Nautel-Digital-Radio-Showcase-Hal Kneller
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.
 
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HD Radio DRM logos

by Hal Kneller

 
Welcome to this edition of Digital Showcase in which I’ll discuss: the new DRM “Introduction and Implementation Guide” released in September at IBC in Amsterdam; some other DRM activities; as well as an update on HD Radio™ technology happenings including a number of new automotive models featuring digital receivers.

First in Amsterdam, Nautel and Teracom A/S featured a live DRM broadcast from Kalundborg, Denmark on 243 KHz Longwave, using Teracom’s Nautel NX50LW transmitter installed about 18 months ago (see photo below). The BBC provided content consisting of music and speech which was captured at about 180 km from the transmitter site and played in the Nautel stand during the DRM event. The audio quality of standard analog versus DRM digital was easy to hear, with DRM having nearly FM sound quality.

Read the full customer story ‘Danish Radio Returns to Long Wave Transmission’ >

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At a special DRM event during the IBC show (see photo below), the new DRM Introduction and Implementation Guide was unveiled by Ruxandra Obreja (Chair of DRM) and editor, Nigel Laflin. This new publication provides new and additional information on the DRM standard, particularly DRM+ (for VHF frequencies). Download it at the above link, free of charge.

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Trials in Brazil for both DRM and HD Radio systems have concluded, and the decision as to which digital system to adopt is projected to be announced by year’s end. Both proponents feel they are in a very good position, so only time will tell. Nautel participated in testing both digital systems in Brazil.

When I left iBiquity in 2009, they were struggling to say they had sold 1 million receivers. The current number of receivers in the market per their latest release is “nearly 9 million”, mostly attributable to automotive receiver sales. More models being delivered to North America are featuring HD Radio receivers as standard. The latest announcements are from Chevrolet, Lexus, Toyota and Hyundai, and 28 brands now feature the HD receivers in 150 models, 70 of which have them as standard equipment. Big-box retailer Best Buy has recently announced two new models which were featured in the last Digital Showcase.

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The “Artist Experience” (see photo above from inside a Chevrolet which is the first car model to offer this as standard equipment) which can show album art, station or client logos or other graphics is being adopted by more broadcast groups and the current software release from Nautel supports those efforts from a broadcast standpoint. Another new feature rolling out is a digital Emergency Alert System, a joint effort between iBiquity and Global Security Systems.

Mexico continues its roll-out quite aggressively in the retail side with radios available in many retail stores as broadcasts continue to expand in the US border areas as well as in Mexico City.

Currently, HD Radio broadcasts on over 2,200 stations, with 1,400 new “multicast” channels (HD2, HD3 and HD4) on suitably equipped FM stations.

HD Radio is a registered trademark of iBiquity Digital Corporation.

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