Outstanding digital radio technologies

© Dirk Mahler / Fraunhofer

The 2016 Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize: (from left) Alexander Zink, Martin Speitel, and Max Neuendorf of Fraunhofer IIS.

Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize goes to Fraunhofer IIS for digital radio in Germany, Europe, and the world.

The last remaining blind spot in digital media is soon to disappear. Analog radio has held out for a long time, but thanks to better quality, more choice, and innovative extras, digital radio is on the up worldwide. In most European countries, digital radio is already part of everyday life. Many newly industrialized countries are currently planning to switch from analog short-wave and medium-wave radio to digital radio, and efforts to digitize local FM broadcasting are underway. India is one of the forerunners here and is on its way to becoming the biggest digital radio market in the world. The two open and complementary standards Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB/DAB+) and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) play a key role in digitizing radio services.

In recognition of their work on developing the basic principles of digital radio and for developing them to the point of market penetration, Alexander Zink, Martin Speitel, and Max Neuendorf were awarded the 2016 Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize on behalf of the entire developer team. The jury were impressed by “the steady advancement of fundamental technology and the establishment of standards in this area.”

Our technologies and developments play a significant role in the growing success of digital radio. We have designed technologies and components along the entire digital radio broadcast chain. These include new audio coding formats, server solutions for encoding and producing digital radio broadcast signals, and software components for playback devices. The audio codecs xHE-AAC and HE-AAC, both part of MPEG’s standards, process data intelligently so that their amount is drastically reduced but the quality remains the same. Additional services, such as the Journaline data service, allow users to read text content such as the news, weather, and traffic information on their radio’s display.

Digital radio also offers benefits for broadcasting companies. By transmitting programs more efficiently, it reduces the amount of energy and therefore money needed for broadcasting, and allows broadcasters to offer more programs.

Digital radio for the world

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