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Brazil to Retest HD Radio, DRM in 2013

Did not conduct apples-to-apples testing in round one

Brazil will conduct more tests of the HD Radio and Digital Radio Mondiale systems in 2013.

That’s according to members of the Digital Radio Advisory Board, which met at the Ministry of Communications recently in Brasília, Brazil.

Representatives of both Digital Radio Mondiale and HD Radio attended the meeting.

Because the tests done in July 2012 did not meet all of the coverage requirements, Ministry of Communications Director of Monitoring and Evaluation of Grants Octavio Pieranti said on the Ministry of Communications website that the government wants to conduct a new round of tests in 2013. “Our main concern is with the shadow areas and the coverage, so we are thinking of having new tests. Our guiding principle is that the digital radio cannot exclude, it has to include,” explained Pieranti.

Pieranti stated the board has proposed to include items such as multicasting and interactivity in the new trials. “So far, according to the results of the tests carried out, the digital systems do not produce a quality far superior to that of the analog systems,” stated the general director of the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters, Luis Roberto Antonik. “Both DRM and HD Radio have the same coverage area of approximately 70% of the analog signal.”

According to the Secretary of the Electronic Communications Services of the Ministry of Communications, Genildo Lins, the tests with both systems yielded poor results, in particularly the test with high-power FM. “The future of radio is digital but the future has yet to come. We can’t possibly make a decision based on these results,” he stated.

An iBiquity spokesman expressed surprise at the “poor results” comment, stating the test reports don’t bear that out.

Apparently part of the problem was Brazil did not set equal parameters to test both systems; the new tests will. “There was power variation, and the reception was not the same. The comparison of both systems is complex,” according to Lins.

The power levels for FM HD Radio were tested at -20 dBc. DRM+ was tested at a variety of power levels.

The complete test reports (in Portuguese) for the HD Radio and DRM tests are posted on the Ministry of Communications website.