More Economical Exporter Said to Lower HD-R Conversion Costs

At a press conference at the NAB Show, the manufacturers said the nearly two-year effort has resulted in a savings of some US$10,000 off a digital system for a typical conversion package.
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The U.S. National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has sunk more than US$1 million into a two-year effort to lower digital conversions costs for mid- and small-market stations.

The result is an "embedded exporter" — one that is DSP-based, rather than PC-based, resulting in a more reliable, smaller and less expensive unit, according to the four manufacturers showing the unit at the 2008 NAB Show.

BE, Continental, Nautel and Harris have each developed the next-generation HD Radio exporter and are taking orders. The representatives said the exporters, to be available later this year, would work with any manufacturer's transmitter.

The "embedded" portion of the name refers to embedded iBiquity intellectual property in each unit. Each exporter can be upgraded via USB rather than a CD drive.

At a press conference at the NAB Show, the manufacturers said the nearly two-year effort has resulted in a savings of some US$10,000 off a digital system for a typical conversion package.

The idea started in 2006; the new NAB HD Radio Technology Advancement Task Force was charged with overseeing the project. Steve Newberry, vice chair of the NAB Radio Board and president/CEO Commonwealth Broadcasting, told Radio World's "The Leslie Report" that the group decided to work with manufacturers and iBiquity Digital to develop a more cost-effective exporter, the second-most expensive piece of equipment in the IBOC air chain after the exciter.

Beasley Broadcast Group Executive Vice President and CFO Caroline Beasley chairs the task force; she said this announcement is NAB "putting its money where its mouth is when encouraging stations to broadcast in digital." Steve Newberry, vice chair of the NAB Radio Board and president/CEO of Commonwealth Broadcasting, played an important role in the project, participants said.

"First-generation exporters have been cost-prohibitive up until now," he said. "This new technology makes it possible to build a less expensive exporter." Estimated savings in a typical conversion package is about US$10,000.

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