New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by Al » Thu, 12 Sep 2002 00:04:40

Is this the hatchet that will terminate short-wave and our short-wave
receivers as we know them?

Al
KA5JGV


Quote:> PRESS RELEASE: DRM TO INTRODUCE 2 MAJOR ADVANCES IN SPECIAL LIVE
> PREVIEW AT IBC 2002

 
 
 

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by Frank Dress » Thu, 12 Sep 2002 01:56:04


[snip]

Quote:>Qualified
>radio
>amateurs and DXers who plan to purchase the software (price: 60EUR)
>may
>register their interest during IBC.

60 Euros just for the software?  That's about $60, more or less, right?  Is
this software debugged, with all it's features or is it some sort of Beta
version?  I'd think if they had a high interest in getting DRM out to the
public, they'd sell the software cheap.

Quote:> DRM is the world's only
>non-proprietary,
>digital AM system for short-wave, medium-wave and long-wave with the
>ability
>to use existing frequencies and bandwidth across the globe.

Non-proprietary?  Does that means, if DRM takes off, somebody else can give
away the software?

With

Quote:>near-FM
>quality sound offering a dramatic improvement over analogue AM, DRM
>will
>revitalize the AM broadcasting bands in markets worldwide.

So bad sound devitalized AM?  Not bad programming?  Where I grew up,  FM might
have sounded better, but it was nearly dead in the 60's.  There were a couple
of classical stations, some college stations, public radio, and a few time
brokered stations which featured mostly ethnic and religious programming.  The
real moneymakers were all on AM.  Interest in FM came in the early seventies
when some independent dudes got cheap FM airtime and started playing all sorts
of music not heard on AM.  They, and the businessmen who followed,  took most
of a generation over to FM.  By the way, analog AM, done right, still is near
FM quality.  At least that's what my ears and my SX-62 tell me.  But the good
sounding AM receiver has been hard uncommon for about, well, a generation.
There's no magic in the 62.  A fine receiver capable of wide band reception and
yet having sharp skirts could be easily built today.  With a sync detector and
AM stereo.  Just as soon as more than a few people want them.

Frank Dresser

 
 
 

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by Frank Dress » Thu, 12 Sep 2002 03:05:17


>Is this the hatchet that will terminate short-wave and our short-wave
>receivers as we know them?

>Al
>KA5JGV

Hope so, hope not.

I'm sure the SW broadcasters would love to be as important as they were during
the Cold War propaganda days.  If only so they can remain funded by their
national governments.  So it seems they want to try an improvement in sound
quality to bring more listeners, especially the opinion former and decision
maker types.  Wouldn't bother me a bit if DRM flopped and most of the
broadcasters went off the air.  I listen to SW almost every day, but it's been
months since I've sat through more than a half hour from an international
broadcaster.  I prefer pirates, kooks and evangelists.

If enough frequencies are abandoned, I'm sure the pirates and freebanders will
fill the void.  Ideally, I'd like to see the SW broadcast bands regulated on
the same common sense lines as the National Park System.  Everybody gets to use
them, as long as they don't interfere with someone else.   If it happens, I
expect most of 'em will be on SSB.

Frank Dresser

 
 
 

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by Fcathe » Thu, 12 Sep 2002 03:34:49

frequencies are abandoned, I'm sure the pirates and freebanders will fill the
void.  Ideally, I'd like to see the SW broadcast bands regulated on the same
common sense lines as the National Park System.  Everybody gets to use them, as
long as they don't interfere with someone else.   If it happens, I
expect most of 'em will be on SSB.
"

I agree.  It actually may create an interesting situation.

The other Frank.

 
 
 

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by Soliloqu » Thu, 12 Sep 2002 06:29:39

Great, digital Shortwave. Rather than being able to at least hear deep fades
and static on a standard AM transmission, digital will assure that we hear
much less.

Digital, bah humbug. Nothing is more aggravating than a skipping CD.  (I'm
sure that most of you will disclaim the following) Ever since we have been
watching DVDs, on a RCA, Sony, and other DVD players, we have been treated to
movies skipping scenes, some significantly. The cause? Tiny cat hairs sticking
to the DVD disk itself. All you have to do it get up from that comfortable
seat on the couch, stop the movie, remove the disk, locate the cat hair,
concentrate a brief puff of air from the lips, verify that the cat hair has
dislodged (hopefully not to another track), reinsert the disk, watch the FBI
anti-copy screen, go to the menu for chapter selection, select the chapter,
hit play, return to the couch and pray. I don't seem to remember doing this
with video tapes. The worse case scenario is a scratch, unless you handle the
DVDs like nitroglycerin, you may get a scratch, the solution is to buy one of
the scratch repair solutions/cloths or an actual polishing machine (they spin
the disk, something else polishes the disk).  In the modern world, this is
considered progress.

Although the sound and picture are superior to VHS tapes, the problems can be
significant.  Even CDs were sold to the public as being practically
indestructible, but most people realize that this is not the case. As to long
life, I have read an article describing the destruction of several CDs in a CD
collection from oxidation. This occurred within a ten year period of purchase.
Apparently the CDs had minute (my noot) cracks, this allowed oxidation to
consume the metal substrate. (The article described the environment as being
tropical, and attributed the destruction to mold, but I think oxidation is
more likely).

Anyway, as to the superior frequency response offered by digital recording
media, being that most of us have either blown away our hearing from
industrial occupations, concerts, headphones, guns, lawnmowers, etc, it is
dubious whether or not we can really hear the difference. An audio magazine
from years ago related a review that they had done on Monster Cable (battery
jumper cable size speaker wires). Yes, yes, they did indeed perform better (on
the oscilloscope) than the regular lamp cord, but when audiophiles were
brought into the room they were unable to differentiate when the Monster Cable
was being used or when 16 gauge lamp cord was in use.  So many of us would buy
the Monster Cable since we are impressed with the specs, but can we really
tell the difference?

I suspect that digital transmissions relying on ionosphere reflections will be
a real failure.

Regards.



>Is this the hatchet that will terminate short-wave and our short-wave
>receivers as we know them?

>Al
>KA5JGV

"In a world of insane people, the sane man must appear insane".
"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that someone isn't after you".
"Beware: I masticate in public".
 
 
 

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by Radioman3 » Thu, 12 Sep 2002 09:44:08

Quote:>So bad sound devitalized AM?  Not bad programming?  Where I grew up,  FM
>might
>have sounded better, but it was nearly dead in the 60's.  There were a couple
>of classical stations, some college stations, public radio, and a few time
>brokered stations which featured mostly ethnic and religious programming.
>The
>real moneymakers were all on AM.  Interest in FM came in the early seventies
>when some independent dudes got cheap FM airtime and started playing all
>sorts
>of music not heard on AM.  They, and the businessmen who followed,  took most
>of a generation over to FM.  By the way, analog AM, done right, still is near
>FM quality.  At least that's what my ears and my SX-62 tell me.  But the good
>sounding AM receiver has been hard uncommon for about, well, a generation.
>There's no magic in the 62.  A fine receiver capable of wide band reception
>and
>yet having sharp skirts could be easily built today.  With a sync detector
>and
>AM stereo.  Just as soon as more than a few people want them.

Well, nowadays AM is much more interesting than FM. In fact, to me most FM
stations sound the same (applies to pop stations).

I agree with you on AM audio quality; Here's what I wrote somewhere else:  (to
the WTFDA newsgroup)

Gentlemen:

Newer is not always better.
I had dealings with ARINC two years ago. They operate the nationwide network
for the FAA and the airlines (in fact, they're owned by the seven biggest US
carriers...or were). Got to know the engineering people and asked similar
questions.

They use AM because the entire network is simplex (that is you talk and listen
on the same channel). Like a party line. Or the old CB band.

In duplex or half-duplex systems, the plane would be on one channel and the
ground on another. Spectrally inefficient, and more demanding on hardware in
the plane (separate RX and TX units). In the old days this was a weight issue.

Since it is vital that pilots and ground controllers know everything that is
going on around them, using simplex permits everybody to listen in on the party
line. But if FM were utilized, only the strongest signal would capture the
receiver (capture ratio...generally below 2 dB), so that if two pilots decided
to speak at the same time, only one would be heard on the ground...the one
closer. The controller would have no idea a second plane was talking.  But, and
here's the twist that makes it absolutely right to use AM instead of FM:
different planes at different distances might hear one or the other aircraft
talking, but not both, so the information the pilots get might be incomplete
and diferent. With FM a plane could block a ground transmission to another
plane!

Uh oh

Using AM for a simplex channel allows a weaker station to be heard under
another. Oh sure, it may be covered ("stepped on") but everybody would still
know a second plane was there trying to get through. BTW this applies to
ARINC's worldwide SSB shortwave network too...you can hear a second station
under another.

A similar situation exists  between FM and digital modes. It would appear that
the new "digital" radio system used by NYC firemen on 9-11 wasn't able to push
through a usable signal into the building to warn firemen of its impending
collapse...why? because unless the digital signal is essentially error-free,
NOTHING gets through.

I'm  simplifying, but the fact remains that FM is not better than AM in all
circumstances.

One other little aside: WQXR in New York used to simulcast AM and FM stereo
signals. The AM was the Kahn system (double sideband stereo), while the FM was
standard stereo. Since I was working there, I was able to sample the audio
coming back over-the-air and compare it to the studio output. Hey guys, guess
what?: AM stereo was cleaner than FM stereo. Sure, the extremes of frequency
response were missing, but the AM was easier to listen to than the FM (no, not
as good as the studio feed).

I atribute this to the fact that there is some very sharp filtering of the FM
audio high end (to keep it away from the 19kHz carrier), and other audio
"artifacts" of one kind or another created by the multiple processing (A+B,
A-B) . True, this sounds like audio-freaky stuff, but I was't the only one
there who noticed the difference. It was most pronounced on piano music where
the AM/FM difference was astonishing.

FM's capture ratio actually helps DXers with directional antennas since you can
blot out one or the other signal by turning the antenna, but I ask, if the
88-108 band were AM, would we hear more DX???

BTW the FCC is mandating business band two-way radio channels be 6.25 KHz wide
by 2009, instead of 12.5 kHz (for new systems now), or 25 kHz for existing
systems. The Europe 8.33 kHz aircraft spacing  (one-third of 25kHz) is AM, as
far as I know.
The international shortwave broadcast bands separate stations 5 kHz just fine.
In fact the 220 Mhz business band, uses analog signals spaced at 5 kHz (single
sideband).
This band was created about 10 years ago, and the FCC decided that analog was
better than FM in that application: they chose SSB.

The fiollowing prompted my response:


>So, I ask, when might the aircraft band (which is immediately above the FM
>band, starting at 108 mz) convert to FM for better safety and quality of
>transmissions? Then the quality of the radios in use in planes costing
>millions of dollars would be vastly enhanced over the cheap communications
>system now in use.

more comments (not mine)

I don't know if I agree. Back in the seventies I was a private pilot. True,
the***pits are horribly noisy. But I don't ever recall failing to hear a
transmission due to audio quality. I would think very weak signals would have
a better of chance of being heard with AM as compared to FM.

In Europe the aircraft bands are starting to go to 8.33KHz spacing. I don't
know how narrow FM can go and still reliably pass audio. FM in general has
many more sidebands of information than AM, so such low modulating indices (for
the new spacing) on FM may be more troublesome than the AM counter part.

Just my $.02

Allan

 
 
 

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by Frank Dress » Fri, 13 Sep 2002 02:34:10



>frequencies are abandoned, I'm sure the pirates and freebanders will fill the
>void.  Ideally, I'd like to see the SW broadcast bands regulated on the same
>common sense lines as the National Park System.  Everybody gets to use them,
>as
>long as they don't interfere with someone else.   If it happens, I
>expect most of 'em will be on SSB.
>"

>I agree.  It actually may create an interesting situation.

>The other Frank.

I can't wait for RFPI's "Propagation is not Property" T-Shirt.

Frank Dresser

 
 
 

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by bpnjens » Fri, 13 Sep 2002 02:58:30

Sheesh!  What a curmudgeon!  I've never had any problems like this
with CDs in 20 years, and my DVDs are a joy!  What do you do, take
your stuff out into mudbaths or roll them in your cat's litterbox?
I've not found them to be anywhere near so sensitive as what you're
making them out to be.

Bruce Jensen
************


> Great, digital Shortwave. Rather than being able to at least hear deep fades
> and static on a standard AM transmission, digital will assure that we hear
> much less.

> Digital, bah humbug. Nothing is more aggravating than a skipping CD.  (I'm
> sure that most of you will disclaim the following) Ever since we have been
> watching DVDs, on a RCA, Sony, and other DVD players, we have been treated to
> movies skipping scenes, some significantly. The cause? Tiny cat hairs sticking
> to the DVD disk itself. All you have to do it get up from that comfortable
> seat on the couch, stop the movie, remove the disk, locate the cat hair,
> concentrate a brief puff of air from the lips, verify that the cat hair has
> dislodged (hopefully not to another track), reinsert the disk, watch the FBI
> anti-copy screen, go to the menu for chapter selection, select the chapter,
> hit play, return to the couch and pray. I don't seem to remember doing this
> with video tapes. The worse case scenario is a scratch, unless you handle the
> DVDs like nitroglycerin, you may get a scratch, the solution is to buy one of
> the scratch repair solutions/cloths or an actual polishing machine (they spin
> the disk, something else polishes the disk).  In the modern world, this is
> considered progress.

> Although the sound and picture are superior to VHS tapes, the problems can be
> significant.  Even CDs were sold to the public as being practically
> indestructible, but most people realize that this is not the case. As to long
> life, I have read an article describing the destruction of several CDs in a CD
> collection from oxidation. This occurred within a ten year period of purchase.
> Apparently the CDs had minute (my noot) cracks, this allowed oxidation to
> consume the metal substrate. (The article described the environment as being
> tropical, and attributed the destruction to mold, but I think oxidation is
> more likely).

> Anyway, as to the superior frequency response offered by digital recording
> media, being that most of us have either blown away our hearing from
> industrial occupations, concerts, headphones, guns, lawnmowers, etc, it is
> dubious whether or not we can really hear the difference. An audio magazine
> from years ago related a review that they had done on Monster Cable (battery
> jumper cable size speaker wires). Yes, yes, they did indeed perform better (on
> the oscilloscope) than the regular lamp cord, but when audiophiles were
> brought into the room they were unable to differentiate when the Monster Cable
> was being used or when 16 gauge lamp cord was in use.  So many of us would buy
> the Monster Cable since we are impressed with the specs, but can we really
> tell the difference?

> I suspect that digital transmissions relying on ionosphere reflections will be
> a real failure.

> Regards.



> >Is this the hatchet that will terminate short-wave and our short-wave
> >receivers as we know them?

> >Al
> >KA5JGV

> "In a world of insane people, the sane man must appear insane".
> "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that someone isn't after you".
> "Beware: I masticate in public".

 
 
 

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by Frank Dress » Fri, 13 Sep 2002 02:57:48


>Well, nowadays AM is much more interesting than FM. In fact, to me most FM
>stations sound the same (applies to pop stations).

That's for sure.  75% of the FM music stations are oldies stations of one sort
or another, yet they each restrict themselves to a microscopically short
playlist.  They're so overcompressed they sound no better than than a decent
AM'er, to me, anyway.  And they aren't even big moneymakers, unlike the late
60's AM powerhouses.  

Quote:>I agree with you on AM audio quality; Here's what I wrote somewhere else:
>(to
>the WTFDA newsgroup)

>Gentlemen:

>Newer is not always better.
>I had dealings with ARINC two years ago. They operate the nationwide network
>for the FAA and the airlines (in fact, they're owned by the seven biggest US
>carriers...or were). Got to know the engineering people and asked similar
>questions.

>They use AM because the entire network is simplex (that is you talk and
>listen
>on the same channel). Like a party line. Or the old CB band.

>In duplex or half-duplex systems, the plane would be on one channel and the
>ground on another. Spectrally inefficient, and more demanding on hardware in
>the plane (separate RX and TX units). In the old days this was a weight
>issue.

>Since it is vital that pilots and ground controllers know everything that is
>going on around them, using simplex permits everybody to listen in on the
>party
>line. But if FM were utilized, only the strongest signal would capture the
>receiver (capture ratio...generally below 2 dB), so that if two pilots
>decided
>to speak at the same time, only one would be heard on the ground...the one
>closer. The controller would have no idea a second plane was talking.  But,
>and
>here's the twist that makes it absolutely right to use AM instead of FM:
>different planes at different distances might hear one or the other aircraft
>talking, but not both, so the information the pilots get might be incomplete
>and diferent. With FM a plane could block a ground transmission to another
>plane!

>Uh oh

>Using AM for a simplex channel allows a weaker station to be heard under
>another. Oh sure, it may be covered ("stepped on") but everybody would still
>know a second plane was there trying to get through. BTW this applies to
>ARINC's worldwide SSB shortwave network too...you can hear a second station
>under another.

>A similar situation exists  between FM and digital modes. It would appear
>that
>the new "digital" radio system used by NYC firemen on 9-11 wasn't able to
>push
>through a usable signal into the building to warn firemen of its impending
>collapse...why? because unless the digital signal is essentially error-free,
>NOTHING gets through.

>I'm  simplifying, but the fact remains that FM is not better than AM in all
>circumstances.

>One other little aside: WQXR in New York used to simulcast AM and FM stereo
>signals. The AM was the Kahn system (double sideband stereo), while the FM
>was
>standard stereo. Since I was working there, I was able to sample the audio
>coming back over-the-air and compare it to the studio output. Hey guys, guess
>what?: AM stereo was cleaner than FM stereo. Sure, the extremes of frequency
>response were missing, but the AM was easier to listen to than the FM (no,
>not
>as good as the studio feed).

>I atribute this to the fact that there is some very sharp filtering of the FM
>audio high end (to keep it away from the 19kHz carrier), and other audio
>"artifacts" of one kind or another created by the multiple processing (A+B,
>A-B) . True, this sounds like audio-freaky stuff, but I was't the only one
>there who noticed the difference. It was most pronounced on piano music where
>the AM/FM difference was astonishing.

>FM's capture ratio actually helps DXers with directional antennas since you
>can
>blot out one or the other signal by turning the antenna, but I ask, if the
>88-108 band were AM, would we hear more DX???

>BTW the FCC is mandating business band two-way radio channels be 6.25 KHz
>wide
>by 2009, instead of 12.5 kHz (for new systems now), or 25 kHz for existing
>systems. The Europe 8.33 kHz aircraft spacing  (one-third of 25kHz) is AM, as
>far as I know.
>The international shortwave broadcast bands separate stations 5 kHz just
>fine.
>In fact the 220 Mhz business band, uses analog signals spaced at 5 kHz
>(single
>sideband).
>This band was created about 10 years ago, and the FCC decided that analog was
>better than FM in that application: they chose SSB.

That's right.  The principal difference between FM and AM is interference
rejection, not fidelity.  Of course, most AM receivers cut bandwidth to cut
interference and most broadcasters have no particular interest in fidelity.
And, as you pointed out, letting the other signals through can be an advantage.
 For the same reasons, AM is tougher to jam, if the listener can put up with
the noise.  I imagine digital will act something like FM, but with a narrow
channel, and with the additional problem of dropouts rather than fades,
especially when DX'ing.  If the international broadcasters are really
interested in fade free hi-fi broadcasting, I think they'd be better off on the
satellites.

Frank Dresser

 
 
 

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by Jake Brodsk » Fri, 13 Sep 2002 03:21:44

On Wed, 11 Sep 2002 05:04:39 GMT, Telamon


>This sentence:

>> DRM is the world's only non-proprietary, digital AM system for
>> short-wave, medium-wave and long-wave with the ability to use
>> existing frequencies and bandwidth across the globe.

>Is at odds with the following:

>1. You are paying for the license of the decoding software.

Well, not exactly.  The standard is public.  This software codec is
not.  This is a fine point to be sure, and obviously not one designed
to spread this standard.  

Quote:>I listened to their samples "SBR (Spectral Band Replication) technology"
>and it sucks. The sound is harsh is the best description I can give it.

And you would prefer AM SWBC with selective fading and adjacent
channel interference?

Quote:>"SBR is a technology that can be attached to perceptual audio codec1s to
>significantly increase their performance."  Or in other words when there
>are not enough bits to support sound quality they found another way to
>make up for the loss by fooling your perceptions.

>No thanks.

Well, I don't expect it to sound like magic, but I also don't expect
one low bit-rate coding technique to be the end-all of this
application.  There are more than just the few modes available on the
samples.  I think you're passing judgement on it a bit early.  

However, it baffles me that DRM didn't GPL some code and offer that as
a getting started package for the standard.  I'm also concerned about
whether there are some submarine patents on this technology.  This
recent nonsense with the Fraunhoffer Institute's patents on MP3
technology is doing to MP3s what Unisys did to GIFs.  I can't help but
wonder if they're doing the same here.

Ogg Vorbis on your favorite multi-state modulation scheme, anyone? :-)


"Beware of the massive impossible!"

 
 
 

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by Mark S. Holde » Fri, 13 Sep 2002 04:42:12


> Sheesh!  What a curmudgeon!  I've never had any problems like this
> with CDs in 20 years, and my DVDs are a joy!  What do you do, take
> your stuff out into mudbaths or roll them in your cat's litterbox?
> I've not found them to be anywhere near so sensitive as what you're
> making them out to be.

> Bruce Jensen
> ************

His problem may be his DVD player.  The first one I had was a GE, and it
was horrible, but it was a gift, so I was stuck with it.  

So I bought a new one for us, and gave the GE to our cats. The DVD they
watch the most is short, so it doesn't skip very often, and since it's
just birds eating, moving and making noise, they don't seem to notice.

 
 
 

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by phil :\ » Fri, 13 Sep 2002 08:23:56

hi Frank:

Quote:> With a sync detector and AM stereo.

i am very interested in AM stereo. the R75 uses Motorola's AM Stereo C-QUAM
chip. if you like AM stereo check out this website:
http://www.amstereoradio.com/

also check out Chris Cuff's homebrew AM stereo radio:
http://www.geocities.com/amstereo2001/

phil :)

 
 
 

New DRM Consimer Grade Receiver

Post by Telamo » Fri, 13 Sep 2002 12:45:34



> On Wed, 11 Sep 2002 05:04:39 GMT, Telamon

> >This sentence:

> >> DRM is the world's only non-proprietary, digital AM system for
> >> short-wave, medium-wave and long-wave with the ability to use
> >> existing frequencies and bandwidth across the globe.

> >Is at odds with the following:

> >1. You are paying for the license of the decoding software.

> Well, not exactly.  The standard is public.  This software codec is
> not.  This is a fine point to be sure, and obviously not one designed
> to spread this standard.  

When you plunk down your money to buy this software you will not own
it. What you are purchasing is a copy of the software and a license to
use it. I fully expect the usual three pages of small print limiting
your use of the software program written by a private company. You will
be giving implied consent to license by using the software. If Coding
Technologies determines that you have violated this agreement (license)
then at their option they can force you to stop using it and destroy
your copy.

No more digital radio for you.

Quote:> >I listened to their samples "SBR (Spectral Band Replication) technology"
> >and it sucks. The sound is harsh is the best description I can give it.

> And you would prefer AM SWBC with selective fading and adjacent
> channel interference?

Yes. I have radios and antennas that almost eliminate the effects of
both. Dropouts and digital garble would be much more annoying.

Quote:> >"SBR is a technology that can be attached to perceptual audio codec1s to
> >significantly increase their performance."  Or in other words when there
> >are not enough bits to support sound quality they found another way to
> >make up for the loss by fooling your perceptions.

> >No thanks.

> Well, I don't expect it to sound like magic, but I also don't expect
> one low bit-rate coding technique to be the end-all of this
> application.  There are more than just the few modes available on the
> samples.  I think you're passing judgement on it a bit early.  

I really did not care for the sound of the recordings with that SBR
stuff. I found the sound to be very annoying in a non-definable way.
Other times it just sounded harsh with un-natural changes in level like
there was a problem with the AGC but only affecting some frequencies
instead of the spectrum.

Quote:> However, it baffles me that DRM didn't GPL some code and offer that as
> a getting started package for the standard.  I'm also concerned about
> whether there are some submarine patents on this technology.  This
> recent nonsense with the Fraunhoffer Institute's patents on MP3
> technology is doing to MP3s what Unisys did to GIFs.  I can't help but
> wonder if they're doing the same here.

You are starting to catch on to the scheme. The DVD in my shiny new
computer will only play disks recorded for my region. I can change the
region code four more times. What will stop radio manufactures in
collusion with broadcasters from limiting what you can hear?

--
Telamon