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General Scanning Discussion - For general questions not specific to a model of scanner or general discussion of use of a scanner. Manufacturer specific posts should be directed to the appropriate forums below and location specific posts should go in the appropriate regional forum..

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-21-2007, 10:44 PM
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Default Scanners With HD Radio Reception and ATSC TV Audio

In the past I have had both amateur radios and scanners that will tune analog FM and TV audio frequencies. It is not a feature that I use alot, but it can be handy. Does anybody here think that we will ever see HD FM radio reception on scanners in the future? Personally, I actually have been rather underwhelmed with the performance of FM broadcast on scanners that have it. What about TV audio recption. Some scanners have analog TV audio reception already, but when the deadline of 02-17-2009 arrives and NTSC stops broadcasting I will occasionally miss the ability to listen to TV audio. Usually I just do it for local news broadcasts anaway, but it might be nice to think that future scanners would have the ability to tune the audio portion of digital TV broadcasts.
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Old 07-23-2007, 4:22 PM
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1. Do I think there will be portable "radios" with TV audio? Yes, someday.
2. In the next 2 years? Probably NOT.
3. Why? Cost and consumer demand (which seem to go hand in hand in the USA).

The reason TV & FM broadcasts sound bad on scanners is because they are not demodulating a wide enough channel. FM broadcast is 200KHz wide and typical "wide" public safety stuff is 15, 20 or 25 KHz - 1/10 the bandwidth.

Just to get the audio from ATSC is no small task. First you have to demodulate the 8VSB signal. Then you have to parse the transport stream. And there are several channels of audio. Depending on settings, some may need to be mixed as they are sent 5.1 or stereo and with sub channels of stuff.
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Old 07-23-2007, 8:58 PM
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Actually, Hauppauge has a USB 2.0 dongle that gets HDTV audio and video on a laptop. Not exactly what you asked for, but obviously it is quite possible.
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Old 07-24-2007, 2:47 AM
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The dongle gives you the bitstreams, which still need quite a bit of processing to become audio. Just for TV watching those things require a Pentium II at about 100MHz, hardly what most scanners use. Yes there are some receivers which have more h/w processing; now we just need a USB port on our scanners and some interface software to be able to use them.
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:17 AM
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Hi all,

To cut through the "impressive" tech talk, analog TV audio is 25KHz wide and FM is 75KHz wide so the 100KHz WFM bandwidth setting on a scanner is quite sufficient. Amateur receivers usually are limited to 10KHz and some have a slightly narrower option on the menu for 10M FM.

The short and simple answer to the digital FM and TV question is no.
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Old 07-25-2007, 5:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmclam
Just to get the audio from ATSC is no small task. First you have to demodulate the 8VSB signal. Then you have to parse the transport stream. And there are several channels of audio. Depending on settings, some may need to be mixed as they are sent 5.1 or stereo and with sub channels of stuff.
What he said.

There isn't enough of a market for such a device. Scanners aren't marketed to specifically receive broadcast audio - they do so because they are devices that demodulate radio signals, and the audio carriers of TV stations are just that - separate audio signals transmitted separatley from the video signal.

As with what gmclam said, the audio and video signal with ATSC are multiplexed into a single MPEG2 transport stream on a single RF carrier..... in other words, it's a big long string of ones and zeros that carry both the audio and video signals together. In traditional NTSC broadcasting, the audio and video carriers are transmitted as two totally separate signals, which means you can listen to the TV audio without the BZZZZZZZZZZT of the video signal interfereing.

So... will this mean that there will be scanners that will decode audio from ATSC signals? Absolutley definitley positivley 100% NO. As it was mentioned, it takes quite a bit of processor power not only to decode the packets in the transport stream, but also to decode whatever audio codec ATSC uses (some sort of Dolby codec I think, I know that ATSC will be capable of Dolby 5.1, and not too many scanners are capable of that). No scanner manufacuturer would spend that kind of scratch in developing, creating and marketing such a beast of a scanner so only a few people will be able to listen to TV audio.

Will scanners capable of listening to HD Radio exist? Of course - they're called Walkmans (or whatever kind of personal stereo is currently marketed/to be marketed in the future that will recieve HD Radio).
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Old 07-25-2007, 8:16 PM
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Cool ATSC and HD Radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heterodyne
...As with what gmclam said, the audio and video signal with ATSC are multiplexed into a single MPEG2 transport stream on a single RF carrier.....
So... will this mean that there will be scanners that will decode audio from ATSC signals? Absolutley definitley positivley 100% NO.
I think this is a LOT presumptuous.

Quote:
As it was mentioned, it takes quite a bit of processor power not only to decode the packets in the transport stream, but also to decode whatever audio codec ATSC uses (some sort of Dolby codec I think, I know that ATSC will be capable of Dolby 5.1, and not too many scanners are capable of that). No scanner manufacuturer would spend that kind of scratch in developing, creating and marketing such a beast of a scanner so only a few people will be able to listen to TV audio.
Just as with digital scanners, there are some licensing fees for ATSC. If a scanner is sold with these capabilities, it will increase the price. Whether or not there is a market for it, and people will pay the higher price? .. That's a good question.

Quote:
Will scanners capable of listening to HD Radio exist? Of course - they're called Walkmans (or whatever kind of personal stereo is currently marketed/to be marketed in the future that will recieve HD Radio).
The logic here contradicts the logic above. HD Radio has licensing fees too. Heterodyne feels SO SURE that NO scanner will have ATSC audio, and SO SURE that there will be walkmans for HD radio. But the question is NOT dedicated HD "walkmans", the question is being able to receive HD radio with a SCANNER. I say the likliness of a scanner with HD radio and/or ATSC audio is similiar.
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Old 07-26-2007, 1:16 PM
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Quote:
The logic here contradicts the logic above. HD Radio has licensing fees too. Heterodyne feels SO SURE that NO scanner will have ATSC audio, and SO SURE that there will be walkmans for HD radio. But the question is NOT dedicated HD "walkmans", the question is being able to receive HD radio with a SCANNER. I say the likliness of a scanner with HD radio and/or ATSC audio is similiar.
Woah. Who pissed in your mueslix? Reel in the attitude there, sparky. I was agreeing with you.

You are right, the possibility of a scanner that will recieve HD radio and be able to decompile an ATSC television signal for the purposes of playing it through a scanner's speaker is the same: zero.

Scanners/ham radios/etc. take up such a ridiculously small space in the overall consumer electronics market - i'd be really shocked if they came out with such a scanner.

Yeesh. Some people are just WAY to sensitive. Might want to learn to relax a little - you'll enjoy life a whole lot more.
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Last edited by Heterodyne; 07-26-2007 at 1:19 PM..
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Old 09-23-2010, 9:01 AM
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Hi Folks, It's possible to intergrate a ATSC tuning chipset, since there are many manufactuers came out with these cheap DTV converters selling less than $30.00 which could be soon sold at dollar stores nationwide. And for the TV audio make it stereo 2.1 sound instead of 1 channel mono. Even the FM tuner in WFM should be stereo as well too for listening to music broadcasts, lets stop living in the past with 1 speaker deals this is the 2010's people want to hear broadcasts in stereo not mono even on a communications receiver . I have seen many shortwave portable radios have just 1 speaker and using stereo headphones or amplifed stereo speakers through the headphone jack. To get 5.1 channel sound you need to have 2.1 sound to decode 5.1 surround sound. Maybe one day we will have 2.1 channel 2 way radio transmissions using 2 microphones instead of one, but that sounds like 10 to 20 years from now. And the 2 way communications will sound HD and lifelike, but still be digital.
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Old 09-23-2010, 2:33 PM
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HD Radio is a marketing ploy. You can receive an HD AM station on any AM receiver. Yes, there is a subaudible datastream, but for listening to whatever is being broadcast it makes no difference to anything that is not a so-called "HD" receiver.

I think the fundamental presumption underlying questions like this is shaky at best. The more different capabilities that are added to a device, the less useful the device becomes for any particular function. Scanners pick[ed] up analog TV audio and FM broadcast (but not AM broadcast except on wideband MF/HF/VHF/UHF scanners - which suck on HF at least). But they aren't useful as scanners in that application. Weather alerting makes more sense, but straight weather monitoring has the same limitation that listening to music on your scanner has - no scanning.

If you want the benefits of "HD" radio, then buy a compatible receiver. It's a pretty useless thing to have on a scanner.

We haven't even begun to look at the pros or cons of satellite band reception in a scanner, where much of this "HD" radio stuff is broadcast. One may reasonably expect that the typical scanner would be a very poor satellite downlink receiver.
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Old 09-23-2010, 2:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gccradioscience View Post
Hi Folks, It's possible to intergrate a ATSC tuning chipset, since there are many manufactuers came out with these cheap DTV converters selling less than $30.00 which could be soon sold at dollar stores nationwide. And for the TV audio make it stereo 2.1 sound instead of 1 channel mono. Even the FM tuner in WFM should be stereo as well too for listening to music broadcasts, lets stop living in the past with 1 speaker deals this is the 2010's people want to hear broadcasts in stereo not mono even on a communications receiver . I have seen many shortwave portable radios have just 1 speaker and using stereo headphones or amplifed stereo speakers through the headphone jack. To get 5.1 channel sound you need to have 2.1 sound to decode 5.1 surround sound. Maybe one day we will have 2.1 channel 2 way radio transmissions using 2 microphones instead of one, but that sounds like 10 to 20 years from now. And the 2 way communications will sound HD and lifelike, but still be digital.
It's also possible to add the ability to play PacMan to the latest digital scanners, but the demand just isn't there nor is the need. If you want a single device to do everything, the closest thing you'll find today is one of the cellular smart phones. They pick up TV, radio, internet feeds (including scanner feeds), play games and yes, even make and receive phone calls.

I'm not sure that your indicating that it was possible to add these things was really worth reviving a thread that had been dead for well over 3 years (last post prior to yours was July of 2007!).
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Old 11-07-2010, 7:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JASII View Post
In the past I have had both amateur radios and scanners that will tune analog FM and TV audio frequencies. It is not a feature that I use alot, but it can be handy.
There's a fairly big difference between receiving audio on analog NTSC television and the ATSC digital transmissions. the old analog tv system used an audio carrier that was just a simple FM audio signal broadcast alongside the video carrier. Any wide FM demodulator that could tune in the frequency range can decode it. ATSC has the audio digitally encoded as an mpeg or dolby digital audio stream and multiplexed onto a much wider data-stream.

A decoder would basically need to be a full-fledged atsc receiver, capable of decoding the signal. It's a 6mhz signal which is much wider than the bandwidth of most scanners, so you'd need dedicated circuitry simply for the ATSC audio decoding.

It's possible, but I doubt it will be included in any receiver any time soon.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JASII View Post
Does anybody here think that we will ever see HD FM radio reception on scanners in the future?
HD radio is not an open standard like DRM or something like that. It's proprietary, owned by a company called iBiquity. HD radio receivers all pay a license fee to iBiquity to include the decoder circuitry. There are no "open" methods for decoding HD radio (that I know of).

I very much doubt any scanner manufacturer is going to include HD radio on their scanner. It's not something most people really would be looking for.
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