Digital radio terminology: radiotext and UPnP


Along with the audio, it’s also possible for digital radio stations to broadcast textual information. In many digital radios, this appears as a scrolling text bar below the station name. Most broadcasters will use this to provide quick news updates, web addresses, call-in phone numbers and details about the song currently playing.

In DAB terminology, this radiotext is called dynamic label segment (DLS). FM radio has a similar technology called radio data system (RDS), and RDS-capable radios can receive and display program-associated text.

During our tests, many of the digital radio stations were already using this feature. Nova 969 in Sydney, for example, provided news flashes (a little like an RSS news feed), traffic updates, links to websites as well information on the song currently playing. All the digital radios we looked at supported this feature, although those with two line displays often took an age to scroll through the available information.

What’s this UPnP thing?

UPnP AV (universal plug and play audio/visual), alternately called DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) is a system that allows you to stream media across a wireless or wired home network to players situated around the home. For example, you can have your media collection stored on a PC in the study, but play music and videos and view pictures on devices in the lounge room or kitchen.

To have it work, you need to install and configure UPnP media server software on the PC. Windows Media Player has this software built-in, and several third-party applications (including free programs like TVersity) are available as well. Then you need to connect the UPnP/DLNA player to the network and it and should (hopefully) find the media server and list the media it finds on it. Then you just select the video or music track you want to play or the pictures you want to view.