Sunday, October 04, 2015

Brazil - Migration from AM to FM, who cares?

On November 7, 2013, it was signed by President Dilma Decree 8139, which deals with the termination of the broadcast service in MW of local character. This decree allows broadcasters AM (medium wave) can migrate to the FM (VHF) against payment of a grant adaptation value, seen as exorbitant specifically for local AM stations. If the same, they choose not to migrate to FM shall order the reinstatement of grants for regional character, with higher power, otherwise the grant will not be renewed. Stations of higher power (regional or national) can also apply for migration to FM.

The AM band is from 540 kHz to 1610 kHz, the range of medium waves, and has very interesting propagation characteristics, allowing a broadcaster can broadcast its signal through areas with topography because the emission tends to follow the profile the land. At night a mark on OM is reflected by the ionosphere, allowing a station can have a range of hundreds of kilometers radius.

The FM band is between 88 MHz and 108 MHz, in VHF bands. Its main feature is the directionality, which can be good or it may even harm, for this frequency range is spread in a similar way to light, always straight, being blocked or reflected by natural and artificial obstacles such as hills, buildings, large buildings, etc. Their behavior does not vary significantly by day or night.

With the use of digital radio standard, Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) it is possible to scan all radio bands, making this migration completely unnecessary.

In the context of Decree 8139, one OM station you choose not to migrate to the FM, could pass to broadcast in digital using the DRM standard, broadcasting simulcast (simultaneous) mode AM / DRM, which maintains the unchanged analog AM, preserving the park antennas and most equipment. The DRM signal in simulcast mode is positioned on a single channel adjacent to the AM signal.

Many broadcasters using AM transmitters Nautel or BT as, for example, are ready for DRM. India broadcasters in Medium Waves are already broadcasting in simulcast AM / DRM and compatible with DRM receivers are already being made nationally. Currently there are more than eight hundred million people in India covered with signal stations broadcasting on the AM band (medium waves) in DRM.

A radio station in Medium Wave (AM) broadcasting in DRM has its audio with higher quality than an analog FM station. In addition, digital radio allows multiprogramming, 5.1 audio, features such as sending text and images, multimedia content, Emergency Alert (EWF) and other services such as interactive applications for the Ginga, which is this interactive platform on TV Digital, and has also defined to be used with DRM.

While some countries are already turning off the analog FM, Brazil is going in the opposite direction of technological change, proposing the migration from an analog system in Medium Wave (AM), for an equally analog VHF (FM) and another aggravating factor: the FM spectrum in VHF in large cities are crowded. Why not develop the AM system from analog to digital, at a much lower cost while preserving a large part of today's existing equipment and transmitting an audio of excellent quality, and with a much lower power consumption?

Why not repeat the success of the Brazilian Digital TV System, which is already being adopted by many countries?

Another very important point that we can not omit is that many stations on Medium Wave (AM), have a local character, serving many communities composed of minority groups. Their migration to VHF (FM) or a possible increase in power, to become regional, it will be economically and technically unfeasible for complex topography sites. Therefore, applied the current decree in its current form, many communities will be "in the dark". It is therefore proposed that the local radio stations in Waves Average wishing to maintain their coverage, they should do so in simulcast model AM / DRM.

However, it would have been much more interesting from a technological point of view, to the broadcasters who really wish to migrate to the FM band (VHF), which migrate already in DRM. Then yes we would have a technological evolution in the Brazilian radio system.

There is an urgent decision which will be the Digital Radio Brazilian System reference model for the dying transmitters and receivers national industry can put digital equipment on the market and re-sell.

The best option for the Brazilian system of digital radio is the DRM, it technically is the only system that meets all frequency bands, (OM, OT, OC, and VHF) and in terms of business model, is the one with open source without license needs to develop transmitters and receivers for the domestic industry. It can also its implementation by community radio stations, for the DRM works on low, medium and high power. The energy saving is important, and you can cover the same area with less than half of energy consumption.

The DRM was developed by a consortium of public broadcasting organizations, private companies related to the transmission and reception sector, universities, research centers, among other agencies and institutions. The DRM is a completely open standard, and all standards are available online, as well as the ISDB-Tb (used in Brazilian Digital TV).

In addition, the DRM audio encoder is the same as Digital TV, MPEG4 AAC. The Ginga middleware platform for interactivity that was the Brazilian contribution to the Brazilian Digital TV System, already has support made by PUC-Rio to be used in DRM. The other system being considered for adoption by the country's HD Radio (HD stands for Digital Hybrid), developed and owned by US company Ibiquity. Because it is a proprietary, closed system, all of its operating codes are trade secrets known only by their owners. Among its well-known features are the following:

* It occupies twice the DRM bandwidth, without providing a higher transmission rate. The HD Radio, and a hybrid pattern designed to remain with the analog signal does not allow a future blackout analog to enable the optimization of the spectrum.

* While working in OM and VHF stations to use HD Radio in OM in the United States are turning off the digital signal, having a very bad performance. Currently, there are more stations abandoning HD Radio than those who are adopting the default.

* Much of the HD Radio is industrial secrets, including audio encoder, known as HDC as well as the protocols for transmission of multimedia content and other digital services.

* The HD Radio, unlike any other standard ITU (International Telecommunication Union), for broadcasting, collects system usage license. By the time the network goes live a rate of thousands of dollars is paid annually and broadcasters should pay for Ibiquity use rate.

* The HD Radio configuration has few modes, being a plaster system in which only one company controls their development. This company is the North American Ibiquity Digital. The digital radio guidelines in Brazil are given by Ordinance No. 290/2010 of the Ministry of Communications, which clearly indicates that the only standard capable of adoption in Brazil is the Digital Radio Mondiale, HD Radio as the counter to several paragraphs of the ordinance.

The Article 3 of Decree 290/2010 of March 30, 2010, which guides the radio scan in Brazil, says :
I- promote social inclusion, cultural diversity of the country and the native language through access to digital technology, aimed at the democratization of information;

* DRM: Works on shortwave, essential for regions far from major centers as a means of national integration. Easy installation and without the need for complex infrastructure. Just a piece of wire and it is possible to listen to a radio station. Also the community radio would benefit from the adoption of DRM, because this system has a great performance at low power, which does not occur with HD radio. It can transmit up to four programs muna same frequency, very interesting option for radio frequency spectrum optimization. MEETS.

* HD Radio: It promotes national integration because it does not work on shortwave, being restricted to large centers. Does not work with low power. DOES NOT ATTEND. IV foster technology transfer for the Brazilian industry of transmitters and receivers, guaranteed, where applicable, the royalty exemption;

* DRM: Being an open system with all standards and publicly available standards (Internet) can be used by anyone, without the need to pay license fees. MEETS.

* HD Radio: system owner with closed technology. There will be no access to technology and if any, will be restricted and limited. It is a "Black Box". No need to pay licenses for transmitters and receivers, burdening the manufacture thereof to the station that adopt it, there is a need to pay fees for their use, these rates that increase with the resources deployed. DOES NOT ATTEND. V- enable the participation of Brazilian teaching and research institutions in the adjustment and improvement of the system according to the needs of the country;

* DRM: Open system, standardized by international standards, enables its improvement by researchers and developers. One example is the Brazilian contribution, with the inclusion of interactivity through GINGA. MEETS. * HD Radio: There are no opening its technology and therefore not accessible to researchers. Nothing can be added to the system. DOES NOT ATTEND. VI encourage regional and local industry in producing instruments and digital services;

* DRM: user fees exemption. Lower cost for the entire chain, from transmitters to receivers and transmitters, cheapening the entire production chain. MEETS. * HD Radio: Higher cost for payment of the use of licenses and maintenance of the stations. The more features implemented plus taxes must be paid. DOES NOT ATTEND. VIII provide efficient use of radio frequency spectrum;

* DRM: Digital Single Channel, occupying the same space an analog signal and can transmit up to four different programs. MEETS.

* HD Radio: Uses two digital side carriers, as well as central analog, thus occupying the space of 3 channels. Difficulty balancing interference between digital and analog signals. Does not work without the analog signal, that is, can never be Full Digital. Always depend on the analog carrier. The "delay" between analogue and digital is great, bothering the listener. DOES NOT ATTEND. XI provide several configuration modes considering the signal propagation characteristics in each region; * DRM: By allowing several modes of transmission, can run on Medium Wave, Tropical waves, shortwave and VHF and can be configured so as to adjust the transmission according to the needs of the area to be served. MEETS.

* HD Radio: It is a "cast" system not allowing changes in its modes of transmission. Insufficient performance in Medium Wave and non-existent in OT, and OC. DOES NOT ATTEND.

The Radio in Brazil suffers from the continued decline of investments, audience, industrial production and consistent public policies. The Decree 8139, which deals with migration AM to FM directs the sector for the past and for bankruptcy.

The entire broadcasting industry urgently needs the Digital Radio of the Brazilian System Reference Model (SBRD) is defined as soon as possible by the government, mainly in order to give solid options and technically viable for broadcasters in Medium Wave, Tropical Waves, Shortwave and VHF (FM), in this difficult time of economy. These actions will enable the Brazilian industry to develop and bring to market 100% domestic products and for society to enjoy greater comfort and convenience of this important means of communication is the radio, keeping in tune with the digital convergence of means, without abandoning the autonomy that provides broadcasting through the air, as it does not use internet or wired means to spread. It is therefore a means of low-cost, direct contact between the content generator and the listener, without intermediaries and without complex infrastructure. Here's the radio, be it powered by batteries, automotive, or table.

Faced with the immense potential that the radio scanning offers to broadcasters, society and governments to implement a new generation of content and services, we expect the Brazilian government, as well as Digital TV, invest in research and policies leading Brazilian radio for future and not the past and stagnation.

Sign this text:
Ariovaldo Jose Dias Lobrito (Technician broadcasting)
Ataliba Zandomenego Son (Amateur Radio and Graduating Eng. Electric-Telematics)
Claudio del Bianco (Amateur, Technologist and Systems Analyst)
Daniel de Andrade Antoniazzi (Electrical Engineer, Valeo Automotive Systems)
Doriedson Alves de Almeida (Prof. Dr, CFI - UFOPA)
Fabianne Baptist Balvedi (Prof. Msc., Architect and Audiovisual Scientist, PUCPR / UDESC)
Francisco Antunes Caminati (Prof. Dr., Sociologist, UNESP)
Hudson Flavio Menezes Lacerda (Dr., School of Music at the University of Minas Gerais - ESMU / UEMG)
Julibio David Ardigo (Prof. Dr., Eng. Electrician, State University of Santa Catarina)
João Eduardo Ferreira da Silva Filho (Economist, Director MTA / Digicast Electronics)
Lucio Haeser (Journalist)
Marcelo Akira Inuzuka (Prof. Msc., The UFG Institute of Informatics Assistant)
Marcelo Goedert (MSc., Journalist, Director Audio Fidelity Productions)
Marcelo Parada (Prof. Msc., Eng. Electrician, FEI)
Marcelo Saldanha - Institute wellness Brazil
Nils Brock (Dr. Professor, Journalist and political scientist, Freie Universität Berlin)
Paulo Henrique Lima (Prof. Journalism Course IESPES / Health & Joy Project)
Paulo José OM Lara (MSc, Sociologist and political scientist, Unicamp / Goldsmiths College -. London)
DRM-Brazil Platform Rafael Diniz (MSc., Lab. Telemedia / PUC-Rio)
Thiago Novaes (MSc., Political Scientist, Unicamp)

To sign the text, put the data on:

Digital Radio Mondiale Brazilian Platform
Audio samples of some DRM radio :
Youtube channel :
PP5AZF-Ataliba on drmrx forum
(Google translated from Portugese Text)

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