Friday, November 16, 2012

Harris aids DB Digital Broadcasting in first DAB Digital Radio trials

DB Digital Broadcasting, Ireland's national independent multiplex and network transmission provider, is using Harris transmitters in its Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) digital radio trials, currently taking place in and around Dublin.

Launched earlier this summer, the DAB digital radio trial currently broadcasts three radio services in the Dublin area: All 80s, UCB, and Raidió Rí-Rá, which to this point was an internet-only service. Each service broadcasts on traditional DAB and the new DAB+ standard. The DAB+ service includes slideshows displaying images as well as the station's audio broadcasts. In particular, All 80s is working with All-In-Media's Rapid software, delivering rich dynamically updated information from "now playing" to weather/traffic info plus listener requests, all displayed on-screen and delivered via Harris DAB transmitters.
DB Digital Broadcasting has standardized on Harris DAB transmitters after wide testing that included other manufacturers. The project employs high- and low-power Platinum VAX VHF air-cooled transmitter and Harris PowerSmart technologies for maximum space- and power-efficiency, while providing a solid foundation for network expansion as desired. The DAB transmitters are configured differently from Ireland national broadcaster RTÉ's analog mux to allow direct A/B comparisons of both services. The differences in distance and building penetration between systems will be investigated to help with planning of the forthcoming SFN (Single Frequency Network) part of the DAB trial.

"We selected Harris as our transmission partner since the company has an exceedingly good track record stretching over many years and is a recognized world leader in DAB technology." explained Dusty Rhodes, managing director of DB Digital Broadcasting. "Harris' involvement in projects such as Norkring's creation of the world's largest DAB radio network in Norway will enable it to manufacture DAB transmission solutions on a far greater scale and create economies of scale. The company's transmission track record, married with its direct experience in DAB radio, makes Harris an attractive proposition for us."

Expanding coverage and services planned

The DAB trials are on-going and DB Digital Broadcasting has ambitious network expansion plans. By Christmas, it intends to double the number of DAB radio services offered on the Dublin network to six, and in 2013 it plans to expand network coverage to the cities of Cork and Limerick.

"Public reaction to new trial services has been very positive." reports Rhodes. "We are constantly surprised by the amount of people who find our trial 'by accident' when playing with a new radio and wondering what the DAB button does!"

"Some disappointment has been expressed by members of the public that more commercial services are not available. Interestingly they view us, the mux provider, as being responsible for how many and which stations are broadcast. The reality is our trial is open to all but it is up to stations/content providers to acquire the appropriate licence from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to enable broadcasting on DAB."

(Source : Media Mughals)

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