Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Interview with Rafael Diniz of DRM-Brasil

I asked Rafael to tell us about himself, his work and the current status of DRM in Brazil. is pleased to once again offer an English language exclusive! Although Brazil is not exactly NORTH America, Rafael's work is a testimony to what can happen in the Americas!

"My name is Rafael Diniz, I'm graduated in Computer Science in the Campinas
University (Unicamp) and I'm now working with Digital TV broadcast
equipment. I'm a radio aficionado since about 2002 and right now I'm
deeply involved with the Digital Radio discussion in Brazil.

Well, my history in this DRM thing started in about 2007 when almost all
the "radio people" here believed HD Radio would be the standard chosen as
the Brazilian Digital Radio system. Since then I started publishing some
material about an alternative to the proprietary, unknown codec, HD Radio
system: the Digital Radio Mondiale system.

In 2009 the almost certain HD Radio future for Brazil began to change,
and DRM trials backed by the government take place again in Medium Waves
(previous trials in MW and SW have already happened back in 2005). A
little time before I got to know another great enthusiast of DRM here in
Brazil: Ataliba, and together we started promoting DRM where we could.

At the end of 2009 the Minister of Communications himself, previously a
big HD Radio supporter, admitted DRM was in the game for the Digital Radio
Standard definition in Brazil, and the Ministry of Communications itself
started to make the DRM trials all over Brazil with borrowed Digidia,
Nautel, Fraunhofer and RF Mondial equipment. In January 2010 we went to
visit Radio Cultura broadcasting in DRM in 1210 kHz in Sao Paulo. Also in
the beginnings of 2010 the first DRM+ trial (in the Minas Gerais
University Radio) took place and we started to believe that DRM could be
THE standard for Digital Radio in Brazil.

In June 2010 a major thing happened to me, I went to London for vacations
and in there I met in the BBC facilities Fanny Podworny and Ruxandra
, the DRM Chairman. We had two meetings, and one definition: the
Brazilian DRM Platform was created (

Me, Ataliba, and other radio aficionado friends built the Brazilian DRM
Platform with the purpose to help broadcasters, the government, and the
people in general to test and implement DRM in a way to show that it is
the standard that should be used worldwide for Digital Radio, and that
it's well suited for the Brazilian needs, including educational purposes,
large coverage issues, optimization of the spectrum, low cost radio
possibilities and so on.

Ruxandra Obreja said one thing very important: if Brazil chooses DRM
system as a whole for the Digital Radio, Brazil will be the one to take
DRM, including DRM+, "out of box", everybody will look at Brazil to see
how to make DRM work. And we already have some kind of experience with
that, with our modified ISDB-T Digital Television System, that we exported
freely to the entire South America and some countries in Africa also.

After that many things happened - more DRM+ trials (Sao Paulo and Rio de
Janeiro), we showed the government a low cost DRM+ transmitter setup
(using the USRP and Spark) and low cost receiver solutions Ataliba is

Now the government is changing here in Brazil (Dilma Rouseff is the newly
elected President) and the Minister of Communications will be aligned with
the government (left wing), and we expect that 2011 will be year of DRM
here in Brazil.

We of DRM-Brasil will continue our listening tests, and also our
developments in the transmitter area (big thanks to Michael, the author of
Spark, and Matt Ettus, the creator of the USRP) and receiver area.

The news about the DRM developments in Brazil can be read in in Portuguese, but we hope to start translating the
most important news for the interested English and Spanish speakers."

Thanks Rafael for an excellent interview. We hope to hear more great
things about DRM development in Brazil soon!