A new digital radio technology called Digital Radio Mondiale(R) (DRM(R)) is now taking off according to RadioScape, one of the world’s leading companies in digital radio technology. The DRM standard, which is complimentary to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), digitises the Long Wave, Medium Wave, and Short Wave frequencies giving near FM-quality reception.
RadioScape is now shipping the award winning RS500 module, which provides reception for DAB (Band-III & L-Band), DRM (LW, MW & SW), FM-RDS AM (LW, MW & SW) including AMSS, automatic alternative frequency switching (AFS), EPG (DAB), SDCARD Recording (DAB/DRM) and playback of MP3/WMA files.
The first multi-standard radio, based on the RS500, recently became available in Germany from 004 GmbH via T-Online. On November 21, 004 GmbH will be making the radios available to customers in France, Portugal, Spain, Holland, Belgium, and the UK – details can be found on digitalradioportal.com. The radio is the Morphy Richards 27024 and other manufacturers’ models are expected to be available soon.
Robert Hein, CEO at 004 GmbH, said “The DRM/DAB radios have been selling well and so we have put in a further two orders for more radios to meet growing demand. Customers are really excited by this new generation of digital radios and the new services that they bring.”
“There is a huge amount of collaborative effort behind the rollout of DRM,” explained John Sykes, Project Director for Digital Radio at BBC World Service. “Manufacturers, retailers and broadcasters are all working together to help make this happen as quickly as possible. DRM opens up new markets for broadcasters and advertisers by exploiting the huge geographical coverage of these services. Consequently consumers will have more new stations to choose from, especially in rural areas.”
Right from the inception of this new product development, RadioScape has ensured that DRM integrates seamlessly with DAB. Users will not have to be concerned with having to know which technology or frequency to tune in to. Users simply select the station name just as they do for DAB today. The RS500-powered radio displays a list of all the stations available on DAB, DRM, FM, MW, LW and SW.
“We are delighted that consumers can now start buying DRM radios,” said DRM Chairman and Director, DRM, at Deutsche Welle, Peter Senger. “DRM offers listeners improved audio quality and choice and so we anticipate that sales will ramp up very quickly.”
RadioScape predicts that DRM will have different rates of take up according to country. Germany has been chosen as the launch country since many new DRM broadcasts originate there. Deutsche Welle DRM programmes can be clearly heard throughout most of Europe. The Russian radio network is going digital with DRM and there are many countries, such as China, Australia, and Canada that are very keen on DRM, where the new radios could also sell in significant quantities.
“RadioScape’s unique software-based module is currently the only solution available to make consumer-priced, multi-standard receivers,” concluded John Hall, RadioScape’s CEO. “This gives us a huge head start in being the source for the rapid growth in multi-standard radios that consumers around the world will be buying over the next few years as more retailers follow T-Online’s lead. We are already talking to half a dozen radio manufacturers who also want to bring out multi-standard DRM radios next year. We use a world-class, contract manufacturing facility in China and so we are confident that we can ramp module production to meet this demand.”
As total sales of DRM/DAB receivers grow, RadioScape forecasts that the normal economics of mass production will help reduce the costs of the multi-standard receivers to a point where the premium for DRM over the costs of DAB receivers will rapidly decline.
The cost to broadcasters for changes to the transmitter equipment is low as many existing AM transmitters can be easily modified to carry DRM signals. No new licenses are required as the broadcasters are already broadcasting on those frequencies. There are currently over 30 broadcasters transmitting DRM content, totalling over 700 broadcast hours per day.
About Digital Radio Mondiale
DRM is the world’s only, universal, open standard for the digitizing of short-wave, medium-wave and long-wave broadcasting. Additionally, the DRM consortium has begun the process of extending the DRM system into the broadcasting bands up to 120 MHz. Able to cover great distances and provide near “FM quality” audio using lower transmission powers and compatible channel allocations, DRM is currently being adopted in markets worldwide to provide new and higher quality broadcasts for local, national and international audiences. More than 30 broadcasters are already using DRM across the globe, including the BBC World Service, Deutsche Welle, RTL Group, Radio Netherlands, and TDF.
RadioScape(R) Ltd. is the world’s only developer of end-to-end digital audio broadcasting solutions giving RadioScape unmatched systems knowledge and enabling it to ensure that customers receive the highest levels of quality, robustness and reception at all stages. Its Digital Radio Broadcast Suite is used extensively throughout the world including the largest DAB installation to date — the UK’s commercial DAB network. This is also being used to roll out Mobile TV services using Digital Multimedia Broadcasting in many countries, particularly in the Asia Pacific region where there are already many installations in China.
RadioScape’s innovative Software Defined Digital Radio(TM) approach has made it a leader in DAB and DMB technology with its DAB receiver modules being extensively used by many of the world’s leading consumer electronics manufacturers. The company has recently begun shipping its first generation of DRM/DAB modules, enabling multi-standard consumer receivers to reach retail this year. Founded in 1996, RadioScape’s investors include Atlas Ventures, Royal Bank Ventures Investments, Scottish Equity Partners, JAFCO, Texas Instruments, Yasuda Enterprise Development, iGlobe Partners, Psion and Arqiva. RadioScape is headquartered in London, England with offices in Singapore and Hong Kong.
RadioScape is a registered trademark and Software Defined Digital Radio is a trademark of RadioScape Limited.