A system revision for Digital Radio Mondiale's (DRM) open source digital radio technology just approved by the European Standards Organization (ETSI) now includes DRM +, opening yet another path for the continent's digital radio migration.
DRM is hoping announcement of the new standard at last week's IBC 2009 in Amsterdam will open doors for the extension of its open standard digital radio technology into VHF spectrum now home to analog FM signals. The latest specification, ETSI ES 201 980 V3.1.1, incorporates an additional mode that allows DRM technology to take advantage of wider bandwidths available between 30 - 174MHz. With an occupied bandwidth of 95kHz designed to be used primarily with 100kHz channelization schemes, DRM+ is based on existing DRM 30 architecture using the same OFDM modulation plan and audio codec standards, including surround sound.
The ETSI approval comes on the heels of successful field tests and demonstrations of DRM+ in Europe, where it's being touted as a stand-alone digital system for community and regional broadcasters when and where carriage on Eureka 147 DAB/DMB multiplex systems is impractical.
DRM also used IBC 2009 as a stage to introduce a portfolio of DRM digital radio receiver profiles. The profiles are part of a broad effort to assist consumer electronics manufacturers, broadcasters, policymakers and even consumers in understanding what basic functionality is needed in order to make digital radio products interoperable across Europe. Lindsay Cornell, Chairman of DRM's Technical Committee and Principal Systems Architect for the BBC describes the profiles as a set "of mandatory features which must be implemented and recommended features which offer enhancements with wide appeal."
DRM says the new receiver profiles have been developed with the aid of consortium member experts representing silicon chip manufacturers, consumer device manufacturers, radio broadcasters and other experts from across the industry. Release of the revised standard came after an affirmative vote for adoption by a majority of ETSI members including Russia and the United States.