Participants and visitors could experience the latest DRM features and check out broadcast solutions from a range of manufacturers at this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas, USA, from 7th to 10th of April.

The much discussed DRM features EWF (Emergency Warning) and MPEG xHE-AAC – the latest MPEG audio codec added to the DRM system specification in January – could be explored and experienced by visitors at the Fraunhofer IIS booth.

A full DRM transmission chain was set up there from DRM ContentServer and Modulator to a tablet with live USB-based DRM receiver and the DRM Multimedia Player radio app. By pushing the prominently located ‘Alert Button’  the receiver switched automatically from the currently tuned radio programme to the emergency announcement consisting of audio and Journaline-based multilingual text instructions.

In a separate exhibit the quality of the latest MPEG audio codec xHE-AAC (Extended High-Efficiency AAC) could be enjoyed. This new codec ensures equally good audio quality for both speech and music signals at very low bit rates (from 6 kbps on). xHE-AAC was recently added to the DRM system specification and provides broadcasters with the opportunity to transmit three high-quality stereo services in a single FM band signal, two stereo channels on a single medium wave broadcast, or FM like programmes even on the most robust short wave transmissions.

In addition, the latest enhancements to DRM transmission equipment and solutions were presented at various booths around NAB, including DRM Consortium members Ampegon, Continental Electronics, Nautel, RFmondial, Transradio, and others.

Report by Alexander Zink, Fraunhofer IIS