The Internet Media Device Alliance (IMDA) is reportedly looking to establish industry standards for in-car Internet radio. "The idea is to help broadcasters get what they want out of car radios and to help the automakers have the best experience for their consumer," explains Harry Johnson, chairman of the IMDA and president of vTuner. "Consumers expect a basic set of stations that are the same no matter what kind of car they buy — it should not be a differentiating feature."
The IMDA hopes to issue a final set of in-car web radio guidelines in spring 2013. They would deal with topics like car device profiles, encoding guidelines, a "universal dial" and station metadata. The Alliance wants to establish such guidelines now, because automakers will begin "selling cars equipped with web radio effective with 2014 and 2015 models," writes Inside Radio. "When that happens, drivers will no longer be required to plug in their smartphone for connectivity and dashboards will be similar to the Ford Sync with the apps on the receiver — not on the phone."
"There is time now to do things properly and make the experience for drivers the best one that broadcasters can offer to them," Johnson said.
He outlined two primary benefits for establishing such standards. First, it would avoid the "wild west" of confusing and conflicting technology seen when tabletop Wi-Fi radios arrived. "Broadcasters had no way of knowing which type of streams they were supposed to supply... it might play on a Samsung but not a Sony," explained Johnson.
Second, such standards would help broadcasters compete with webcasters like Pandora, "which are striking deals directly with car manufacturers," Inside Radio writes. You can subscribe to Inside Radio's daily newsletter here.
Arbtrion and Edison found that 17% of consumers have listened to web radio via a smartphone in a car (up 55% from the year before), while TargetSpot recently found that 14% of Internet radio listeners own an in-car web radio player of some kind.