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The RDS Forum held its annual meeting in Glion/Montreux, Switzerland from 17 to 18 June 2013.

Workshop on “The Forum is 20: Developments and solutions needed”

This workshop was part of the 2013 annual meeting.

Implementing Hybrid Radio (FM/RDS & Internet) – a project from Radio France

The message of the project was “Interactive visual radio is the opportunity”. The scope was “Which content should be added to radio?” – Examples given include the Previous programme, the Next programme and EPG, Weather info, Traffic and Event info.

The combination of these metadata, obtained via the Internet and handled by the receiver in a clever way, is basically Hybrid radio.

The proposal from Radio France was to extend and modify the RT+ ODA specification to include there items carrying Hybradio information.

The RDS Forum proposed on the contrary creating a new ODA for Hybradio that would open up a more flexible approach.

FM/RDS radio in Smart phones & Tablets

The proposal was to obtain an agreement for an open API, at least for the most used OS (Android) and to extend then this concept to other important operating systems.

The RDS Forum agreed to create a drafting group that will work by correspondence. The aim is to describe generally desired FM/RDS functionality that we as the RDS Forum would like to have from a platform perspective like the smart phone or tablet. The Forum will produce a list of standard commands and some typical use cases with a clear customer focus

  1. Draw up the list of commands needed;
  2. Describe smart phone issues from the point of view of the end-user and include business opportunities for all involved;
  3. Describe what additional opportunities the RDS-ODA feature may offer.

Implementation issues of FM/RDS and Internet radio

In this particular domain the RDS Forum has not been active so far and it should therefore note, who were those main players that have had already largely written the technical specifications and relevant standards. These are: WorldDMB, RadioDNS and IMDA. These developments should be of interest to all RDS Forum members.

Traffic & Travel services by Broadcasting

This presentation was a technology evolution overview. It required no further action to be taken by the Forum.

Public open alarm system developments

Two different solutions were analysed. IRIS is a French initiative based on the French national standard AFNOR/X08S-150 (2007). There will be more tests later in 2013 in the Southern part of France.

NPR labs tests are being prepared, using a former RBDS ODA for alerts and requires suitable low-cost receivers to be developed for deaf and hard-of-hearing persons. Alarm messages using PTY 30 and 31 are to be displayed as RT messages.

In both cases special receivers will be needed and will have to be specified as well, but in the context of RDS standardisation this issue cannot be covered by the RDS standard, because that is for the transmission system and not for the receivers. Their specification could either be within our Guidelines, but perhaps better set out in a separate alert receiver standard.

The RDS Forum agreed to create a new ODA annex for public alert system specifications using the IRIS and the relevant RBDS specification tested by NPR.

Other topics considered during the RDS Forum 2013 meeting were:

ITU: Through the EBU, the RDS Forum collaborated with ITU-R Study Group 6 and updated ITU-R Recommendation BS.643-3 (2011) dealing with RDS.

IEC: The RDS measurements standard IEC 62634 ed.1 was adopted as proposed by the RDS Forum and published in June 2011. However in using this standard it was found that some smaller correction was needed. The new version, edition 2, will be published in August 2013. The RDS Forum continued the work on the RDS standard IEC 62106 ed. 2 maintenance and prepared during 2012 for the IEC a draft of edition 3. The update is now being voted and expected to be issued during the year, after August 2013. This will include the possibility to improve PTY signalling for NEWS and WEATHER.

RBDS: The Forum collaborated with the NAB during the past years on the updating of the US standard for RBDS. This activity was now been successfully completed.

RT+: The progress made in the implementation of RadioText Plus remains a topic to be promoted by the RDS Forum on its web site. Any news reported to the RDS Forum on the progress made in the RT+ implementation will be included in a presentation to encourage broadcasters to implement it more widely.

eRT: enhanced RadioText is a feature to provide RadioText with non-Latin alphabet character sets, all EU languages being covered. There is increasing interest to implement this new feature in car radios, designed for markets in Central and Eastern Europe. However, the RDS Forum still seeks more feedback from interested broadcasters, confirming that they really want to use this new feature. Also, the Forum likes to be informed of any implementation so that some car radio receiving field tests could then be carried out by the developers.

Extending the RDS data transmission capacity: The xRDS project reported more development during the past year. The continuation of this development work was encouraged by the RDS Forum. An RDS Forum presentation was created to draw attention of the broadcasters to the possibility to enhance by a factor of three the RDS data transmission capacity, compatible with old receivers, but usable only with new receivers using an xRDS, if ever it were available. A detailed presentation about this project was placed on a special web site to raise more awareness about this important development. For more details refer to http://extended-rds.org

PS: If dynamic PS is used by broadcasters then only programme relevant information shall be given. The same and perhaps additional information shall also be distributed using the RT feature. The car radio manufacturers in the RDS Forum 2010 had confirmed that most car radios will have the RT feature implemented and broadcasters are asked to use RT and RT+ instead, and not PS, which shall remain static and give only the 8-character programme service name identification.

RDS Guidelines updating: The Guidelines work ended in March 2012 with the production of doc. R12/008_2 and a list of unfinished items still remained to be done. These were:

It was agreed to complete this work by the end of 2013.

RDS UECP updating: The UECP for the new EON-NEWS, -WEATHER and -ALARM announcement signalling, a function being included in the new version of the RDS standard, will need an adaptation to support this new feature. The RDS Forum agreed to elaborate the UECP for updating by November 2013.

Next RDS Forum annual meeting: 16 & 17 June 2014 at Hotel Victoria, Glion / Montreux, Switzerland.