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Feature Article: Harris Broadcast – DAB+Efficient Content Delivery

Harris Broadcast

In analogue broadcast systems of the past, power consumption was rarely considered key to the choice of technology or vendor. It was not seen as an important factor from the perspective of end-to-end efficiency or with respect to any single component of the broadcasting chain. However, this approach of discounting the issue of power consumption has undergone review.

Many broadcasters find that they are among the top energy-consuming industry sectors. This, combined with skyrocketing energy prices and the prospect of having to pay possible ‘carbon taxes,’ means that the task of minimising energy consumption has become increasingly high on the agenda. Broadcasters, therefore, have seen the possibility of sharing infrastructure as increasingly desirable.

Furthermore, the ability to tout ‘green’ credentials in the social responsibility arena is also seen as an important factor. Being seen as ‘green’ and reducing the organisation’s overall energy consumption can significantly impact not only the profit margins, but also the way consumers perceive the organisation. Therefore, disregarding the ‘green’ issue is no longer a viable option, as this impacts the bottom line.

DAB+ allows for infrastructure requirements to be reduced
The onset of broadcast radio digitisation brought significant power efficiency. Digitised broadcast radio enables a far greater number of channels to be broadcast over similar spectrum and fewer transmitters.

DAB+ digital terrestrial transmission offers a robust modulation scheme and enables reliable delivery of multiple programs. DAB+ not only consumes approximately 35% less power than an analogue transmitter for the same coverage, but also allows up to 28 analogue transmitters to be replaced with just one DAB+ system (See Fig 1). This equates to a single DAB+ transmitter providing the same network coverage while carrying 28 digital audio programs, (See Fig 2) which will allow for infrastructure costs to be significantly reduced (See Fig 3).

An example of the shift toward DAB+ energy reduction

 harris 1Fig 1. Drives increase in content management needs – processors, automation, data management, STL links, monitoring & control

Spectrum Utilisation

harris 2

Fig 2. A single DAB+ transmitter providing the same network coverage carrying 28 digital audio programs

Results of research into cost savings using DAB+

Harris 3
Fig 3.  Harris Broadcast has recently carried out research into the costs of carrying services on a multiplex. The capital expenditure must be considered as a cost per channel rather than simply looking at the total price. Harris Broadcast has found that the capital investment required to transmit a single stereo FM channel is about $127,130, whereas the cost per channel in a DAB+ multiplex to reach the same audience would be around $12.975k — a saving of more than 90%.

DAB+ Technology is proven and in place
The DAB+ digital radio rollout continues, with many successes around the world. DAB+ is the future of radio, and it provides benefits to broadcasters and consumers alike. You can find out about where DAB/ DAB+ is here. If you are interested in finding out how to make the switch to digital, contact the WorldDMB project office at projectoffice@worlddab.org.

Harris Broadcast PowerSmart® solutions – a greener technology
To enable broadcasters to cut their energy consumption, Harris Broadcast has created PowerSmart® technology, a design initiative for developing the most efficient transmitter products. Harris Broadcast leverages the most sophisticated tools, such as Real-Time Adaptive Correction (RTAC™), LDMOS solid-state products and other technologies, to develop cost-, energy- and space-efficient solutions.

Rich Redmond 
Vice President
Transmission at Harris Broadcast

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