In Mexico advances HD radio

Although the process of adoption of digital radio has been slow, expectations for the future are positive, because remember that was the process like when FM radio was implemented.

Richard St.

Since the late Cofetel adopted in 2008 HD Radio as standard, Mexico began a process of transformation in the sector which today can enjoy in major cities and gradually has been massing across the nation.

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To learn how this process worked, TVyVideo + Radio spoke with Claudio Martínez, vice president of business development for the Americas of DTS, creator of the HD Radio system. He said before the Cofetel chose the model, had temporarily taken the HD Radio stations that are in the US border. This was the first step in the decision to expand to the entire country.

To promote the implementation of this system, took a job with broadcasters, manufacturers of trucks and receivers, in order to have available in the country teams and that listeners could enjoy HD radio. Until mediadios of 2016 54 had air stations with HD radio technology, digital channels 47, 101 total digital channels and end of the year the number will continue to grow.

He stressed that "as many stations are in Mexico City and the border area with the United States. But nationwide television stations that already have digital technology. We continue to work with stations across the country to increase the number of stations that have their signal with HD radio. The advantage of this model is that it is hybrid, broadcasters can deliver its digital and analog signal, which favors the audience. "

Interactivity and multiplexing, some benefits
Broadcasters who are now in the air have an installed infrastructure and to make the conversion to HD radio, they do not require a new license or change their frequency or spectrum, can maintain their infrastructure.

Claudio Martinez said that depending on the updated Machines and equipment that has the station, the new infrastructure to issue digital signal will be low and maintaining a hybrid system analog - digital, which guarantees you will not lose your listeners.

Another benefit is that to cover the same territory with the radio signal, a station uses 10% of the analog output with digital technology. This means a much more efficient with substantial savings in energy consumption system.

In addition, the multiplexing of the spectrum for more stations is an aspect that gives greater possibilities of issue, but also creates challenges because of the way they can finance these new channels.

"Part of the job of the company's disclosure with broadcasters, so that listeners know that technology. Have it set up working groups through the Chamber of Industry Radio and Television, Cirt, and individually with broadcasters to generate ideas and create awareness within the audience, "he said.

For listeners
With HD radio, one of the main benefits for listeners is the improvement in quality audio, accompanied by other complementary services. To do this, listeners must have a digital receiver.

As an example of the additional information that allows the HD radio listeners, is the name of the song or program you are listening to at the time, images as the logo of the stations, the album art, videos, delivering an experience much more entertaining and interactive.

"Interactivity is also offered. A system allows you to select the songs you like the listener and give them all the information so that later can acquire by Itunes. are currently working in Mexico to offer services in future real-time traffic via digital receivers of vehicles and navigation services, "said Claudio Martinez.

He added that only 4 years has reached a fairly advanced stage, more than 30% of the population has access to HD radio, in addition to vehicles, augurs well for what's coming ahead. While much work remains, the progress that has been really tremendous. 12 years leading the United States in this work can be replicated in Mexico and so is advancing.

The first to implement it
To achieve the massification of standard HD Radio, it has done significant work with all sectors involved in the issue, but a fundamental part have been the public radio of Mexico and car manufacturers in the country.

Toyota and Ford brands were the first cars to offer new vehicles with digital receivers in Mexico. To date, car brands are 15 55 totaling models, the automotive industry being a key to the massification of HD Radio ally.

The other major player in this process has been the Instituto Mexicano de la Radio, Immer, who was the first chain of stations began scanning process under standard HD Radio.

The case Imer
Imer is the federal public via radio with more stations nationwide. Its strategic hedge positions it in the center of the country and in the northern and southern borders and in the Yucatan Peninsula. 21 now has radio stations which are 11 10 FM and AM are also a virtual and 39 digital channels.

The technical director of the chain, Miguel Fernandez, told Radio TVyVideo + experience of this process and the results obtained so far. "As a government entity we wanted to lead the process. In 2008 started planning it in 2009 we got the resources and initiated the transmission in 3 stations in Mexico City. In 2013 it was completed digitizing the Imer 21 stations. We also have multicast stations, ie we have two more stations in the same sign. "

The first step was to change all Imer equipment cabinets production and transmission, because scanning will not accept or does not work properly with mp3 and limit sound quality air must be mp4 transmissions. For all required upgrade technology, trained staff Imer helped the implementation process was not traumatic.

As the model allows broadcasters have new digital channels, they are used to deliver content for a specific audience, such as schedules jazz, world music, and radio Mexico international, where regional music is passed. They are programming exclusively for digital transmissions.

"The economic viability of new spaces and content is one of the issues that most concerns in seizing one of the benefits of digitization. In the case of Immer, they are generating these new spaces with the same resources, but in Mexico are looking for models for financial viability. One of the options that allow laws in the country is renting these spaces to a third party, "said the coach of Imer.

The following
To assist in the development and popularization of this technology, Imer, Radio Formula, Radio Iberoamericana, even outside Mexico City, have started doing radio spots to educate and instruct the audience and know that HD radio is already there . "Sabenmos that any technological change takes time and to reach a critical mass education is key, so we believe that working with industry is important for them to educate their own audience," said Claudio Martinez.

He added that the HD radio does not have a date to have a 100% of the country in this technology. As analog radio and digital occupy the same spectrum, it can operate in a hybrid way and do not need to put pressure on the population, broadcasters and government with a deadline. Provide flexibility allows for a gradual transition to a more organized and coordinated at the country level migration.

Finally, Miguel Fenández concluded that "the listener will always be benefited with digital radio. Listeners of the radio stations of Imer have had a slow progress but growing, as they identify technology, they are more interested and looking to buy a digital receiver. I believe that soon we will have a massification of digital radio, the process is slow as it was with the advent of FM radio. "

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