New Quality Measurement Technique for FM IBOC Developed

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Philadelphia - Sep 23, 2009 - A new, standardized method for determining the transmission quality of an FM IBOC signal called Modulation Error Ratio (MER) has been developed by a group of technologists. The group promises the technique will offer broadcasters a standardized method to verify the quality of FM IBOC transmissions. In turn, transmission and signal measurement equipment manufacturers will be able to offer the industry new and improved devices for making FM IBOC signal quality measurements.

This development effort resulted from the National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC) drafting of NRSC-G201, NRSC-5 RF Mask Compliance: Measurement Methods and Practice, which was adopted by the NRSC in April 2009. The NRSC is a technical standards-setting body co-sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

The MER measurement technique is described in a new Ibiquity Digital reference document entitled Transmission Signal Quality Metrics for FM IBOC Signals. At the Sept. 23, 2009, meeting of the NRSC's Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB) Subcommittee, Ibiquity submitted the document to the group, which will now consider incorporating this new technique into the NRSC-5 IBOC Digital Radio Broadcasting Standard as well as the NRSC-G201 Guideline document.

The selection of MER as the HD Radio transmission signal quality metric for the FM IBOC signal and the method of measuring MER on the FM IBOC signal was developed by a working group of technologists representing Ibiquity Digital, Broadcast Electronics, Continental Electronics, Harris Broadcast, Nautel, and other interested participants from the U.S. radio broadcast industry. This group of technologists reached full consensus on the standardized method for FM IBOC signal MER measurement described in the document submitted to the NRSC.

Geoff Mendenhall, VP transmission research and technology at Harris, and Harris' representative to the NRSC, led the team developing the MER measurement standard. He said, "The development of transmission signal quality metrics for FM IBOC signals will give broadcasters confidence that their HD Radio transmission system is truly delivering a high quality signal to their listeners. It is now possible to fully characterize the performance of the complete HD Radio transmitter facility."

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