August 9, 2004

ex EM!

If digital radio ends up in satellite form here in NZ one day, then expect a little of this (taken from a google group the other day):

"I have an original-model Sony XM working in an office on the 6th floor of an
8-story concrete/steel building. For this reason it has to work with what
signal gets through the windows. The windows are covered with a light-gray
plastic film. XM performance was marginal. What signal there was came from a repeater. I've finally taped the antenna to the __outside__ of one of the west-facing windows and operation is flawless. I'm on the US east coast.

The gray plastic window film is a drastic microwave attenuator. I've never
managed to get a GPS to work in the office, even when held against the
inside of a western window. In fact the GPS never saw more than one
satellite. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't run the experiment

After reading the DPDAB paper late last year on New Zealands stance on DAB and it's potential future here, conferring with Dubber, I wrote my thoughts down and emailed MED. I had a reply, although it's long lost now coz Outlook sealed it's fate when it corrupted my .pst file. (Source of everything), so now Mozilla Thunderbird does the deed. Anyhoo, heres the email:

My thoughts regarding Digital Audio Broadcasting.

I would like to put my hand up and vote for Eureka 147 as our digital platform - through Digital Terrestrial Transmission (and for many reasons). There are a few condsierations and variables to be aware of, but I am willing to support the move into DAB though Eureka 147.

1. The current state of the private sector (TRN/CanWest) are a mix of Network and Local products. Because this is working for their advertisers and listeners (locally and nationwide), and the fact it sustains jobs and creates a profit, it would be beneficial to continue using this model of radio application. A Digital Terrestrial service effectively keeps the current structure intact for commercial and the non-commercial sectors (National/Concert), and provides an opportunity to evolve the interactive elements of radio on a level used internationally.

2. The issue of transmission power/output from Digital Terrestrial Transmission sites (DTT) needs review. Spectrum Management will need to (if not already) re-license these frequencies with equal or better coverage based on current regional FM licenses. Why? It is the existing structure and is working well. Currently the option for DTT is to put up more transmitters, because of their low power output (similar to the way cellphones roam), but the cost associated with doing this halts a lot of further interest in this medium. No-one will justify these costs, when the existing AM/FM system is sufficient.

3. Eureka 147 is already the biggest, and most widely used type of digital medium for radio broadcasting in the world - wether its used in conjunction with internet streams or not. It has been trialled and tested in many countries, with gradual increasing positive results over the last couple of years. Considering the gradual growth, acceptance and uprising preference of Eureka 147 over IBOC and others (plus the advantage of many European receivers also using the 1.4Ghz band), the cost of setting up your stations using this technology - with the vital assistance of government and industry supported promotion and marketing on this agreed 'standard' - will make the transition easy for the listener and financially acceptable for operators.

4. The use for RadioNZ to possibly use the Swiss DRM service, needs clarification on "promising recent developments". Since the government moved National Radio off AM, onto FM, this gives me the impression that 'DRM-amplified' broadcasts may just evolve to a new level of spectrum 'ghetto' if used. RadioNZ has to represent and meet public needs, and if that sways in the direction of Eureka 147, it would be pointless to move shortwave (SW) or mediumwave (AM) into an unreachable domain. It may be best to keep it where it is - where enthusiasts can find it, or move house alongside FM operators into a common DAB platform.

5. Public opinion will always vary and always end up inconclusive, so the industry needs to just go ahead with improving itself for 'itself' and the public, rather than convincing every person in the general population of the benefits. The listener/user ends up incorporating new technology at some point. Look how people take to cellphones and DVDs.

6. This new medium will further shake up the existing brands out there, and help support the introduction of innovative new formats (ie Youth Network etc.) building NZ's highly complemented radio market.

Eureka 147 to me looks very promising in our small country. With united support by the industry, it will become the future of NZ Radio.

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