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RealTime IT News

AOL Launches Broadband Radio Service

America Online has launched a new broadband version of its popular radio service, Radio@AOL, which features new content from the ISP as it looks for ways to convert its narrowband subscribers to high-speed connections.

The service is similar to the Radio@AOL musical service that is among AOL's most popular features. The Broadband Radio@AOL service, however, is built to showcase the difference that a broadband connection makes in music downloads.

Just to make sure subscribers notice the speed difference that a high-speed connection makes with music downloads, the Broadband Radio@AOL service is rolling out on a new streaming platform. AOL said the "ultravox" system reduces buffering and allows faster music downloads and of the Radio@AOL player itself.

The latest broadband offering is part of AOL's effort to return to its member-driven focus and roots, a major theme during the October launch of its software and e-mail client, 8.0. At the time, AOL said it would no longer accept pop-up ads once the current crop in rotation run out. AOL's Chief Executive, Jon Miller, said at the time the decision to drop pop-ups was driven by feedback from its subscribers.

The new Broadband@AOL service was also created by listening and responding to member feedback on its services, the company said. This time, it promises to serve no banner ads in the new radio service, which also features track information, celebrity guest interviews and live streams from traditional radio stations around country.

AOL's own in-house programming is included in the service, which is produced by AOL's entertainment division. AOL's parent company, AOL Time Warner, has said it intends to have AOL produce more original content.

Although the service is free of banner ads, e-commerce opportunities will be hard to miss. In addition to contextual links to AOL's music search database, Broadband Radio@AOL will be offering the ability to purchase CDs or concert tickets right from the Radio@AOL player as the artist's track plays and added information is displayed.