Digital Radio to promote digital & connectivity in India: Venkaiah Naidu

Digital Radio platform is seen as promoting the digital and connectivity revolution in the country. Digital Radio technology provides listeners with significantly improved audio quality and service reliability at an affordable price. This was stated by M Venkaiah Naidu, Minister for Information & Broadcasting, during his address at the Digital Radio for All Round Table Conference organised by Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) along with Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL). 

Elaborating further, Naidu said that it was an opportune moment for automotive manufacturers and retailers to incorporate Digital Radio systems in vehicles that provided consumers with significantly improved audio quality and service reliability at an affordable price. This would enable the scaling up and adoption of this new digital technology. Digital Radio provides benefits to all the stakeholders, including listeners, manufacturers, broadcasters and regulators. 

Regarding achievements of All India Radio (AIR) in adopting Digital Radio technology, the Minister mentioned that AIR has already completed the technical installation and upgradation of 37 powerful transmitters in the first phase of digitisation of radio broadcast, a project unparalleled in the world today. This would ensure reduced electric power consumption for all digital transmissions, saving AIR and taxpayers significant transmission cost in the future. He added that AIR has re-invented itself through its digital transmitters based on the International ITU standard Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM). 

Emphasising on the need for the traffic advisory services on National Highways, Naidu said that the next phase of this service through AIR FM transmitters needed to be digitised based on the ITU standards to exploit its full potential. The service would offer multiple radio programmes, detailed and multi-lingual on-demand traffic & travel information and emergency warning services. 

From the listeners’ perspective the digital transmission would provide crystal clear and better-than-FM sound quality, enhanced programme choice, free access to textual news, sports, travel and weather information from the Internet in many languages simultaneously and would enable the transmission of emergency warning for immediately alerting the population in case of pending disasters. 

From a commercial perspective, the system provides audiences with receivers at an affordable price as well as an attractive package of benefits which include wider range of services, easier tuning and selection of programming, improved stereo and surround sound in cars amongst others. 

From a technical perspective, a key and a revolutionary feature of DRM is the ability to select from a range of transmission modes. This allows the broadcaster to balance or exchange bit-rate capacity, signal robustness, transmission power and coverage. The DRM broadcasting system is specifically designed to allow the new digital transmission to co-exist with the current analogue broadcasts.


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