BBC developing 3D radio tech

BBC is promising '3D radio' broadcasts soon
BBC is promising '3D radio' broadcasts soon

The BBC is looking to develop what it is calling '3D radio' technology in the near future.

Aunty is reportedly "investigating the potential" of sound systems known as ambisonics and periphony, which give the listener a total immersion in a surround sound environment.

The radio listener is treated to this '3D radio' experience by having speakers positioned above, behind and in front of them.

The sound of aeroplanes

The BBC demonstrated what could be done using eight separate speakers this week, playing clips of planes taking off at the Duxford Air Show, as well as (slightly more entertaining!) choral performances and radio dramas.

However, Aunty claims that mainstream testing of a broadcast 3D radio service is still a few years into the future.

A BBC spokesman noted: "BBC Research and Development are committed to investigating 3D sound's potential but these investigations are still firmly rooted in the realms of research. The BBC won't be launching a service in the foreseeable future."

Online internet broadcasts might well be the preferable option to allow those listeners with the right speakers and hi-fi equipment to hear 3D transmissions.

The technology will work particularly well in closed environments such as when listening to the radio in your car, with numerous speakers positioned around and above you.

Tim Davie, the BBC's director of audio and music, hopes that 3D TV "sound bars" that project audio around your living room will be developed by leading manufacturers in the coming years.

The BBC also announced this week that classical fans' favourite station Radio 3 is to begin broadcasting online in high def sound, offering a much better experience to the trained ears of an audiophile.

Via The Telegraph

Adam Hartley