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DRM initiative enables mass-market in-car digital radio

Picture this: an emerging market of over a billion people, in which the national public radio broadcaster can access over 99% of the population. Imagine the same country soon using just over 70 updated medium wave transmitters to cover 70% of its area digitally through the . Then imagine travelling from the administrative to the commercial capital whilst listening to uninterrupted news, sport and music. That country is India, and the new digital audio standard is DRM.

The DRM standard has been designed specifically as a . The DRM standard is promoted globally by the , a non-profit international organisation uniting all key DRM players. India and Russia are the two main countries which have decided to adopt DRM for digitising their vast radio networks.

The DRM standard has been designed specifically as a high quality digital replacement for current analogue radio broadcasting on the AM and FM/VHF bands.

In view of the expected high demand for digital car radios in the near future, NXP Semiconductors, a DRM Consortium member, has launched a multi-standard chipset which permits manufacturers across the world to offer in-car DRM digital radio. Using ‘s new DRM software, , suppliers and OEMs can add to existing DRM (DRM30). With the hardware already in place, enabling DRM simply requires a software update. It can be done with basic analogue radios, too, by adding NXP’s digital radio co-processors.

In countries where the retrofitting of modern radio sets is possible, DRM can also be built into existing vehicles. This appears to be the case in India, but less so in Europe, where continuous, border-free access would be ideally suited. Whilst possible in practice, in reality it depends on the standard adopted in each country.

Although the DRM component of the new chipset is particularly attractive at this moment for India and Russia, the DRM standard is suitable anywhere.

If some countries (like Australia or the UK) , and even maintain some FM broadcasting, this new chipset solution could easily cope as it allows switching from one standard to another, giving the listener continuous access to a preferred channel or programme. The new NXP solution will enable locally-built or imported mass receivers to decode any digital audio signal.

Although the DRM component of the new chipset is particularly attractive at this moment for India and Russia, the DRM standard is suitable anywhere. Any country which adopts the DRM AM options (SW, MW and LW) for its transmissions, and later even the offering for VHF bands (DRM+), will have a solution. DRM (DRM30 in SW) is the only digital signal that truly transcends borders and gatekeepers: neither DAB nor HD Radio can do that. Brought together, the right content, the advantages of DRM and now the versatile chipset can deliver the rightly priced receiver to the end-user.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Greenstreetsoftware.info Ltd.

Ruxandra Obreja is Chairman of the

Digital Radio Mondiale Consortium (DRM) is an international non-profit organisation working for the adoption of DRM global radio digital standard at regional, national and international level. The DRM standard has been designed specifically as a high quality digital replacement for current analogue radio broadcasting in the AM and FM/VHF bands. As such it can be operated with the same channelling and spectrum allocations as currently employed

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