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EBU Announces New Technical Recommendation

R 138 is first EBU agreement on digital radio distribution

At the Digital Radio Summit in Geneva, the European Broadcasting Union released a new technical recommendation to encourage more digital radio programming across Europe.

Presented by Javier Sánchez Perez, chair of the EBU’s Strategic Program on Digital Radio Platforms, Recommendation R138, which comprises the first agreement of EBU members on digital radio distribution, was approved by the EBU Technical Committee last week.

R 138 is aligned with the EBU’s Euro-Chip campaign, which advocates that all new devices be capable of receiving and switching between both analog and digital radio signals.

The recommendation says there must be adequate planning to ensure digital solutions for all radio services. Considerations include future expansion, available spectrum, and cost effectiveness of the different standards.

It also favors DAB+ over DAB because of its more advanced coding. If DAB coverage is not possible, the EBU technical committee approved the Digital Radio Mondiale system as an alternative.

Enhancements, it says, including accompanying text, images and program guides should be a part of digitization, and hybrid services, like the RadioDNS system, that utilize additional web-delivered content, should also be rolled out.

R 138 also notes that an agreed-upon analog switch-off date would likely speed the rollout of digital radio across European.

“Terrestrial broadcast delivery is the only free-to-air and cost-effective method for truly mobile reception, particularly in cars,” said Perez.

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