Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hal Kneller on DRM in North America

Hal was one of the speakers during the recent DRM webinar. He serves as Market Development Manager for Nautel and was kind enough to answer one of my questions in detail:

Q: What does the consortium see as the biggest roadblocks in North America to DRM implimentation?

" In North America (and by this I am taking it as Mexico, US and Canada)
we have several possible issues regarding DRM implementation. First,
there is some DRM30 shortwave transmissions in North America and it is
certainly permitted if not encouraged. Medium wave is another
situation. In most areas of North America in populated regions we
have a great number of stations and not a lot of free spectrum so we
haven't had space to do DRM in MW. No stations want to turn off their analog
and broadcast DRM on a schedule as analog reception and listeners
would be disrupted.

In Mexico, it appears that HD Radio will emerge as the digital
standard based on some media reports I have seen, but DAB and DRM were both
examined. HD Radio is already on a number of stations along the border
area within Mexico, and is the approved and official digital standard
within the US for MW and FM.

In Canada many MW stations have been turned off. This means there is
potentially room for DRM to broadcast in the future and discussions
are being held with Canadian broadcasters and regulatory authorities. I
reference you to this on the DRM website for the latest in Canada.
Scroll down for the story on Canada.

In the US, there are DRM tests ongoing in Alaska with Shortwave. But
due to past FCC rulings on what the digital system in the US is, DRM
will probably not have a future in MW or DRM+ in FM band. If Channel
5-6 are allocated to radio (as has been petitioned), it could possibly use
DRM+ but more likely the FCC will reject the whole idea and Channel
5-6 will not be used for radio. There is nothing stopping SW broadcasts
in/from any of the North American countries from being DRM and CBC has also experimented with DRM in SW."

I offer Hal my thanks for his response.