| 30 Mar 2023
German study finds transmission of DRM+ cheaper than DAB

NEW DELHI: The German Digital Radio Mondiale Forum recently revealed that DRM+ can be efficient for the distribution of one or more programs, while covering a small area with a single transmitter. On the other hand, DAB is effective while covering large areas with up to 16 to 20 simultaneous programs multiplexed on the same frequency.

The report highlighted both, the advantages and disadvantages of applying the DAB, DAB+ and DRM (DRM30, DRM+) to specific broadcasters in Germany. As per the report, DRM+, DAB and DAB+ can all be processed on the same receiver, provided the chipset has adequate computing power and memory. It also stated that while DRM+ for FM can be commercially transmitted through a USB stick, DAB would require minor tweaks to its software instead of complete modification of the Noxon hardware.

However, a major difference is that DRM+ amounts to a lower total cost of distribution (up to three programmes) in a specific area as compared to that of DAB. The study also finds that in comparison to the bandwidth needs and transmission capacity of DAB, DRM+ requires only about 10 per cent transmitter power and considerably lower bandwidth.

The report explained that should local FM broadcasts be distributed via large DAB transmitter networks covering many areas, the coverage will increase, giving rise to competitiveness with local providers in other areas. Simultaneously, it could result in an added financial burden for local FM broadcasters if they transmit in parallel on DRM+.

The EU Commission has been approached by the Community Media Forum Europe and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters recommending that DRM be utilised for local digital terrestrial radio. It pointed out that in areas where the DAB coverage is not feasible, DRM should be employed.

An emphasis was made that the industry would require a statement from broadcasters and regulators regarding the feasibility of DRM being an alternative to DAB in Europe, to enable bringing multi-standard receivers based on current multi-standard chipsets into the market.