Whilst some people argue that DAB is dead and DRM holds the future to digital broadcasting in the UK, manufacturers are getting on with producing receivers which can offer both formats together. It is hoped DRM will eventually compliment DAB rather than replace it.
And the two international bodies responsible for promoting digital radio standards worldwide today commented on the launch of this new multi-standard digital radio, the Morphy Richards model 27024.
Quentin Howard, President of WorldDMB, stated: "This is a significant step in progress towards the digitisation of radio in all markets. With this new dual standard DRMTM and DAB digital radio receiver available at under 200 euros, it is at last an affordable way for listeners to enjoy hearing new and favourite radio stations in digital quality without having to think about the technical standards which are being used by radio broadcasters".
Peter Senger, Chairman of DRM further added: "DRM is a great way to enjoy not only international radio stations, but also some local and national radio. In many countries, particularly those with large rural areas, the combination of DRM and DAB gives broadcasters a tailor-made way to upgrade to digital radio and give their listeners access to a greater range of stations than ever before."
The DRM Consortium was formed in 1998 to develop technology to allow digital broadcasting in the frequency bands formally referred to as the “AM bands” (Long, medium and short-wave). DRM broadcasts can be tailored to fit into the same frequency allocations as current AM stations, whilst providing competitive sound quality combined with the other benefits of Digital Radio (Electronic Programme Guide, scrolling text, alternative frequency lists etc.). There are now more than a dozen broadcasters targeting Germany and Northern Europe.
WorldDMB, which recently changed its name from WorldDAB, manages a family of digital broadcasting standards, which includes DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) and DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting).
Already firmly established in the UK, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Belgium, DAB digital radio 'bundles' together around ten radio stations and broadcasts them together in a single 'multiplex' or block of spectrum which can be around fifteen times more efficient than the FM spectrum needed for national stations. In London, for example, over 50 DAB digital radio stations can be heard. DMB is a compatible version of DAB, used for mobile TV and multimedia broadcasting. Korea, Germany and the UK have already launched mobile TV services based on DAB standards.
The two organisations, WorldDMB and DRM, see their respective digital radio technologies as complementary to each other and not competing. Peter Senger commented: "In countries like Australia, but also some European countries, a combination of DRM and DAB is the perfect solution for public and private broadcasters, and for urban, rural and international broadcasting." Quentin Howard added:
"There are a number of technical similarities between DAB and DRM which makes dual standard receivers more easily made. A DAB only digital radio can be bought for less than 50 Euros, and if this dualstandard approach proves popular then it shouldn't be long before receivers with both DAB and DRM inside will be selling at attractive, low prices."