April 21, 2007

Digital Radio Mondiale Comes to Devon

Digital Radio Mondiale: Testing in Devon

Digital Radio mondiale is digital radio for Medium wave listeners.  

The first test of this is going ahead in Devon reports the BBC Press Office

This test will start on the 23rd April 2007.

Below the Morphy Richards DRM receiver. Currently this appears to be the only equipment capable of receiving the signal. Lack of receivers could stymie the initiative but the BBC a giving 100 testers a receiver to do the test with. Which is just as well really because as they say on their 'questions answered'  page :

There are a number manufacturers in the UK who are planning to produce digital medium-wave capable radios, although none is yet ready to buy in the shops. As they are not yet readily available, we're not able to say how much a digital medium-wave radio will cost.

DRM Radio

Whilst nobody seems to be selling the Morphy richards here at present although there is apparently a 'grey market' there is a USB alternative which can link to your laptop or PC. so if you live in Devon this could be a good opportunity. The USB Radio comes from WinRadio. At $600 they will be moving off the shelves fast I'm sure.  

Winradio USB DRM

What is DRM? 


DRM.  (Meaning 2) DRM or Digital Radio Mondiale is the world's only, open standard digital radio system for short-wave, AM/medium-wave and long-wave. It has been endorsed by the ITU, IEC and ETSI. DRM is the only universal, open standard digital AM radio system with near-FM quality sound available to markets worldwide. Unlike digital systems that require a new frequency allocation, DRM uses existing AM broadcast frequency bands. The DRM signal is designed to fit in with the existing AM broadcast band plan. Below a Morphy richards DRM Radio.

By comparison with new DAB systems the current technology can be cheaply adapted to transmit digitally on these frequencies. Reputedly the sound quality is very good indeed.

The DRM system uses existing AM broadcast frequencies to deliver near-FM quality digital sound.

It uses compression to squeeze clear digital sound into the narrow radio channels that currently carry crackly analogue signals.

The DRM technology has the potential to make digital radio available in places that Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) radio or even FM will probably never reach. (BBC Story)

BBC Your Questions answered page on DRM in response to the Devon test. This gives a good range of detail.

Recent Guardian story on Organgrinder's Blog here.




Putting British Digital Radio Broadcasting in Persepctive

Below press releases from Radioscape a digital radio developer



Why is the UK leading in DAB?

There are three things that need to come together for DAB to be successful.

  • First, the broadcast infrastructure has to be in place to reach the majority of the population.
  • Second, receivers need to be available at consumer price points - sub £100 was the breakthrough price for the UK.
  • Third, there has to be different and compelling content.

In many countries, DAB just duplicated existing radio stations so there was no compelling reason to buy a DAB receiver. However, in the UK the BBC pioneered the launch of several completely new DAB radio stations that makes it worthwhile for people to buy a new radio and provides momentum and a critical mass of potential listeners to support the launch of commercial DAB radio stations. As a result, there are hundreds of DAB stations across the UK - more than the number of FM stations.




Radioscape continued


What is DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) and does it compete with DAB?

DRM is the only global standard for the digitising of broadcasting in the AM (SW, MW and LW) frequency bands. Able to cover great distances and provide near “FM quality” audio using much lower transmission power and smaller amounts of spectrum, DRM is currently being widely adopted around the world to provide new and higher quality broadcasts for both national and international audiences. Over 20 Broadcasters are already broadcasting using DRM across the globe and include the BBC (World Service), Deutsche Welle, RTL Group, Radio Netherlands, and TDF. More information can be found at www.drm.org

DAB is ideal for short range broadcasts of a few dozen miles or kilometers so that a network of transmitters is required to cover a country. By contrast, one DRM transmitter can cover an entire continent and even go from one continent to another. Thus DAB is best suited to areas of high population density with DRM being able to cover these and areas of low population density. DAB is able to provide an enhanced user experience by being able to carry additional data such as EPG (Electronic Programme Guides), information related to the current programme and even video. DRM, however, can only carry a small amount of data.

The future for DAB and DRM is not as rivals but as complementary technologies. At IFA 2005, RadioScape was the first company in the world to show a multi-standard consumer receiver that could receiver DRM, DAB, MW, LW, SW and FM. This fully integrated solution enables the listener to select what he or she wants to listen to from a display of available radio stations and the receiver works out which technology to use. This is the content-driven future for Digital Radio, where the technology to deliver it is transparent to the user.




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