Friday 30 March 2018

HD Radio Demos All-Digital FM in Las Vegas

A total of 12 HD Radio channels from a single transmitter
The upcoming NAB convention in Las Vegas next month is planning a live demo of all-digital FM HD Radio featuring a total of 12 HD Radio channels from a single transmitter during the show. The Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology conference will detail extensive high-power field testing of all-digital FM conducted earlier this year in Las Vegas using radio station KKLZ in Beasley.  The demo might indicate a breakthrough for terrestrial digital radio in North America.

Up until now only limited field testing of all-digital HD Radio has been conducted with low transmit power (100W) and reception equipment in non-real world test conditions. KKLZ’s IBOC signal during the NAB Show will be based on the Nautel all-digital HD multiplex signal composed of three interleaved IBOC sidebands,

To maintain KKLZ’s regular program service, the center sidebands are muted and replaced with the analog FM carrier. The result is two independent IBOC sidebands on both sides of the analog FM signal for a combined bitrate of 394 kbps (over 3.2x standard IBOC capacity), providing up to 12 HD Radio audio services plus the analog FM signal all broadcast by a Nautel GV40 transmitter from the Black Mountain transmission site, according to Philipp Schmid, Nautel research engineer.

The four digital sidebands will be available on 96.0, 96.2, 96.4 and 96.6 MHz that are not normally associated with standard FM radio stations and are receivable on some commonly available HD Radio receivers, Schmid said. Meanwhile, KKLZ’s regular FM programming will be available on 96.3 MHz.

Additional facts
Together with DAB the HD Radio (IBOC) system is the oldest system for digital terrestrial radio put in operation in the 1990’s.  As the DRM-system HD Radio is using the FM and MF (mediumwave) bands for local and regional coverage while DAB is using the TV band VHF III.

HD Radio is established in North America, DAB in some European countries and Australia, DRM mostly in Europe and Asia. China and Japan have their own systems respectively.

The HD Radio radio platform is estimated to be used by 6% of the U.S. radio listeners, while AM/FM is still dominant; more than 90%. For many years satellite radio has also been a popular alternative especially for in-car listening. Smartphone on-line listening is rapidly increasing as a major digital alternative to analog AM/FM.

Read more in Radio World (US)
NAB Plans All-Digital FM Demo in Vegas
NAB to Detail All-Digital FM Field Test Data

Also read

HD Radio On Trial in Norway
Norway Is Not a Trendsetter for FM Radio