Swedish Radio: 192kb/s Needed for DAB+ to Match FM

November 25, 2013

Luleå, Sweden - Nov 18, 2013 - Jan Berg, associate professor at Luleå University of Technology, and Lars Jonsson, technology strategist at Swedish Radio, have published the results of a study in which they studied how the perceived quality of DAB+ transmission is affected by the data rates used.

"We have indications showing that close to 300kb/s would be needed to get what is referred to as a perceptually transparent system where no quality degradations can be noticed," said Berg in an article in Science Daily. "If you aim to compete with a high-quality FM system, you should run DAB+ at its maximum of 192kb/s to maintain the quality for sounds that are typical and frequently occurring in broadcasting."

The paper identifies two mutually-exclusive characteristics of DAB+ mux transmission: the high data rate required to achieve good sounding digital radio, versus the demand for capacity to make room for more radio channels, all within a limited bandwidth. DAB+ is comparable to an ordinary FM-system down to 160kb/s, according to the article. Below that rate, the quality is significantly degraded. "Therefore this study is important for those who will decide on the allocation of the data rate," said Jonsson.

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