Tuesday 10 November 2015

Much Increased FM Radio Data Capacity 2016

RDS2 on FM will challenge DAB for text and picture display
The new RDS2 system was presented in Berlin on Nov. 3. An enhanced version of the radio data system used by FM radio, RDS2 is backward compatible with RDS receivers. With this new technology, broadcasters will be able to continue using the existing RDS system, which is now 30 years old, and opt for RDS2, to be available in 2016, as an option. FM radio will now have a capacity for enhanced text and picture performance also much touted by DAB promoters.

RDS2 will have three additional subcarriers, all modulated and structured like the already existing RDS, which only has one subcarrier on 57 kHz. This configuration permits the transmission of as much as four times more data than over RDS, explains Dietmar Kopitz, CEO of the RDS Forum office in Geneva. But in specific cases like RDS-TMC (traffic message channel), the increase can be much higher since the upper carriers will then only transmit applications, he said. It will be possible to add many new features to RDS.

The implementation of RDS2 using mainly digital signal processing for encoding and decoding allows already manufactured hardware RDS receivers to become RDS2 compatible, said Kopitz. Thus far, we have not identified any negative aspects of the RDS2 worldwide standard, which allows for variants depending on the region of operation. RDS2 will support UTF-8 coded character sets and provide service linking so that radio programs can be received as Internet streams.