| 19 Jun 2024
The 'Make in India' campaign could result into production of affordable DRM radio sets

NEW DELHI: While All India Radio is all set to launch the DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) service in the country, the primary problem is the lack of affordable DRM sets.

AIR director general, F Sheheryar expressed the hope to that sets would cost lesser than Rs 1000 for the broadcaster to launch the service.

Earlier this year, Radio Asia 2014 meet organised by the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union was told that AIR is currently running the largest shortwave DRM service in the world, and medium wave services are planned.

The main target is to consider integrated digital radio chipsets, allowing FM, DAB+, DRM and other digital radio standards on the same radio set.

The sources said only 36 digital transmitters of AIR will be ready by the end of this calendar year.

However, DRM Consortium India Chapter Honorary Chairman Yogendra Pal told recently that a total of 143 digital transmitters had been cleared by the Planning Commission.

Pal said after these projects are completed, it will have covered 70 per cent by digital radio. He said the sub-group set up by the Planning Commission has set 2017 as the deadline for AIR to go digital.

The range of the transmitters cleared by the Planning Commission varies between 1 to 1000 MW and AII India Radio expects that all the 50 and 300 MW transmitters will be completed by the end of this year.

Pal has said that Communications Systems, Delhi, have produced the first low-priced DRM sets in the country.

He said recently that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is considering implementing traffic information systems using DRM, and is proposing a pilot project between Delhi and Jaipur. AIR recently demonstrated the DRM’s Emergency Warning feature at a media and entertainment summit in Delhi, hoping that it would be incorporated into the DRM transmitters being operated by it.

He said DRM in-car radio has already been demonstrated by NXP India and it is understood that seven leading Indian manufacturers are poised to announce dates by which their cars will have built-in DRM radios.

Pal said on the DRM Consortium India Page that it is time for AIR to announce what audio and value-added text services are planned for the eight DRM transmitters already operational and the 27 under installation.  This will encourage other domestic manufacturers to plan production of DRM receivers, not only to meet domestic demand but also for export, so that DRM can also contribute to the Prime Minister’s "Make in India" initiative.

TVB Subrahmanyam, Director of Worldwide Home Audio Consumer Segment, Analog Devices, India, said in an article on the India page that the DRM radio set unveiled at the International Broadcasting Convention this year had created a lot of sensation.

But he said there was some apprehension about the initial price tag and hoped the prices would fall once the service is launched and the demand for such sets begins.