Xperi has been actively testing HD Radio in Delhi, India, in cooperation with All India Radio. HD Radio, which has been implemented in more than 4,700 digital channels around the world, reaching over 400 million listeners, utilizes existing broadcast infrastructure to add a digital transmission that delivers a more compelling and engaging over-the-air experience for listeners.
HD Radio testing in India begun in January 2020 was completed in Delhi in February 2021 following a 10-month interruption due to COVID-19 restrictions. Additional testing in Jaipur, India, was conducted in March 2021.
The testing is part of HD Radio’s initiative to fulfill India’s roadmap for digital radio through the Digital India initiative. HD Radio services can be key to establishing a much-needed, digital, world-class broadcast network to serve all the citizens of India.
While most other technologies are transitioning, or have already fully transitioned, to digital services, digital radio in India has lagged behind. In India, radio has a long history of providing critical public services and important information, in multiple languages to the population. Unfortunately, not everyone has ready access to internet and data services, especially in rural regions.
But, because HD Radio can easily and inexpensively be integrated into mobile handsets for ease of use, it can digitally provide real-time emergency and disaster notifications through cellphones across India’s multilingual population, as well as enabling access to national, regional, and local information and entertainment programs.
Xperi partnered with leading industry experts to demonstrate the HD Radio digital FM system in India.
An HD Radio transmission system was configured on 100.5 MHz from the Akashvani Bhawan transmission tower in New Delhi. The digital FM broadcast operated in a simulcast mode (hybrid analog–digital operation) between Jan. 13, 2020, and February 2021 (with interruptions due to COVID-19 lockdowns). All India Radio conducted additional combiner tests in Jaipur in March 2021.
The tests successfully addressed the key performance metrics established by All India Radio. The HD Radio system tests in Delhi and Jaipur were consistent with operations of the HD Radio system in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. All service modes met predicted performance metrics for signal quality, coverage, and adjacent channel interference protection.
Commercial receiver products were used in the field test to demonstrate the capability of consumer-grade receivers for the general public and to evaluate the following performance metrics for All India Radio:
- Digital broadcast signal quality
- Digital broadcast coverage
- Host analog interference
- Adjacent channel analog interference
- Building penetration and indoor reception
- Audio content quality
- General receiver performance
Outdoor and indoor reception for all consumer-level radio products were successfully achieved in the test. Each of the products tested featured the key components of the HD Radio system. Of note, the BeatBoy feature phone demonstrated the potential digital radio offers when integrated into a mobile handheld device.
The positive results of the testing in Delhi clearly strengthen the case for HD Radio operations on FM stations in India. That being said, the success of a new digital broadcast service depends on four main points:
- Providing regulatory agencies with solutions to address spectrum and frequency allocation needs
- Providing consumers with a variety of cost-effective products
- Providing radio broadcasters with new business opportunities to realize a return on investment
- Providing future technology integration to remain relevant as new services emerge
The HD Radio testing successfully demonstrated each of these points.
Today, the HD Radio FM broadcast solution is well positioned to support digital FM transitions in India. Xperi’s HD Radio team continues regular dialogue with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the government broadcaster Prasar Bharati (the parent company of All India Radio), and private broadcast groups, while showcasing the success of HD Radio in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Broadcasters in these markets have experienced increased revenue through HD Radio features such as multicast audio programs, Artist Experience and advertising, and data services to devices and cars. Public safety and digital alert warnings have also benefited HD Radio listeners.
These applications can be quickly implemented in India and will increase access to information and diverse content across all socio-economic groups.
In short, the future for digital radio in India is bright.
The test report is published at www.hdradio.in.
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