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Internet Media Device Alliance Moves on Metadata

At NAB 2011, the Internet Media Device Alliance (IMDA) highlighted its standardization and certification efforts on service metadata for Internet radio services.
The IMDA – a worldwide coalition of device manufacturers, broadcasters and aggregators – is seeking to make Internet station metadata more accurate and accessible for listeners across the globe. Among many other benefits, standardization will simplify the search for detailed information and eliminate the need for extensive scrolling in long listings. High-profile European public broadcasters – including the BBC, major German broadcasters and Radio Netherlands are among early adopters of the latest IMDA service identification specification.
Latest Internet Radio Service efforts include:

  • Harmonized metadata: Descriptions of shows/programs and stations/brands are usually investigated and updated by the Internet radio aggregators. This is an expensive process that can make the aggregator focus on the bare minimum. To address this situation, the IMDA has defined the ‘IMDA Service Identification (SI) for broadcasters and aggregators’. Using the IMDA SI, broadcasters can update their descriptive metadata themselves. Benefits include comprehensive metadata control for broadcasters, easy access to reliable information for aggregators, and additional program information for consumers. Examples include station logos, genres, content descriptions and, in the near-future, Electronic Program Guides (EPGs), live text services and image slideshows.
  • CDS: To simplify the exchange of harmonized metadata, IMDA has defined a ‘Central Discovery Service’ (CDS). By using the CDS, broadcasters can automatically update changes in their ‘IMDA Service Identification’ and send a single notification to all aggregators, who can remain up-to-date at all times by downloading the latest information directly from the broadcaster’s server.
  • Profiling and certification: There is no shortage of choice for consumers when it comes to selecting Internet radio services, but they can sometimes encounter difficulties in locating and playing their favorite stations on the variety of devices. Part of the IMDA’s remit focuses on encouraging harmonization in the device market through Profile 1 certification, which offers consumers a guarantee that devices can ‘Play Internet Radio’. IMDA is currently working with the receiver industry on Version 2 of the device profile, which will offer an even more exciting Internet radio experience.