03 Jul Why do I need a DRM receiver?
Answering your Questions:
As radio stations have multiplied across the globe, space on the frequency spectrum has become keenly contested. Engineers have been able to ease this pressure by maximizing the content within an available bandwidth by digitising the signal and so compressing the content. Through the additional use of error correction and coding techniques to enhance the signal, the migration from analogue to digital has been adopted around the world. Digitising the radio broadcast, offers clearer reception, a greater coverage area and the ability to pack more content and information within the existing bandwidth of traditional analogue radios. With India as the launch pad of such a digitization using DRM technology, it is obvious that the listener will now need a digital receiver in order to benefit from the digital broadcasts of All India Radio.
A few companies started designing these digital receivers, initially as lab prototypes and then in a pilot production stage. Like most technologies, the first generation products are generally assembled using discrete components. As the market size and competition increase, manufactures are forced to bring down the price of the finished product. Since the volumes have picked up significantly or have at least show good projections, semiconductor vendors then invest in integrating a lot of these discrete components and bring down the cost of the product. With time the shrinking silicon geometries help further in cost reduction. Such has been the evolution in many products, from FM radios to mobile phones.
High price in the initial stages have never been a deterrent factor for 30% of the Indian population, i.e. ~400 Million people. In many product categories, the markets also realized that the purchase of such expensive gadgets has been higher in rural areas than in urban part of the country. Typical example of such a market scenario is that of LCD TVs. Thus, the digital radio receivers will get sold both in rural and urban areas, even if they are initially expensive. With growing market potential leading to more number of players and competition, the prices will drop significantly. The leaders in this digital radio receiver segment also have higher profitability initially and the followers have larger volumes but lower margins later. Just as the price of a mobile phone could reduce to one-tenth in 10 years, digital radios will decrease significantly too.
T.V.B.Subrahmanyam, Senior Program manager, Analog Devices
Chair of the DRM Asia Group