The Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) system enhancement has been approved by the European Standards Organisation – ETSI. The DRM system revision v3.1.1 offers two major improvements like the extension to all broadcast bands up to 174MHz and the introduction of MPEG surround support. The DRM system specification was revised to incorporate an additional mode designed for the lower VHF band (i.e. broadcast frequencies between 30MHz and 174MHz) allowing operation in bands I and II (the FM band). This standard enhancement is called DRM+.
The membership vote for the new DRM System Specification (ETSI ES 201 980 V3.1.1) was closed and approved last week by a majority of members, including Russia and the US. A download version of the DRM system specification is now available on the ETSI website, http://www.etsi.org.
The DRM+ initiative began with a vote at the 2005 General Assembly of the DRM Consortium deciding to extend the standard to higher frequencies. The additional mode for DRM+ was agreed and finalised after testing and verifying the design with both laboratory and field based tests. Then the ETSI standardised DRM system specification was updated.
This extension completely shares the successful design philosophy of the DRM standard. Therefore, DRM+ has the same multiplex and signaling scheme, the same OFDM design and the same audio codecs as DRM30 (i.e. DRM on broadcast frequencies up to 30MHz). DRM+ is implemented in the standard as robustness mode E. Its spectrum usage parameters are determined from the internationally agreed norms in the FM band (88 to 174MHz). Therefore it has an occupied bandwidth of 95 kHz and a frequency grid of 100 kHz.
ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) is recognised as an official European Standards Organisation by the European Union. ETSI standards are available as free-of-charge downloads worldwide.
Hailing this development as a landmark in the history of DRM Digital Radio, Ruxandra Obreja, Chairperson DRM and Controller Business Development BBC World Service, said: "This makes the DRM system complete and it offers broadcasters a total digital solution in all bands – LW, SW, MW, band I and band II (the FM band). DRM+ will make radio sound its best ever with features such as CD-quality audio and surround sound effects. DRM is already the best digital solution for long-distance broadcasting on broadcast frequencies below 30 MHz. And now local and regional broadcasting will get the same digital radio benefits with adoption of the extended DRM standard for broadcast frequencies above 30 MHz."
All features of the updated DRM system specification will be on display at IBC2009 in Amsterdam from 11th-14th September.
> Click here to read the press release in pdf format.
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