Digital Radio DRM transmissions begin in Europe | radioinfo

Digital Radio DRM transmissions begin in Europe

Thursday 12 June, 2003

The world's first daily Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) broadcasts begin next week (16 June).

VT Merlin Communications has announced it will be providing the DRM transmission platform for a number of international broadcasters involved in the broadcasts, including BBC World Service, Wales Radio International and Christian Vision, as part of DRM's Inaugural Broadcasts event in Geneva during the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC 2003).

VT Merlin has two high power shortwave transmitters converted to DRM
capability, which will deliver digital AM transmissions for Geneva and Western
Europe. In addition, they will also be using their new DRM-capable high power
mediumwave transmitter at their MF mediumwave site in Orfordness, Suffolk,
United Kingdom to carry BBC World Service DRM programming.

The beginning of the world's first DRM broadcasts will be marked by a reception at Geneva's Chateau de Penthes. VT Merlin's
program manager, digitalization Peter Gordon said: "As a founder member of the DRM
consortium, VT Merlin is very proud to be playing a high profile role in these
inaugural DRM broadcasts. It marks the beginning of what we expect to be a
revolutionary new technology for AM broadcasting. VT Merlin has made significant
investment in its DRM platform and we look forward to demonstrating the full
range of DRM's capabilities in Geneva, including AM transmissions in near FM
quality."

VT Merlin Communications (formerly Merlin Communications) has been a DRM
member since the consortium was formed in 1998. DRM members Deutsche Welle,
Radio Netherlands, Voice of America, CBC/Radio Canada International, Radio
Sweden International, Radio France, DeutschlandRadio, T-Systems, TDF and Thales
Broadcast & Multimedia have also announced their participation in DRM's
Inaugural Broadcasts event.

DRM is a non-proprietary, digital system for shortwave,
mediumwave/AM and longwave with the ability to use existing frequencies and
bandwidth across the globe. With clear, near-FM quality sound that offers a
dramatic improvement over analogue, DRM claims to “revitalize the broadcasting bands below 30 MHz.” DRM and America’s IBOC system have some similarities, but IBOC, which has run into some technical difficulties lately, uses a proprietary compression algorithm that is not the same as DRM.

The DRM consortium's membership stands at 80 members from 29 countries. DRM reached an important milestone in January 2003, when the International
Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) gave the DRM on-air system its highest stamp of
approval - International Standard.

Commercial DRM-capable receivers are expected
to be available in markets worldwide in the next few years.

VT Merlin Communications, part of VT Group plc, provides
communications and broadcast services to customers in the broadcast,
defence, space communications, emergency services and security sectors
worldwide. Operating an international shortwave network, VT Merlin transmits over 1,000 hours of both short and mediumwave broadcasts every day.

Currently VT Merlin broadcasts for major international broadcasters
including BBC World Service, ABC Australia, NHK (Radio
Japan), Radio Canada International, Radio Netherlands and Voice of America.

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