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Ireland’s DAB Trial Advances

Public reaction is positive, progress is being made

dB Digital Broadcasting has released its third quarter report for the digital broadcasting DAB radio trial in Ireland, reflecting data from three months of the on-air trial.

The report indicates that the test run is progressing, and broadcasters have observed that some receivers have problems with high error correction and high-bit rates are not processed particularly well. Nonetheless, low-bit rates appear to be handled better than expected by DAB+ broadcasts, and MOT-capable receivers are also getting positive reactions with Slideshow’s color screens.

dB observes that the test run proves that much will have to be done to pave the way for Ireland’s eventual transition to DAB+, as the country is currently far from the WorldDMB/EBU Profile 1 standard, as established in 2009 to evaluate the European market for broadcasters, manufacturers as well as consumers; currently, not all standard digital radios receive either DAB or DAB+, as would be required by the standard.

The trial is using the Harris DAB TX for transmission in the Dublin area, with the different configuration allowing a more direct comparison against the RTÉ mux. There have been differences in both distance and building penetration between the transmitters, and high power transmission appears to increase service but not to the extent anticipated prior to the trial, and this information will be used going forward with the single frequency network phase of the trial.

The company also noted that the public seems to react positively to the trial, except there appears to be confusion as to how it was determined which stations would participate (i.e. people want more stations and content providers to participate). dB recognizes that the licensing issues have been inhibitors to participation in the trial, although two new stations will join the test in November, after acquiring the needed content license from the BAI.

The company hopes to increase power in the Dublin broadcasts before Christmas and expand the trial to Cork and Limerick in the next year.