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Topic: Opus and DRM Digital Radio (Read 4851 times) previous topic - next topic
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Opus and DRM Digital Radio

Sometimes I'm looking up digital radio transmission news to know where it's headed and noticed that the Spark software DRM/DRM+ transmitter is capable of encoding Opus based streams for a while (besides Codec2 which is also an amazing codec for speech). I wonder what's the current status of this combination, will it be ever included as an official codec in DRM? That would probably push down prices of receivers since Opus doesn't require a license fee.

Also I wonder why DRM/DRM+ haven't been used already commercially? I might be wrong but for me DRM/DRM+ seems like a more modern and open broadcasting technology than DAB/DAB+, also it's not limited to FM bands but can be transmitted on existing FM frequencies using existing transmitters. Possibly nobody wants to transmit with this technology until receivers are not widely available. That's the second thing i don't understand. Today's mobile SoC's could easily contain a demodulator for DAB/DRM for cents, codecs would be not an issue since they already available on ARM platforms as software. Also a Raspberry Pi like open DAB radio receiver platform with Linux based firmware could easily handle every new codec added to the platform, it could even receive updates over the DRM stream. That might even worth a Kickstarter campaign.

Am i narrow minded and not seeing the evil in the details?

Re: Opus and DRM Digital Radio

Reply #1
Just because something is possible, doesn't mean it'll see widespread acceptance.

Every single change costs money. Even though putting these SoCs into a device for backwards compatibility, is only an extra cent or so, it's still one cent to many spent for the manufacturer.

DRM/DRM+ is like DAB/DAB+ and DVB-T/DVB-T2 very dependent on consumer acceptance. While DAB radios are somewhat popular, DRM isn't really, mostly because people don't seem to be aware of it. I've heard of a number of stations going off-air, simply because funding was cut because there were almost no listeners to speak of. I think a couple have been run by the German public radio service. They've been on-air for a couple years and have recently been shut down.

While the change to newer systems goes relatively smoothly in the TV world, radio users seem to be incredibly reluctant to invest in new radios. I guess simply because the regular analog radio system is working just so well, and has been compatible for decades. I still have "just" a regular FM/AM radio in my car. So, I don't mind sticking to good ol' analog radio for a while.