At the end of each quarter you can get an update with the latest developments and achievements of the dB Digital Broadcasting DAB trial. To automatically receive updates by email or RSS feed see our Join In page.
Our first three months on-air have shown some very interesting insights into digital broadcasting.
The most interesting results are to do with receivers where we’ve found high error correction and bit rates are not handled as smoothly as one would hope. On the other hand, low bitrate DAB+ broadcasts have performed exceptionally well. MOT capable receivers have also shown outstanding performance with Slideshow on colour screens making a big impression on test groups.
Also on receivers, it is evident we have a lot of work to do in establishing the WorldDAB/EBU Profile 1 standard here in Ireland. This was introduced in 2009 to establish a Europe-wide market for manufacturers, broadcasters and consumers. Under the standard all digital radios should receive both DAB and DAB+ broadcasts. With the virtual certainty Ireland will move to DAB+ only this will be a key area of consideration.
On the transmission side of the trial, after testing a number of transmitters we have settled on regular use of a Harris DAB TX for the Dublin area. The transmitter is configured differently from the RTÉ mux to allow direct A/B comparisons of both services. As expected there are differences in distance and building penetration on both. Though the higher power transmissions do increase the service area it is not as great as we had expected. This will help in the planning of our forthcoming SFN, Single Frequency Network, part of the trial.
Public reaction to new trial services has been very positive. 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 what 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 BAI to enable broadcasting on DAB.
As we continue to work on aspects of content licence issues that have arisen in the past months we are delighted to announce today that two definite new services will broadcast on the trial before the end of November. Join our Twitter feed for updates.
Internationally, DAB is making advances with Denmark joining Norway and the UK as the third country to switch to DAB as its primary radio platform within the next seven years. Germany has celebrated a very successful first year on-air and in France the long promised licencing process for new DAB+ stations is in full swing.
Back in Ireland, our goals between here and Christmas are to increase power on our Dublin service and lay the foundations for an expansion of the trial to Cork & Limerick next year.