Bhubaneswar: Despite added advantage over transmissions, the high cost of higher digital radio receiver sets seems to be a hurdle in rolling out digital radio transmissions from different radio stations of the public broadcaster – All India Radio (AIR), in the state.
Earlier, the AIR had planned to adopt the international DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) standard for digital terrestrial radio transmissions in the Medium Wave (MW) and Short Wave (SW) bands. While three AIR stations in Chennai, Delhi and Rajkot have started offering digital transmissions, 33 other AIR stations have been offering digital transmissions through `simulcast mode’ wherein digital and conventional transmissions are both done simultaneously.
In Odisha, the idea of digital transmission was experimented with at AIR Sambalpur by installing a DRM transmitter, but it is yet to start operations allegedly due to the absence of digital receiver sets among the listerers, an official from AIR Sambalpur told Orissa POST. While standard radio sets are available for Rs 250, each digital radio set costs around Rs 15,000.
“We have already installed DRM transmitters, but are yet to start operations as receiving sets are an issue. They are costlier compared to normal radio sets. These sets are best suited for SW and MW transmissions,” the official said.
According to sources in the AIR, some other radio stations in the state, such as Jeypore and Bhawanipatna, are also in line of adding digital transmissions, but in the ‘simulcast mode’. These systems are based on the digital transmissions where signals are transmitted digitally and there is hardly any transmission loss midway. Due to this, transmission to the listeners’ sets is excellent and the listeners enjoy superb sound quality in Short Wave as well in Medium Wave transmissions. However, these norms still continue to elude FM transmissions through DRM technology.
However, DRM experts say the market for DRM seems optimistic. “Earlier, very few players were manufacturing DRM receiver sets in India. The scenario has changed and now more players are coming into the field. As a result, prices are slated to come down to as low as Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000 for each new digital radio set. Now the government also plans to allow DRM technology for FM transmissions. So they have a good future,” said Alokesh Gupta, an expert on DRM transmissions from New Delhi.
Bhubaneswar-based radio expert Subrat Pati said, “Such transmissions are quite popular in European countries, but we are far behind in adapting such path-breaking technologies. Pricing is definitely an issue. If the government subsidises the prices of receiver sets it can surely proliferate and improve transmission quality to radio lovers.”