Hal Kneller is a 40 year veteran of the broadcast industry working both as an engineer for WGCU, WGSM, WCTO, WPAT as well as owner/operator of five of his own stations.
Hal is a past International Sales Manager for Europe for Nautel. He also worked for iBiquity Digital Corporation as Director of International Broadcast Development where he played a pivotal role in the promotion of Digital Radio.
by Hal Kneller
Welcome to Digital Radio Showcase, a regular column featuring the latest technical news and information regarding in-band digital radio solutions including HD Radiotm technology and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM).
It’s been a few issues since we updated readers on happenings with digital radio technologies. Two major trade shows in September revealed announcements from both the DRM Consortium and iBiquity (HD Radio technology).
First, at The Radio Show in Chicago were numerous major announcements from iBiquity regarding HD Radio receivers in new automobiles. Volkswagen is the first automaker to incorporate “The Artist Experience” into the dashboard of its 2012 models. This permits album art and station or client logos to be presented on the color display. Additionally, Kia Soul, Toyota Camry and Lexus will now offer HD Radio technology in 2012 models. Lexus will feature iTunes® tagging as well. These and other cars were on the floor with operating HD Radio receivers for all to see.
Also at the Radio Show in Chicago, iBiquity displayed a new Garmin PND (Personal Navigation Device) portable GPS system equipped with an HD Radio data receiver to capture instant traffic updates in what they call “3D Traffic” – it even includes which lane is blocked! While RDS/RBDS technology has permitted this in the past, HD Radio offers 10-15 times the data throughput so that traffic and alternate routes can be displayed and implemented before the motorist is stuck in the traffic. Data is refreshed every 30 seconds which was not possible over the slower RDS/RBDS analogue subcarrier.
Just a few days prior to the Radio Show, over 4,000 miles away (6,600 km) in Amsterdam, Netherlands, IBC, second only in size to the NAB April convention in Las Vegas was very active with digital radio as well. The DRM Consortium hosted three major events (one of which was in the Nautel stand) and this time featured a good number of consumer receivers and receiver prototypes from various manufacturers. Nautel showed DRM and DRM+ operational on medium wave, FM and 26 MHz and for the first time, all these frequencies could be heard on consumer-type receivers.
In addition to the receiver display, Nautel also featured a new product announcement unveiling “DRM Inside“. Designed with our partners at RFmondial, DRM Inside is an embedded DRM Modulator with Fraunhofer ContentServer. This product will permit far easier and cost-effective migration to DRM30 technology and will be controlled by the NX transmitter’s AUI (Advanced User Interface) and scheduler. Availability is expected during the first months of 2012. The product will eventually be introduced into NV and VS transmitters and offer the same benefits for DRM+.