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The FM Sunset Begins

The technical side of broadcasting. Think IBOC is a sham? Talk about it here! How about HDTV? Post DX reports here as well.
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RingtailedFox
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Location: A raccoon's nest high up in a tree in west Windsor, Ontario
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The FM Sunset Begins

Post by RingtailedFox » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:37 pm

Norway has begun shutting off its analog FM transmitters, transitioning everyone over to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), which uses MPEG-1 Layer 2 (MP2) Audio. It will be a phased transition, varying by region and station/network, but it should be completed by 2022.

Switzerland has also begun shutting down its analog FM transmitters in a similar canton (county)-based transition, with a completion date estimate of 2024. The UK, Denmark, and Sweden are also watching how it goes very closely, and are considering doing the same.

There is an updated, incompatible version of this, called Digital Audio Broadcasting Plus (DAB+), which uses the High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Codec (HE-AAC, which is used in MPEG-4) as the audio format, for better quality with less bandwidth needed than MP2 Audio (though some receivers only ship with MP2 compatibility). Much like digital television, each DAB transmitter broadcasts an audio multiplex (complete with Radio Data Services, such as text about the artist and song and station title), with variable data bitrates and error correction. The good thing is that DAB/DAB+ can also be strung along freeway corridors as a single-frequency network to cover a massive area with seamless transitioning between transmitters.

A single multiplex (called an Ensemble) is about 1500 KHz wide, offering around 1000 kbps. This can fit anywhere from 9 to 12 seperate radio feeds, depending on the audio quality.

so, let's say I was granted a special experimental broadcast license for a Digital Radio Ensemble here in Windsor, broadcasting from Victoria Park Place in downtown. This is what it might look like:

kbits Station
64 CBEW-FM (CBC Radio One)
64 CJAM-FM (University of Windsor)
64 CKLW (AM 800)
64 CBEF (Premier Chaine)
128 CKUE-FM-1 (Cool FM)
128 CHYR-FM (Mix 96.7)
128 CIDR-FM (93.9 The River)
128 CIMX-FM (89-X)
128 CJBC-FM (Espace Musique)
128 CJWF-FM (Country 95.9/92.7)
I would drop the audio quality for spoken-word broadcasts and have higher bitrates for music broadcasts since they tend to need higher quality broadcasts for all the different sounds being relayed.

Could this be a potential solution for the horrible overcrowding of the FM band here in the United States, Canada and Mexico?
~ The Legendary Raccoon-Fox has spoken!

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Ed Joseph
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Re: The FM Sunset Begins

Post by Ed Joseph » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:05 pm

I think it could. DAB/+ is a much better system than the corporatrocity of IBOC we have here. It's *still* digital, though, and subject to dropped packets and buffering when high noise is present. That is one thing I hate about DTV. You turn on the vacuum cleaner and anything on OTA TV goes whack. A bunch of birds fly by and the signal drops, bye bye picture! At least with analog, you could watch through the noise.

As for AM... I doubt even DAB+ would work in America due to the extreme electrical noise on the band. It's simply not a good idea to put digital on AM. Especially IBOC, which adds to the noise problem itself.

IMO the FCC needs a blanket party!
I confirm all my information through a high, white whore's souse!

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Plate Cap
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Re: The FM Sunset Begins

Post by Plate Cap » Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:57 pm

I don't see it coming to pass here in the US.

Regardless of the technology of delivery, terrestrial based broadcasting is not embraced by mainstream young people, and they are the only ones who matter. Too many commercial interruptions, inability to play specific tracks or artists on demand, issues with coverage (you would need 4 or 5 stations to cover a trip from Detroit to Mackinaw) and likely different programming in each area, etc.

Present company excluded, naturally, young people just are not 'into' broadcast radio, and increasing numbers of them are not all that enamored with automobile driving, where the only real surviving bastion of broadcast radio reception remains. They listen to broadcast radio in cars only when it's a short enough trip to not deploy all the trappings of streaming, and now it appears the car itself is not all that popular.

Value of broadcast properties continue to drop.....major group owners are struggling and diversifying to stay alive.....Mom and Pops are hanging on because they tend to be a little more relevant and community based, but they are still watching every penny. Many can't afford the royalty costs to stream, many don't even want to spend the money for an RDS encoder. Dump an analog plant and go to another technology? I don't think so, Tim.

Millions....possibly billions of radio receivers becoming obsolete, especially in (again) the only place terrestrial radio still manages to live (cars)? No.

It may sound better (most people don't care about that in a mobile environment....witness the popularity of XM/Sirius), and you may be able to stuff several programming channels in the space of one analog....but it won't deliver Drake or Justin Timberlake when the mainstream listener want them, won't pause for the phone ringing, or hold the spot in the song while they stop for lunch.
The box that many broadcasters won’t look outside of was made in 1969 and hasn’t changed significantly since.

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Some Guy from Toledo
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Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:12 pm

Re: The FM Sunset Begins

Post by Some Guy from Toledo » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:46 pm

Plate Cap wrote:I don't see it coming to pass here in the US.

Regardless of the technology of delivery, terrestrial based broadcasting is not embraced by mainstream young people, and they are the only ones who matter. Too many commercial interruptions, inability to play specific tracks or artists on demand, issues with coverage (you would need 4 or 5 stations to cover a trip from Detroit to Mackinaw) and likely different programming in each area, etc.

Present company excluded, naturally, young people just are not 'into' broadcast radio, and increasing numbers of them are not all that enamored with automobile driving, where the only real surviving bastion of broadcast radio reception remains. They listen to broadcast radio in cars only when it's a short enough trip to not deploy all the trappings of streaming, and now it appears the car itself is not all that popular.

Value of broadcast properties continue to drop.....major group owners are struggling and diversifying to stay alive.....Mom and Pops are hanging on because they tend to be a little more relevant and community based, but they are still watching every penny. Many can't afford the royalty costs to stream, many don't even want to spend the money for an RDS encoder. Dump an analog plant and go to another technology? I don't think so, Tim.

Millions....possibly billions of radio receivers becoming obsolete, especially in (again) the only place terrestrial radio still manages to live (cars)? No.

It may sound better (most people don't care about that in a mobile environment....witness the popularity of XM/Sirius), and you may be able to stuff several programming channels in the space of one analog....but it won't deliver Drake or Justin Timberlake when the mainstream listener want them, won't pause for the phone ringing, or hold the spot in the song while they stop for lunch.
if they even leave the house.

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RingtailedFox
Posts: 408
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:11 pm
Location: A raccoon's nest high up in a tree in west Windsor, Ontario
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Re: The FM Sunset Begins

Post by RingtailedFox » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:42 am

You make very valid points and I agree with every single one of them...

There is one potential solution for the noise-on-the-AM-band problem, though... it's a cousin of DAB/DAB+, named Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM)... designed for AM and shortwave broadcasts, it can also be extended above 30 MHz to be used in the FM band (this extended version is called DRM30) and can even include a single 700 KBps LDTV feed instead of a digital radio ensemble. This is similar to their other cousin, Digital Media Broadasting (DMB) used in South Korea (though no, DAB/DAB+ can't do mobile LDTV like DRM or DMB)... DRM is designed to be highly-robust in narrow channels and on lower frequencies at roughly FM-audio quality (say, 32 kbps on AM or shortwave, and perhaps up to 320 for a single digital FM broadcast)...
~ The Legendary Raccoon-Fox has spoken!

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Some Guy from Toledo
Posts: 528
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:12 pm

Re: The FM Sunset Begins

Post by Some Guy from Toledo » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:29 am

RingtailedFox wrote:You make very valid points and I agree with every single one of them...

There is one potential solution for the noise-on-the-AM-band problem, though... it's a cousin of DAB/DAB+, named Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM)... designed for AM and shortwave broadcasts, it can also be extended above 30 MHz to be used in the FM band (this extended version is called DRM30) and can even include a single 700 KBps LDTV feed instead of a digital radio ensemble. This is similar to their other cousin, Digital Media Broadasting (DMB) used in South Korea (though no, DAB/DAB+ can't do mobile LDTV like DRM or DMB)... DRM is designed to be highly-robust in narrow channels and on lower frequencies at roughly FM-audio quality (say, 32 kbps on AM or shortwave, and perhaps up to 320 for a single digital FM broadcast)...
I wish more companies looked into that.

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