A new 'avatar' of radio and FM

TUNE IN Sheetal Iyer of World Space PHOTO: K. GOPINATH

TUNE IN Sheetal Iyer of World Space PHOTO: K. GOPINATH  

For a melodious ambience at home and in office, WSR is economical

Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence. - Robert Fripp, Guitarist and Composer.

Truly, music fills all void. There is probably none who does not get stirred by good music, although the interpretation of the expression 'good music' differs from person to person or rather from generation to generation. Each has one's own likes and individual tastes as far as music is concerned. Even babies respond to music. But when was the last time you could hear good music of your genre at a time convenient to you, and no jockeys or advertisements breaking your reverie with incessant chatter and without having to invest regularly in new CDs or tapes? FM is here but along with the free music, comes talkative radio jockeys, jarring advertisements, limited choice and restricted timing. Buying every tape or CD that takes your fancy in the market is impractical, as you need to hear what's new and good before you buy. And precisely this is the market that World Space Radio satisfies.What is this WSR? It is the enhanced avatar of radio and FM, together. It is a satellite-based radio with digital broadcast, which obviously means that the reception is crystal clear with no distortion or weak and faint signal. Basically in layman's terms, it is CD-quality sound, radio waves finally doing justice to your hi-fi speakers! In 2000, the Washington-based World Space set up shop in Banglore and gradually spread out to other cities. It has a network of three geo-stationary satellites covering six continents: Ameri-Star, Afri-Star and Asia-Star. These support around 40 channels each and a variety of multimedia services. A consumer with a specific receiver can receive all 24-hour channels and services from these satellites. These channels are dedicated to varied genus of music like current and old Hindi, Hindustani and Western classical, Western, country, jazz, rock, international hits, pop, Latino music, dance, devotional, The Art of Living, regional languages like Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada and Malayalam, seven news channels (CNN, BBC) - check out their website > for all the channel listings. The multimedia services it offers are content from select news, financial, health, sports, educational or entertainment sites that can be downloaded on your PC for offline browsing; for which you need a World Space PC card or adopter connecting your PC to the World Space receiver. But more than multimedia, it is the radio service that is really catching on. To receive this service you need to invest in a receiver, ranging from Rs.2,000 to Rs.15,000. The price depends on the added features. A basic receiver only decodes the signals and needs to be connected to output speakers, while one with more features can have speakers, AM/MW/FM radio, a tape or CD player as well. The subscription is Rs.1,800 per annum. Currently there is a short time offer wherein the basic receiver and a free three-month subscription is available for Rs.1,999.The only drawback is the lack of mobility. But for a musical ambience at home or piped music in office, WSR is economical. The annual subscription is not much when you think of all the cassettes you need not buy just to enjoy your type of music in peace.I close with Professor Dumbledore comment in J.K. Rowlings' Harry Potter and the Philosopher'_s Stone (1997), "Ah, music! A magic beyond all we do here!" Tune in and enjoy!UMA CHODAVARAPU

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