ABU Digital Radio Development Report
An Update on the Latest Digital Radio Development Worldwide
for April 2011
Reported on 2 Mar 11: Australia’s Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital
Economy Senator Stephen Conroy officially switched on a system for the broadcast of DAB+ digital
radio in Parliament House in beginning of March, allowing Federal politicians to experience firsthand
the broadcast of 12 local stations on the DAB+ platform.
Government, opposition and independent MPs and Senators, plus digital radio manufacturers and
retailers attended the official switch on function hosted by the board and CEO of Commercial Radio
Australia and owners of radio broadcasters. All members of parliament and Senators were presented
with a digital radio donated by digital radio manufacturers; Bush, Grundig, NextWave Digital, OXX
Digital, Philips, Pure, Roberts, Sangean, Tangent and Teac.
The Parliament House digital radio signal is a re-boost of the Canberra regional trial that commenced
on 22 Jul 2010. Reinforcement of the signal was required to navigate the manmade and natural
challenges of the unique Parliament House structure.
Commercial radio broadcasters, Capital Radio, ARN and Austereo; and public service broadcaster
SBS, have jointly funded the trial.
Broadcast support includes: broadcast transmission infrastructure company Broadcast Australia;
multiplex infrastructure providers and systems integrators UGL Infrastructure/Radioscape. Digital
radio receiver support includes: Bush, Grundig, NextWave Digital, OXX Digital, Philips, Pure,
Roberts, Sangean, Tangent and Teac.
Reported on 16 Mar 11: Over the next 18 months, Ford (UK) plans to have all its new car offerings in
the UK fitted with a DAB digital radio as standard.
If it meets that target for year-end 2012, Ford will be a year ahead of the industry-wide agreement to
have DAB as standard by year-end 2013.
Ford has made DAB standard in the new Ford Focus, and is accelerating the rollout of in-car receivers
for other models because it may tempt buyers concerned about the mooted 2015 date for the
switchover of most services from FM to digital radio.
Reported on 21 Mar 11: Official data relating to digital radio broadcasts in Australia was released by
Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) on 21 Mar 11 in the Digital Radio Industry Report 2011, showing
there are nearly 700,000 people listening to digital radio in an average week, in the five state
metropolitan capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide and 406,012 digital radios
in the market.
When compared to 2009 (Jul 09 - Dec 09), there was an increase in digital sales of 185% in 2010/11
(Jan 10 – Jan 11) and a rise in digital radio listening to 5.6% (691,000 people) up from 3.7% (449,000)
The commercial radio industry has spent more than $25 million dollars on an ongoing and extensive
digital radio marketing strategy and campaign and continues to work collaboratively with digital radio
retailers and manufacturers to build the awareness with listeners.
The Digital Radio Industry Report 2011, compiled by CRA, includes data from the official radio
industry audience measurement survey provider, the Nielsen Company, consumer electronics market
research company GfK, market research organisations, the Hoop Group and HOED and an uptake
forecast from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The report highlights the fact that radio broadcasters continue to launch new digital-only services with
up to 20 new DAB+ only stations on air in each market, plus an additional 13 short-term or pop-up
There are now more than 80 different digital radio models on sale in Australia, across 700 retail
outlets plus online stores. The average sales price has fallen to AUD$105.
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Reported on 21 Mar 11: International DMB Advancement Group (IDAG) and tablet maker Enspert
have partnered to bring Android-based tablets with built in DMB, DAB and DAB+ to market on four
Enspert’s devices do more than other tablets; they also include radio and TV. That opens up for
innovative combinations between broadcasting and the Internet and will give the best of two worlds.
Enspert is the second biggest tablet maker in Korea. The cooperation involves four models branded
Identity, with screen sizes ranging from 7 to 9 inches and processors from 1GHz.
The tablets are produced in Korea and will be distributed in countries such as Australia, Germany,
Netherlands, Norway, South Africa and Vietnam.
IDAG works to promote TV, radio and data services via DMB, DAB and DAB+ but also combined
with Internet driven functionality via 3G and WLAN. The group is content and business driven and
focuses on devices, technical solutions and business models.
Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM)
Reported on 9 Mar 11: Asia was in the focus during the 23rd General Assembly of Digital Radio
Mondiale held for the first time in Malaysia with the support of the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union.
At this annual meeting of the Consortium, members from around the world discussed reports on all
the DRM activities undertaken during the past year and agreed on strategy and plans for the year
India remains the main focus of DRM activity in the region. Several other markets were discussed
including Russia and Korea. Russia is on the brink of launching a massive digitisation programme
using DRM technology. A report from Voice of Russia shed light on their plans of converting a vast
transmitter network to digital. New DRM member KETI (Korea Electronics Technology Institute)
released its positive findings from the recent DRM+ assessment in that country.
Members also heard reports from the Asia Sub Group which had success with the Sri Lanka DRM+
trial and is focussing on facilitating the DRM process in India. The extensive work done by the DRM
Receiver Group in bringing information and DRM equipment manufacturing companies together was
also presented to the members.
The annual General Assembly also welcomed new members Frontier Silicon, Silicon Laboratories
Inc. and KETI. The General Assembly was an opportunity for members to learn more about DRM
trials in Brazil and the progress made in the DRM+ trials currently on-going in Scotland. A special
event to be held in Edinburgh on March 29th will give a full view of the measurements and positive
findings of the most comprehensive DRM+ trial to-date.
The General Assembly rounds off a month of successful events in Asia, including Broadcast
Engineering Society annual conference and Radio Asia in India, where DRM was showcased and
important DRM issues were addressed.
Reported on 31 Mar 11: In Scotland, after three months of testing the technical capability of the
DRM+ digital radio system in FM band II, the trial organised by the DRM Consortium culminated in
a "DRM+ Experience Day" at which consortium members could experience ‘live’ DRM+ first-hand
in a real operating environment. At the workshop, early findings of the trial were also shared and
discussed. The test transmission and workshop demonstrated the capabilities and advanced features
of the DRM standard, including various audio configurations, the advanced text service Journaline
and alternative frequency signaling.
The DRM+ test transmission operates into an existing antenna that is shared with two FM services via
a combiner. Those services cover more than 500,000 people in urban, suburban and rural
environments. The main purpose of the trial was to measure the coverage of DRM+ operating in
various transmission modes and confirm its performance in terms of transmitter power compared to
the existing FM coverage.
The presentations covering the system design and transmitter installation were supplemented by a real
taste of DRM+ while driving around in a specially fitted vehicle receiving both DRM+ and FM. The
participants were impressed with the live performance of DRM digital radio system in the challenging
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radio reception environment of Edinburgh.
Further measurements are to be taken as the trial is nearing its end and the measurement data will be
shortly made available to international regulatory bodies such as the ITU and CEPT.
HD Radio (IBOC)
Reported on 1 Mar 11: According to an iBiquity press release, Mexico's Comisión Federal de
Telecomunicaciones (COFETEL) has submitted documentation to Mexico's regulatory body
(COFEMER) recommending that HD Radio be adopted as a voluntary national standard for digital
radio within existing AM and FM radio services. Unlike the FCC's rulemaking process in the United
States, COFETEL must submit its policy decisions to COFEMER for final review and integration into
Mexico's federal code of regulations.
Despite the fact that industry observers have considered the decision a foregone conclusion for some
time, a final adoption of the policy by COFEMER could help iBiquity to build additional marketing
cache by referring to its proprietary IBOC technology as a "multi-national standard."
The document approved by COFETEL's commissioners contains a transition plan for IBOC
technology similar to that drafted by the FCC in the United States. Principal stipulations include:
• Voluntary use by AM and FM licensees.
• Hybrid (analog with digital) mode operation only
• Primary-channel digital audio must be a simulcast of analog programming
• Optional multicasting, as practical
The telecom regulator noted that its recommendation would not preclude further trials and potential
adoption of alternate digital radio technology (i.e., DRM 30) for use in spectrum other than AM and
FM broadcast, such as the HF broadcast bands.
COFETEL will reportedly consult with COFEMER during the final adoption process.
Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB)
Reported on 4 Mar 11: Fujitsu announces the implementation of Ginga developed by the firm TOTVS
for its DTT HD STB line in Latin America. The device will include StickerCenter interactive
application platform which is created by TOTVS. The middleware developed by TOTVS is called
ByYouTV. Fujitsu is promoting its products in countries that have chosen ISDB-T such as Brazil and
Fujitsu and TOTVS showcased the Fujitsu MB86H610 HD STB and ByYouTV at the China Content
Broadcasting Network Exhibition (CCBN) in Beijing from 23 to 25 Mar 2011.
Reported on 15 Mar 11: Paraguay carried out its first ISDB-T trial with the purpose of starting its
Digital TV deployment this year. The trial was broadcast from headquarter of the Information and
Communications for Development with the support from Japanese technical experts. Public TV will
start with DTT in May in the capital city of Asunción and the Metropolitan area.
NEC Corporation is helping Paraguay to set up the new public TV channel that will be inaugurated on
14 May as part of Paraguay’s Independence Bicentennial celebrations.
Digital Satellite Radio
Reported on 17 Mar 11: SiriusXM Radio Inc., an American broadcasting company that provides
satellite radio services, has announced update for its Internet radio app running on the Apple platform
including iPod Touch, iPhone, and the iPad.
The app delivers over 120 SiriusXM channels rendering music, news, entertainment and more. The
refreshed design features album art and artist biographies. A technical update has also included in the
app to enhance audio quality and performance on the cellular networks.
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There’s a “Favourite Channels” function which let people mark out their preferred SiriusXM Internet
radio stations. The app even involves a ‘Lookaround’ facility for checking out tracks that are playing
on a channel other than the one being listened to.
Fans can sign up for a 7-day introductory trial of SiriusXM by downloading the app through iTunes.
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