2006 at 12:47 PM (CST)


No, HD Radio is a higher-quality digital broadcast format being adopted by terrestrial FM stations. HD radio is to terrestrial FM radio as HDTV is to standard over-the-air NTSC TV (i.e., your local NBC, CBS, etc. stations).

Posted by Fangorn on March 17, 2006 at 1:10 PM (CST)


“Despite promises to never sell or transfer its huge list of contacts, Gratis Internet, best known for its “Free iPod

Posted by m.sherman on March 17, 2006 at 1:19 PM (CST)


HD Radio vs iPod….. some overlap but not entirely a replacement. Does HD Radio work on an airplane? Is it available on all of those beaches iPods tend to frequent as seen in the “iPods Around the World” galleries section? Does HD radio fix the most annoying problem with current FM technology, DJs who feel the need to talk during the beginning of a song up to the point of the first word of the lyrics being sung? Or for that matter…. DJs who talk.

Posted by IGreen on March 17, 2006 at 2:06 PM (CST)


HD Radio preferred by folks who don’t mind someone else choosing the playlist???

Posted by Aceon6 on March 17, 2006 at 2:11 PM (CST)


I agree with aceon6.  Radio (and even lately satellite radio) is still someone else picking a play list.  Where there is someone else doing this and a need to make money there will always be a label greasing the wheels to adjust the playlist.  :(

Posted by Jim on March 17, 2006 at 2:48 PM (CST)


HD radio touts higher quality sound but the sad fact is that it isn’t really.

Just like Satellite (I own Sirius) the bottom line is what counts, and to fit more stations on a frequency, one must give up bandwidth.

Think 64kbps radio over CD quality.  128 tops.

Posted by Adam on March 17, 2006 at 4:07 PM (CST)


Hmmmm going to the website of the surveys origin yields interesting reading and commentary. Things like….

“First, this was a trade-off specific to these two items. Ideally, such a trade-off should include items which are functionally equivalent - that is, they should deliver the same benefit. In this case, I don’t think they do. A better question would be to trade-off the preference for “HD Radio” vs. the radios we all have now. Or iPods vs. another brand of mp3 player. It could be argued this tradeoff is like asking folks which they’d rather have, an iron or an HD Radio?”


“It’s a little slice of PR, George. Nothing more.”

and finally

“More data from Mercury’s HD Radio study is available

...but we will not be releasing it for FREE.”

Posted by igreen on March 17, 2006 at 4:30 PM (CST)


Regarding the DRM thing: I think this is a bit misleading, or at least their reporting has failed to completely describe the comprehensiveness of their tests. They’re comparing DRM protected WMA and AAC files against unprotected MP3s and presuming that the DRM is causing the slowdown. But there’s two factors operating here: The file format and the DRM. Generally, any codec that offers higher quality at a lower filesize will tend to require more processing power as a trade off, which in turn requires more juice. So unless they compare unprotected to protected WMAs and unprotected to protected AACs, this is a totally unreliable statement. As I understand it, the iPod barely considers the DRM during playback, and even if it does its only for a brief moment at the beginning of playback, wheras it must deal with decompression for the entire duration of the song/video, etc. So, I seriously doubt the DRM is to blame for the difference in battery life except for perhaps a tiny fraction of it.

Posted by Mark Kawakami on March 17, 2006 at 11:32 PM (CST)


Radio is radio, it can’t be compared to iPod. With my iPod I listen to what I want, not to crappy radios…

Posted by Steph on March 18, 2006 at 5:28 AM (CST)


HD Radio uses 96K HC-AAC I believe.  Should be comparable to 128K AAC files from iTunes.  The problem with it, though, is it is still free.  You’ll get the narrowcasting satellite offers, as long there is enough support to pay for it from advertisers. 

Also, I expect most of the stations be variations on Jack FM, just with a much narrower focus.

Posted by Matt on March 18, 2006 at 4:29 PM (CST)


RE:Mark Kawakami

The DRM issue is proven to be true. Take the Creative Vision M for example. In test DRM WMA (from subscription services) drains the battery faster than regular wma. It’s subscription based DRM that notacibly drains the battery. Another reason not to use subscription services. iTunes DRM isn’t that much of a battery drainer. So DRM draining the battery is more of a concern to people who use wma. Ipod users are pretty safe. I’ve done test using protected AAC and unprotected AAC. There was no noticable differance.

Posted by Glorybox3737 on March 18, 2006 at 10:02 PM (CST)


HDRadio? Is this a joke or what?  Trying to be HDTV, come on.  Comparing iPod with it is ridiculous.  iPod is about freedom on what you can put on your playlist.  Listening to the radio is the thing of the past.  I like me being the dj, not someone else.  The point is iPod or other mp3 players in that regards is what is all about and making your own compilation or playlist.  That’s where the fun of listening.  HDRadio is just another hyped up radio such as sirius or XM satellite.  I think one of them is going bankrupt now, isn’t it?

Posted by Oliver on March 19, 2006 at 3:53 AM (CST)


Oliver: HD Radio is essentially the next evolution in broadcast radio. It requires all-new equipment, but promises vastly improved digital sound quality over a much more compressed bandwidth than conventional FM signals. Under current standards, I believe this allows up to three separate broadcast signals to use the same location on the radio dial (standard on-air, HD2, HD3).

Why HD Radio has its supporters is obvious; aside from the new equipment, there’s room for a LOT more stations and signal, and more importantly, the content is free and sounds far better than any previous terrestrial broadcast content. However, there’s still the ads and station breaks and the usual ‘radio’ stuff. But to quite a few people, this is not all that much of an inconvenience, particularly if one listens to radio for information as much if not more so than for the music.

As for Sirius and XM; they ain’t bad if you’ve ever tried it. No, you don’t own the music, but it’s not that much different than if you loaded up a DAP and set it to random play as long as you stick to specific music genres (of course, there’s ever increasing commercials showing up, too). Both have solid support from the equipment manufacturers such as the auto industry (both oem and aftermarket) and the home entertainment makers in receiver and tuner integration.

If there’s a downside it’s probably in two things: the monthly subscription fee, (but frankly, the monthly amount from either service is generally cheaper than the cost of a single audio CD), and the fact that one can’t listen to exactly what they want to whenever they want to (but you’d be surprised at how close you can get, unless one is really into fringe material). But the big upside is that much of that ‘programming’ is done for the listener, and the person doesn’t have to do much or expend brain cells to get great-sounding music. There are plenty of people that think THAT’S STILL a really great way of getting their tunes. What I really like about it is that inherently it DOESN’T shut me off from the outside world like using an iPod with cans or buds does; a big news event happens…the source can cut right on in on the music as needed.

Radio, whether terrestrial or satellite, is still significantly cheaper than running an iPod. Some really don’t mind the commercials and the loss of specific individual choice in what material they can listen to, just as long as it sounds good and the programming is generally to the individual’s tastes and preferences. Radio also introduces high sound quality new music to the listener as well, whereas you can’t get that with just a standard iPod. With HD and satellite, the sonic quality is far better than it’s ever been with in the broadcast realm.

Both Sirius and XM have been operating at a loss (for a while a year or so ago, I believe XM actually was making money). But the losses generally were not unexpected as both companies have been spending a lot on advertising and promotions to ‘get the word out’, and expanding their user-base. Subscriptions are way up, especially for Sirius, and the growth is expected to continue throughout this year. Again, people LIKE cheap. And with HD Digital Radio now getting serious and coming online, it don’t get cheaper than FREE.

Posted by flatline response on March 19, 2006 at 7:41 AM (CST)


from the Gratis article:

...on how to acquire a free version of Apple Computer’s signature fetish item…

It sounds positively pornographic. Ooh whee, how delectably perverse!

Yeah, right…free iPods, my eye…a price is paid one way or another.

Posted by flatline response on March 19, 2006 at 7:57 AM (CST)


flatline response: Again, people LIKE cheap…it don’t get cheaper than FREE.

And just like existing radio stations, you get what you pay for. No thanks, my iPod is just fine.

Posted by Moe on March 20, 2006 at 9:04 AM (CST)

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