DRM Receiver in a Car Dashboard – Your Question Answered

DRM Receiver in a Car Dashboard – Your Question Answered

Our best specialists will respond in brief to your questions. We will post them regularly. Please submit them in writing and in audio with your picture and we will post the answers here. Please keep your questions short and relevant and send them to: projectoffice@drm.

19th April 2021


I know that the DRM standard is already “running” in Indian quite extensively in the MW AM bands. I would also like to understand whether an existing DRM receiver in the car dashboard can also be used for HD? [A Gupta]


DRM Automotive Industry Group: As you know the DRM standard is an open and global system. DRM manufacturers do not need to sign license contracts to gain access to the technology, and broadcasters do not need to pay for advanced features or simply broadcasting using the standard.

DRM receivers for the AM bands are already present in around 3 million Indian car radios. These devices could be easily upgraded to incorporate DRM in the FM-band, too, as proven during the India trial in March, given that FM band support for a DRM receiver is a mere software-upgrade and does not require additional royalties.

The situation would be very different if India adopted a different standard such as HD Radio to digitize the FM band. A radio set combining DRM (as required for India in any case) with HD Radio does not yet exist anywhere in the world. It would need a new and possibly very costly project to provide a multi-standard DRM-HD chipset and receiver solution, thus delaying and even jeopardising the radio digitisation process already underway in India and possibly making useless 3 million car radios. This seems to be a very costly, time-consuming and counter-productive solution.

Getting one standard for the AM bands and a non-compatible separate system to digitize the FM bands, or even switching digital standards in an immature market, is unheard of and never attempted for very sound technical and commercial reason. It imposes, a completely avoidable extra set of IP royalty cost, implementation and testing effort on manufacturers, and creates an inconsistent digital radio listener experience, where highly valued services (such as Journaline) would not be available on local services and for private broadcasters. Such a message would demotivate the Indian automotive industry to give up on digital radio completely. To even contemplate such an endeavour would send the wrong message in India and internationally as there would be few winners and one possible casualty, Indian radio.