Cost Implications of Adding DRM Functionality to ATSC 3.0 Receivers – Your Question Answered

Cost Implications of Adding DRM Functionality to ATSC 3.0 Receivers – Your Question Answered

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I have seen that proponents of the ATSC 3.0 digital TV broadcast standard have done tests including the DRM framework to enable full-featured digital radio services on the ATSC platform. What would be the cost implications of adding DRM functionality to ATSC 3.0 receivers?

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DRM digital radio reception can be implemented as stand-alone receivers (including home radios, car receivers and mobile phones), combined with other broadcast platforms such as ATSC 3.0 TV services, or even receiving DRM services via Internet over IP streaming. The core cost component for the DRM technology is exactly the same low IP royalty fee, independent of the platform or receiver type.

The other cost is one-time software development and – for stand-alone DRM radios – the per-unit hardware/production cost, i.e. the same as for any digital radio set irrespective of the standard.

Specifically, the IP royalty covering the DRM technology (including xHE-AAC audio codec and Journaline) is a one-time cost per device – without usage fees or recurring costs. For devices sold in emerging markets including India, Pakistan, Indonesia, South Africa and China, it is typically in the range between 0.10 USD and 0.76 USD (one-time per-device). Slightly higher values for mature markets.

In addition, for all DRM receiver devices that already include support for the AAC audio codec family, the DRM specific IP royalty is even further reduced to between 0.03 USD and 0.12 USD one-time per-device. These receiver types include mobile phones based on the Android (and iOS) operating system, as well as TV sets, set-top boxes and car receivers with multimedia and streaming capability.

It should be noted that DRM as the open digital radio standard and successor of the analogue AM and FM technologies is not owned or controlled by any single commercial company. As such, its IP royalties are handled by separate organisations (such as Via Licensing) based on published and standardized rates. Manufacturers do not need to request a ‘technology license’ to gain access to parts of the technology, nor can they be charged discriminatory fees – or even be denied a license altogether. This is a key factor and benefit of open standards for the industry, as proven by the Indian chipset and automotive industry.