DRM Workshop outlines benefits of DRM digital radio solution for Asia

DRM Workshop outlines benefits of DRM digital radio solution for Asia

An energizing DRM digital radio workshop “Unique Benefits for Your Needs” was conducted on March 6th during the ABU Digital Broadcasting Symposium (DBS) in Kuala Lumpur that attracted delegates from all over Asia.

Delegates were particularly excited to experience a live DRM receiver prototype in USB dongle form attached to a hand-held tablet, enabling mobile DRM30 and DRM+ reception. The associated DRM radio app running on the tablet is available for Android, Windows and other platforms. It supports full DRM audio and multimedia decoding, including the latest MPEG xHE-AAC audio codec, the DRM Emergency Warning Functionality (EWF), and all DRM data services such as Text Messages, Journaline on-demand advanced text and Slideshow images.

Participants were also very encouraged to learn about the commitment of the Indian electronics industry to push the development and manufacturing of affordable yet feature-rich digital radio receivers. This was the key result of the digital radio workshop conducted a week earlier in Delhi by CII – the Confederation of Indian Industry – together with the DRM Consortium and several industry partners. Development snapshots of first DRM receivers made-in-India were presented during the event. AIR representatives confirmed that they are currently in the process of rolling out DRM digital radio on their national network to provide additional radio services in FM quality to over 900 million people in India, once phase I is finalized later this year. Over 400 million listeners are already covered by DRM transmissions today. According to All India Radio simulcast transmissions should be maintained until 2016. During the DBS workshop John Abdnour (Nautel) updated delegates on the current stage of the AIR installation programme currently underway. Alexander Zink (Fraunhofer IIS) gave the latest receiver developments at the recent CII seminar.

Besides the news from India, greeted with great interest by the participants, the DRM workshop during ABU-DBS also contained a whole range of relevant news and updates on DRM and its progress. The workshop was hosted by the Chair of the DRM Technical Committee, Lindsay Cornell (BBC), who explained and demonstrated the latest MPEG xHE-AAC audio codec being adopted by DRM to support multiple FM quality services even in standard MW transmissions. Alexander Zink’s (Fraunhofer IIS) presentation on the DRM Emergency Warning Feature was of particular interest to many in the audience as it allows to use the large-area coverage potential combined with the audio and text features of DRM transmissions to immediately reach a maximum number of listeners in case of pending disasters – whether at home, in the office or on the road.

Hermann Zensen (Digidia) gave a very clear explanation on how the DRM system offers a robust digital modulation and thus enables clear reception even under challenging conditions thanks to DRM digital radio. Matthias Stoll (Ampegon) gave an outline of how DRM is a very efficient and green broadcasting solution with opportunities to reduce costs and deliver broadcast spectrum efficiencies, definitely the hot topic at this year’s DBS.

A simulcast transmission was announced to be maintained until 2016 (keeping the analogue AM AIR service in place next to the new digital DRM signal), with a switch to full-digital operation after 2016. The large participation of this CII kick-off event for the Indian industry included car manufacturers, chipset and receiver manufacturers, broadcasters and network operators, and media representatives.

The workshop was concluded with a Q&A session, which drew a number of engaged questions and positive comments from the audience.