Monday, May 28, 2007

All India Radio to turn digital for world audience

Listening to old melodies of KL Sehgal or latest tunesfrom Himmesh Reshammiya would now be possible in farwest United States or on the interior of Indo-Chinaborder. In a quality better than FM radio.
It will all happen with All India Radio (AIR) planningto go digital. "We have started a pilot project toprovide digital signals to radio audience in thecountry. The quality would be as clear as playingmusic at your home," said Brajeshwar Singh,Director-General AIR.
The digital service will be available through internetvia webcasting and as radio signal till a distance of20,000 kilometres in a crystal clear sound. But thebiggest stumbling block for the masses to listen to fine quality radio transmission is the high costdigital radio sets. Each set costs about Rs 12,000.But, Singh expects the price to go down once the useof radio digital signal improves.
Till, the technology becomes popular the AIR willprovide the signal in both analog and digital mode.This will mean that there will be a signal forconventional radio sets along with one for digitalradio sets. Once the transition from analog to digital is complete, the analog signal will not be available."It will take seven to eight years," Singh said.
AIR on Thursday conducted a presentation forInformation and Broadcasting ministry secretary ASwarup on digital phase of AIR. The pilot projectstarted from a transmission station near DelhiUniversity is first of its kind in the country.
"Although 38 countries in the world has used digitalmode for external transmission, India would be thefirst country to use the technology for nationaltransmission," AS Guin, Engineer-in- Chief of AIR.
The cost of converting entire AIR network on digitalis high but the government expects to get approval ofPlanning Commission for this futuristic project soon.Under the pilot project, Delhi radio station is available on digital mode as well as analog mode. "Wehave divided the bandwith into two channels. One partis digital and other is analog. People who want tolisten to better quality sound can opt for the digital signal" an AIR official said.
(Source: Mukesh Kumar, India)