iBiquity Digital Corporation: HD Radio system testing at increased power levels

HD Radio 1

Business Description:

iBiquity Digital is the developer and licenser of HD Radio™ technology, which is transforming AM and FM broadcasting with a vastly increased number of channels, dramatically improved sound quality, and an array of new data services. iBiquity is actively engaged with broadcasters, as well as receiver, component and broadcast equipment manufacturers, automotive manufacturers and retailers in the United States and around the world, to ensure the swift and successful adoption of HD Radio technology.

Challenge:

iBiquity sought to obtain FCC clearance for the use of higher broadcast power levels for the digital carriers in the FM HD Radio system.

MIPS Role:

Salisbury researchers examined higher power levels for the digital carriers in the FM HD Radio system. The MIPS project focused on the feasibility of increasing power levels and the potential impact of that increase on adjacent analog channels. Increased digital power levels allow broadcasters to increase the coverage of their digital signals and to enhance the signal penetration of buildings. The project also involved the collection of audio samples of analog radio programming from several existing radio stations. Analog broadcasts were examined with the digital power of adjacent channel stations set to existing authorized levels and proposed higher levels. A subjective evaluation of the audio samples was conducted using listeners to determine if they perceive a diminution in audio quality.

Results:

There was no appreciable decrease in audio quality from the increase in digital power levels. This finding allowed the broadcast industry to become comfortable with the benefits of increasing digital power levels for the HD Radio system and allowed the industry to seek FCC authorization for an overall increase in digital power levels. Various broadcasters supported iBiquity’s request to allow broadcasters to increase the power level of their digital radio broadcasts. On January 29, 2010, the FCC issued an order authorizing FM radio stations to increase their digital power levels based on the test results conducted pursuant to the MIPS grant. iBiquity also distributed results to regulators in other countries considering HD Radio adoption and to the International Telecommunication Union. The information about high-power FM broadcasts helped to encourage the Mexican government to adopt HD Radio technology as the digital radio standard in Mexico.  The FCC authorization of increased power resulted in several dozen stations around the country increasing the power levels of their digital broadcasts and improving the quality of their digital signals.

MIPS-Related Quote:

“This project has helped to strengthen the value of our digital radio product, which in turn supports [the] continued employment of 43 people in our Columbia, Maryland office.”

– Albert Shuldiner, Senior VP & General Counsel, iBiquity Digital Corporation

Project Manager:  Albert Shuldiner;  Principal InvestigatorEllyn Sheffield, Salisbury University
Location:  Columbia, Maryland – Howard County;  Project Start Date:  2/1/2007

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