TheRadio.Com Conducts Streaming Test Via Microsoft Sync In Ford Explorer

The Test, Conducted by TheRadio.Coms In-House Research Laboratory, Assessed the Practicality of Listening to Internet Radio via Microsofts New Sync Platform, Which is an Option in All 2008 Model Ford Automobiles

CHARLESTON, S.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TheRadio.Com LLC today announced that it successfully demonstrated the viability of Fords new Sync device, a fully-integrated voice-activated system developed in partnership with Microsoft that now is a dealer-installed option in 12 Ford-Lincoln-Mercury 2008 model year vehicles. The test involved both a Pantech PN-820 cell phone and a Dell XPS-1330 laptop, both linked via Bluetooth to the in-dash Sync unit in a 2008 Ford Explorer provided by Palmetto Ford of Charleston, SC.

The test involved two different receiver devices in order to determine which software and hardware performed better with the Sync system, and also to identify which one would deliver higher audio quality and technical reliability. The test began with a Pantech cell phone running the Windows Mobile operating system and intermittently playing both 32 kbps and 64 kbps wma streams using the built-in Windows Media Player. Midway during the experiment the Pantech phone was switched out with the Dell laptop, which runs on the Windows Vista operating system, and which was used to test the 64 kbps wma using Windows Media Player as well as a 64 kbps aacPlus stream using both the Windows Media Player with the free Orban aacPlus plugin and Winamp.

Both the phone and the laptop were connected wirelessly through the Syncs built-in Bluetooth connection, which is made possible by the inclusion of the A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) within the Sync system. A2DP is important because not all Bluetooth devices support this profile. Throughout the test there was only one period of drop-out, when the cell phone reception momentarily disappeared near the Medical University of South Carolina in downtown Charleston. Despite intense efforts to overload the cell phone system, as well as deliberate attempts to tie up two separate streams (64 kbps and 128 kbps) in order to crash the cell system, it never went down. The laptop performed consistently well, and all participants in the test judged the 64 kbps aacPlus stream to be better than both FM and satellite radio reception, and roughly the equivalent to a CD.

TheRadio.Com research team members involved in the test included Edward F. Seeger, chairman of American Media Services; Andrew Guest, AMS vice chairman; and Laramie Guest, TheRadio.Com vice president of engineering. Driving the vehicle was Palmetto Ford Customer Care Specialist Marueen Troescher. The pre-arranged test route took the research team through downtown Charleston, across the Ashley River south to Kiawah Island, then north across the new Cooper River Bridge, back to the Ford dealership. Two individual channels of audio produced by TheRadio.Com Beach Music and Southern Fried Rock were streamed during the demonstration. (These channels, as well as over 100 additional program streams, can be accessed at TheRadio.Coms website, www.TheRadio.Com.)

This test has been really exciting, much like looking at a window into the very near future of mobile listening, observed Edward Seeger. It’s hard to believe we were listening to Internet streams of this quality.

I am quite pleased at how seamless the handoffs were from one cell tower to the next, added Laramie Guest. Not once did the data session fail to be properly handed off to the next tower.

The Ford Sync system sounds great and is a big leap forward in mobile streaming, plus it does lots of other tasks as well, observed Andrew Guest.

Just as with last months test in the San Francisco Bay Area, this experiment clearly demonstrates the viability of Internet radio, observed Reed Bunzel, president and CEO of TheRadio.Com. New media critics have long argued that webcasting will never be a competitive with terrestrial radio broadcasting until it is fully functional in the dashboards of vehicles, but its quite evident through this test that streaming to cars and other mobile devices is very real, and coming very soon.

TheRadio.Com plans to conduct additional streaming tests in several medium and large markets within the United States in the coming months.

TheRadio.Com is an affiliate of American Media Services, and is designed to provide radio stations a turnkey solution in streaming audio content on the web, and generating revenue from online advertising. TheRadio.Com was launched in December 2006 to assist radio station owners and operators in setting up and managing streaming radio sites.

American Media Services is a full-service radio brokerage, engineering and developmental engineering firm, and its developmental division leads the country in successfully implementing station upgrades by moving them into larger markets, dramatically increasing their value.

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