The PantronX Titus II: A New DRM Receiver

titus 2 big

I had heard rumors that a new DRM receiver was in the works, but had not yet seen any specifications. DRMNA.info has just posted a few specs:

The PantronX Titus II is actually a full SDR solution in a boombox case. Few details yet, but it is running Android, has a 100 kHz to 2 GHz receiver on-board and decodes AM, FM, SSB and DRM natively.

It uses a Quad-core Arm A53 @ 1.2 GHz, 1 Gig of RAM and 8 Gig of on-board Flash. 7″ TFT display and supports Android 5, 6 or custom remixes.

Click here to read the full post at DRMNA.info…

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59 thoughts on “The PantronX Titus II: A New DRM Receiver

  1. Mangosman

    Edward,
    Due to the need to find vacant channels for simulcasting of the analog and digital signals many stations had to change channels particularly a wholesale change to UHF (channels 21 – 69). This requires a different antenna and most indoor antennas are very poor performers at those channels. As a result buildings absorb more of the signal. Also ghosted signals are traded for picture breakups which was the poor selection of the ATSC DTV system. The cause of your signal breakups and lack of programs.
    Since that time there has been a restack to put the transmission channels in adjacent channels and then the spare spectrum was auctioned off to the mobile phone industry.

    It costs money to upgrade systems and ultimately the viewer/listener pays. The longer the simulcast goes on the higher the cost to the broadcaster. A short simulcast period reduces not only the broadcasters’ cost but also the listener because high volume sales, stops profiteering. This is why the FCC must set an analog switchoff date and also a date to prevent the inport of non DRM capable radios.

    What value does DRM give to the purchaser. Better sound than both HD radio and analog AM/FM. The radio can also show pictures which can be weather maps, and advertising, traffic data for GPS systems, multiple page text such as electronic newspapers, electronic program guide and and emergency warning system which can wake the radio, switch to the voice announcement, show detailed instructions in multiple languages and maps of the affected areas. Radio program selection is done by name and not by remembering a frequency. Also all transmitters radiating identical programs can use the same transmission frequency, as well if you are driving from one coverage area to another the receiver will automatically returne including switching to FM or AM and then back to DRM if a good signal reappears from that broadcaster.

    Reply
  2. Edward

    At least it was not always the same color but I did get 12 view-able analog channels with various degrees but with the transition I only get 1 perfect digital channel, 2 channels that pause, mosaic and mute to various degrees . As far as subsidies, no one mention the hidden”subsidy” the radio owner gives to the broadcaster in the form of lost value of his radio being rendered useless by the mode shift. WE could have both modes running. consumer choice. Now those tv broadcasters get the keep their spectrum space vacated analog channel.

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  3. Mangosman

    No digital radio can be received by any analog receiver. HD Radio requires a new receiver. It has been on air for 16 years in the USA and is only used in USA and its “colonies”, Mexico and a trial in Canada. Only about 6 % of the population have one. In Europe the percentage with DAB+/DAB digital radios in countries transmitting it is much higher. There are no subsidies. They sell because of the greater range of programs and better sound.
    HD radio does not produce better sound in HD2 – 4 because of very low data rates. This does not apply to DAB+ and DRM.

    In the rest of the world, DAB+ transmits new additional programs as well as the analog programs. The analog transmitters continue to transmit as they always have except in Norway who have switched off all major network’s analog transmitters. No one has been given subsidies or free radios.

    In Australia the DTV conversion, the only ones to get free set top boxes were full time pensioners along with an antenna if required. Everybody else had to either buy STB or a new TV. In Australia STBs were cheap because there was a planned staged conversion over 3 years with the biggest population centres last. The volume of sales kept prices down because of the planning.

    As for junking of TVs it would have happened anyway. Remember it was the time when the cathode ray picture tube TVs were replaced with flat screen LCD and plasmas.

    An Australian Government survey found in 2012, 6 months prior the completion of the analog switchoff found that 90 % of the audience could receive HD programs. . This required either new TVs or STB which will output the HD only programs in SD.A large percentage was from new TVs which can display HD quality. This is not possible using the older analog TVs

    As for spectrum, in analog a TV channel had to have adjacent channels in that viewing area vacant because the receivers could not separate the signals. For example a transmitter on channel 8 must not have any signals on channels 7 and 9 in that viewing area. In digital TV they can separate adjacent channels so channels 7, 8 and 9 can all have different broadcasters in the same area. As a result if all existing broadcasters are allocated consecutive channels allows channels 60 – 69 to be sold to the telcos for mobile broadband.

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  4. Edward

    As long as the DRM broadcast can still be received by conventional radios in somewhat reduced performance is ok. But the DTV DISASTER that happened in 2009 in the USA should not have happened, The DTV decoder boxes to make them compatible with analog TV was highway robbery. The reason decoder boxes were not free is because the DTV decoding methods are patented and the feds will not pay for the royalties. What a sweet deal cut in the back room! The result is lots of TV sets being junked, the disposal costs being burdened on the local taxpayer, Less viewership for over the air TV broadcast and reduced coverage/reception reliability. Someone has ulterior plans for the spectrum space by killing over the air TV longterm.

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    1. RonF

      “Less viewership for over the air TV broadcast and reduced coverage/reception reliability.”

      It’s my understanding – and consistent with the figures I’ve seen – that OTA viewing in the US, both in time watched & # of OTA-only households, actually increased considerably when digital was rolled out.

      Granted, it was just a blip in the overall decline of both OTA & cable viewing, streaming also started to bite around that same time, and a lot of old fogey “my grandpappy put that newfangled colored antenna up before he shipped out Korea, and if it was good enough for him when he came back then ain’t no gubbmint can make me change it now!”-types* had reception problems with digital – but I don’t think it’s particularly true that your digital changeover resulted in reduced viewership or widespread reception issues.

      (* Although slightly changed to protect the innocent, not upset the sensitive-to-bad-language, and for minor – only minor! – comic effect, this is very close to several deadly serious comments I read on several digital transition and vintage electronics forums at the time and since.

      And, to be honest, last week…)

      Reply
      1. Mangosman

        RonF
        Perhaps Edward has forgotten about NTSC being “Never Twice Same Color” Things like a fire flame being bright green and not yellow/orange. This was the reason analog NTSC TVs had hue controls. The phasing errors of NTSC disappeared with digital. In addition reflected signals produced more than one image usually called ghosting and in NTSC it would be a different hue. Many TVs used indoor antennas which could not stop the ghosting which is one of the reasons why cable became popular. These reflected signals don’t produce ghosting in ATSC digital TV but unreliable picture/sound breakups. In the rest of the world the reflected signals are ignored by DVB-T and ISDB digital TV systems. If ASTC3.0 gets off the ground it will as well.

        In Australia we went from PAL TV which does not have a hue control because it isn’t needed and ghosts become paler to DVB-T which produces pictures of true colour and no ghosting along as well as ignoring ghosts. Almost all receivers are fed using outdoor antennas. There was no drop in users. We have cable/satellite pay TV but only about 30 % of viewers use it.

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  5. Mangosman

    Ted,
    If the USA’s FCC followed the example of digital TV, set an analog switchoff date, gave free DRM+ channels for all licencees (HF DRM in remote areas), ban any new broadcasters in each licence areas for that duration,, and to allow the sharing of transmitter facilities for DRM+.A single VHF low transmitter could carry all broadcasters on that site. All broadcasters feeding this transmitter will need their own content server and modulator. Each transmitter could carry up to 30 broadcasters carrying 3 audio programs each at better quality than HD2 – HD4.

    A firm commitment by the FCC gives the confidence to the banks to finance new transmitters and will give receiver manufacturers a market to invest in. In Australia DAB+/FM radios started at over $100 nine years ago they are now $29 including taxes. 29 AUD = 21.43 USD. Other than for the tuning range requiring different coils, DAB+ and DRM+ have identical signal processing but with different variables.

    Firmware has been created for android phones to receive DRM+. Whilst manufacturers for android phones have been persuaded to enable the FM receiver firmware, Apple still will not because of their profits from iTunes.

    Optus who is the second biggest telco in Australia bought the rights to the World Cup soccer. The system crashed because each viewer requires a program data feed each. They had to pay a TV broadcaster to transmit the program where one program data feed feeds all viewers regardless of the number. Radio is the same, the more listeners the higher the cost of providing individual feeds of the program on the internet/phones which is not true of broadcast. Telco do not wish tot use multicast because they cannot charge for each individual feed.

    With large audiences it is much cheaper to broadcast than to use tie internet/phone system for broadcasters and listeners.

    Why not receive broadcast DRM in the phone like FM? It is free to listen, leaves the phone channels for two way traffic, which radio listening is not.

    There are no problems with nighttime multipath or skywave interference using DRM anyway!

    I should remind you that for DTV the FCC got the customs department to ban the import of analog only receivers well before the cut off date. This will affect automobiles as well. Broadcasters can simulcast on DRM+, HD radio and FM or AM until the analog switchoff date which is what happened in TV.

    Remember that with Software designed Radios the only the firmware needs to change to give all digital and analog modes provided the tuned circuits connected to the aerial cover the frequency ranges of the different systems.

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  6. ted

    In the U.S., why would anyone pay $100 for a DRM radio when they can get an internet radio that uses the bandwidth that over 85% of Americans already have in home, and with that have hundreds and thousands of channels at their fingertips? If they want local news or community affairs, they can easily bring up the internet stream of the desired local station. They all have ’em.

    I think DRM is cool, but It’s not for the U.S. Using the India example, only 25% of India’s potential audience actually uses the internet at best. Not great statistics for deploying Internet Radio in India. Broadcast radio using DRM, with the one-time purchase of an inexpensive receiver with no recurring costs is right in line with India’s economy.

    Here in the U.S., for the most part, we just buy what we want. We want internet? We buy it. We want unlimited Internet for the family? We buy it. Even people who, financially speaking, probably shouldn’t be spending money on the Internet do so anyway.

    Now, I propose that in the U.S. society, what would be better than DRM for providing super expanded listening options is Free Internet. For all. Everywhere. Multicast radio IP networks. Why not? Smartphone chipsets could easily be made to incorporate this function alongside the phone capabilities. Wouldn’t require broadcasters to do much of anything really differently. And it would be local. No issues with nighttime multipath or skywave interfering across radio markets.

    There is about as much likelihood of that happening in the short term as there is a chance that U.S. broadcasters will turn off those AM and FM analog and HD transmitters and switch to FM, and that U.S. radio consumers will happily refit every radio they own with a shiny new DRM receiver.

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  7. Mangosman

    I should correct the statement “In some countries brand names must not be mentioned” I was only talking about Government funded broadcasters. It would not work in a commercial station!

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  8. Mangosman

    ted,
    If you read my post properly, all broadcasters could transmit music quality if they all went to DRM+ or DRM30 in remote areas. Then the AM broadcasters would not be at a disadvantage compared to FM, which is what a lot of AM broadcasters would like. It enables AM stations to do what FM stations have been doing in the same sound quality. It also makes the coverage area the same for all broadcasters in a licence area, as a result all broadcasters are competing on an equal footing, and they don’t have to be talk stations if they don’t want to.

    How many stations transmit classical music or Jazz for example? Some are trying on the HD2 channel which forces them to use very poor sound quality. In DRM+ the sound quality is excellent. The transmitter for that station is adding this additional program for a very small cost to their main more popular program. In addition they can another addition program. So for example their main program could be popular music, the second channel is Classical music and a third Jazz all in equal better than FM quality. USA radio cannot do this without DRM+.

    Thus if DRM+ was used, there are more channels available than with AM & FM combined without overlapping channels. This produces a greenfield, a new chance for radio.

    So,if you are talking of programming you need the licencing rules used in many other countries, a strong Government funded broadcaster, commercial licences which to be issued have to prove that they are commercially viable and a community radio sector for local radio. The regulator such as the FCC can cancel licences for poor behaviour. Do you have pecuniary interest laws where broadcasters have to name the source of money which is funding a program if it is not obvious from the advertising? Does payola continue? In some other countries brand names must not be mentioned on air. This is obviously against the free market system espoused in the USA, but in radio’s case doesn’t work to well.

    I understand that many of are pushing an agenda such as divisive politics, shock jocks, or religion and there is little middle ground.

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  9. ted

    Straying from the topic again. DRM vs Analog or HD. If ALL U.S. stations were to switch to DRM tomorrow, they would still be carrying the same programming. Going DRM doesn’t magically change the format nor take away the need for profitable operation.

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  10. Eddie

    The alternative is for profit radio which is waste land of all advertising for trite crap that no one wants or needs and tunes out in 3 minutes and ends up on NPR

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  11. ted

    It’s not an issue here. The AM oldies station where I am, for example, does 60’s – 70’s on the AM signal, and 70’s – 80’s on the FM signal, but they also HD2 the AM signal in stereo. It’s all covered.

    If a switch to DAB or DRM were actually worth the effort, it would be done.

    We have NPR as the sole ‘government/national’ radio chain. It is abysmal and dark, full of negativity and over the top skewed news coverage. Biased reporting and again, a particularly unsavory darkness. Bumper music sounds like a continual electronic death dirge punctuated by droning interstitial blather from morose female announcers. Aimed particularly at unhappy milennials and left wingers, pounding in the endless tone of despair to their audience who must enjoy starting the day on a sour note. Mostly anti-government during the day. And a few good programs on the weekends. Would be great if they moved to some another unconventional band and an indecipherable digital mode. No great loss.

    Private broadcasters are the majority here, and they are fine without DAB or DRM. Lots of variety. I listen to W Radio from Mexico on 900kHz nightly, with their classic rock format, no problems, no adjacent interference. Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, all come in no problem on AM at night. Don’t need to hear them in digital on my table radio. If I want static free FM like reception, I use my internet radio.

    I happen to prefer to listen to oldies on AM, just like they used to sound back in the day. FM is too sterile.

    Radio life is good here in the U.S. Sorry it’s so contentious where you are.

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  12. Mangosman

    ted,
    You think that there are no issues in the USA AM and FM?
    HD AM is an interference disaster particularly at night so very few AM stations will transmit HD at night or at all. Many AM stations have to reduce their power at night?
    Why are many AM stations trying to get FM translators in an already oversaturated FM band particularly with and FM HD which uses the channels of adjacent frequency broadcasters.

    Obviously you have not heard real digital only radio if you think that AM is ok
    AM has highly compressed volume, no stereo or high frequency sound meaning that most AM stations are used for talk.

    Wouldn’t better that all broadcasters can transmit good music quality on all of their programs if they wish which is free of interference which can be achieved by DRM and leave the analog AM and FM on air to a switch off date, just like analog TV did even in the USA.

    Even HD AM in the all digital mode still transmits a very wasteful carrier which is not required in DRM so your broadcasters have to use more than 60 % more electricity.

    When will he USA stop transmitting their analog AM and FM signals to go full HD digital?

    The examples of India, Europe and Australia lead the way and it leaves the USA using 1900’s technology.

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  13. ted

    What works or is good for India has no relevance for what works in the U.S.

    The debate is moot. U.S. has no need for DAB or DRM to provide regional or local coverage. We have that with AM/FM. No issues.

    Next?

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  14. Mangosman

    Ted,
    DRM vs HD radio is relevant. The Titus II wont receive it because Xperi puts on licencing fees on all receivers manufactured, Ibiquity then DTS now xperi have kept the audio compression algorithm top secret to protect their income stream It was written prior to 2002. Rumour has it that it is a version of AAC but it definitely works at 44.1kHz sample rate. That used to be used for CDs, All professional audio is captured at 48 kHz even then and all the subsequent compression systems including HE-AAC used in DAB+ and the subsequent xHE-AAC in DRM which gives alias free sound. Where as DRM and DAB+ are free. All manufacturers have to pay patent rights.

    The reason for under utilised HD2 – HD4 is the 32 and 24 kbit/s data rate making them unsuitable for music so nearly all stations use it for either talk radio or a simulcast of an AM station. Also when the very low powered digital signal (compared to the analog signal) is too weak the radio mutes, even if the FM is still clear. This is not a problem for DRM or DAB+ until the signal is much weaker because the digital signal can be transmitted at the same power level as the analog one was.

    “The charter of radio broadcasters in the U.S. is to serve the public. The entire public, not just pockets of listeners and we don’t tend to alienate or leave remote areas unserved while we make changes that have little or very long term ROI.” The HDradio system was designed at the request of the National Association of Broadcasters. The HDradio system is incapable of this. DRM is capable of high frequency (short wave) broadcasts and could be used on the 26 MHz band using a NVIS antenna which directs the signal upwards to shower over the mountains etc for a couple of hundred kilometres.

    The Norwegian government policy gives the local FM stations another 5 years. Go and look at the ratings for the major broadcasters. Six months after the switch-off a drop of only 7 %. This is probably due to old cars. Virtually all new cars in Norway have DAB+ radios. The new USA cars under 50 % despite HD radio being on air for 16 years!

    As for the apocalypse, your NAB is trying to get FM into every cell phone. They are not pushing for AM! In fact DRM is much better with its Emergency Warning System which wakes the radio, increases the volume says the message, displays it in multilingual text and can show maps as well. AM cannot do that.

    What other industry persists with a 117 year old technology which is AM and 82 years for FM.
    FM is already overcrowded and now will become more crowded with FM translators for AM broadcasters.
    If DRM+ was used in the now virtually empty TV channels 2 – 6 There is more channels available than all AM and FM channels combined. No overlapping and each broadcaster can have 3 music quality channels.
    Its about time USA broadcasting ventured into the 21st century. It is not helped by the FCC being run by lawyers, there is no broadcast engineers in their upper management.

    A search of Walmart’s website shows the only shows only one portable radio capable of HD radio!

    It is your TV broadcasters who are to blame for over the air TV. They selected ATSC instead of DVB-T. DVB-T will reject multipath (ghosted) TV signals where as ATSC will not. They also waited too long.

    The UK now has 50 % listening on DAB/DAB+ this is certainly not the case in the USA.
    As for receivers read http://www.drm.org/drm-digital-radio-broadcasting-in-india/ I would like to remind you that India has 13000 million people the USA a little over 300 million.

    The cell phone system is two way even if you are listening to a program. One direction the return system is little used, By contrast broadcast is one to many. If all listeners used their phones the system could not cope because each listener has to have their own individual signal.
    Are your remote areas covered with cell signals/ it’s not economic

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  15. ted

    I’ve been trying to purchase any good quality DRM radio, portable or table, since 2006. That’s 12 years. That’s when I first started fooling with DRM, DReaM, Spark, etc. I watched as most of the DRM broadcasts that could be received in the US just disappeared.

    It’s still vaporware in my book until I can go online and not get raped by VAT and import fees for a $99 portable DRM receiver.

    Unfortunately, the Titan II seems to be unobtanium for now. By the time it becomes available, the integrated Android device will be obsolete.

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  16. ted

    Not many, because we aren’t fixated on orphaning a much larger legacy radio base at the moment. Other smaller countries or developing countries that don’t already have well established analog radio service numbering in the thousands of transmitters can afford to justify shutting off a huge portion of the population.

    DRM would be a fun addition to the U.S. broadcasting base, but the reality is, it’s not worth the effort or pain, technically or monetarily.

    DAB would be a problem here because that spectrum is already occupied.

    The charter of radio broadcasters in the U.S. is to serve the public. The entire public, not just pockets of listeners and we don’t tend to alienate or leave remote areas unserved while we make changes that have little or very long term ROI.

    Look how long it took for U.S. TV to go all digital. Not until the overwhelming majority of viewers were on cable or satellite. THEN, we switched, relatively painlessly. And for those who needed the local stations, there were very cheap and simple to implement DTV converters available. Few radio users are interested in putting on some clunky HD radio converter with separate control head, etc. I have a stack of them sitting in a closet. I thought about hooking one up in my ham shack, but bought a Radio Shack Accurian for $50 and that works fine.

    As for shutting off entire services, for example, Norway, with a total population about the size of one of our larger cities, switching off FM wasn’t a big deal. Before you can use Norway as an example, you’d have to take a look at how many local stations are still analog. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Norwegian-language_radio_stations#Local_radio_stations

    Portable HD radios are cheap, around $50 – $75 at Best Buy. Have you looked? Best Buy carries 22 different models of car HD radios. Walmart carries portable and car HD radios.

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  17. Mangosman

    ted,
    Have you tried to buy an HD radio in a chain store in the US lately? Go to the websites of the major radio manufacturers and log in not only in the USA but also try the UK and other European countries. Look at the huge variety of DAB+ radios and the tiny number of HDRadio models.

    In Norway all major networks have switched off AM and FM leaving DAB+ on air at the end of last year. Now virtually all new cars contain DAB+ radios. DAB+ to FM converters are
    available for old cars.

    Who cares how many car models have HD. What really matters is how many cars regardless of brands are equipped with HD radio.
    If each person were to have one HD Radio each in the USA, only 6 % have HD radios. No wonder most average Americans have never herd of it. Your called 48.9 % must only be for automobiles over one year. What about the many other vehicles on the road.!

    India has 800,000 DRM radios factory installed in their first 18 months of a new national rollout of DRM by All India Radio.

    There are 10 million more DAB+/DAB radios than HD radios.

    Remember that DAB+, DAB and DRM are pure DRM transmission systems. How many broadcasters are transmitting HDRadio in all digital mode? It has been available since 2002.

    Reply
    1. ted

      as an aside, I’m not sure what the discussion here is really about… DRM being vaporware as a technology? Obviously it is not.

      DAB vs. HD radio? Not really relevant to DRM.

      Underutilization of HD2 streams? Not relevant, but is dictated by simple economics. If it doesn’t pay for itself, why do it?

      Digital vs analog radio? Ok. again, not really relevant to DRM in this context. The advantages and disadvantages or both have been well established for some time.

      I do know that when the zombie apocalypse happens, I can still receive analog AM radio with a safety pin, a razorblade, an earbud, and some wire. Or that old Sharp tube type AM/SW tabletop on my dresser.

      Reply
  18. ted

    A couple of salient facts for you to consider in 2018:

    All 40 major automobile brands offer HD radio in at least one model
    Nearly 250 different car models come with HD radio
    More than 50% of those car models sell for under $35K, and 75% cost less than $50K
    While the growth in HD radio penetration seemed to level off a bit in 2014 and 2015, it has grown as of late, now reaching an impressive 48.9%.

    Reply
  19. Mangosman

    Edward,
    It’s hardly vapourware!
    The software I referred to was written by the German University research institute which produced the MP4 sound compression algorithm which is extensively used on the internet, and also HE-AAC which is used by a large number of countries outside of North America for TV sound.

    This radio cannot receive Sirus XM satellite. Remember that Sirus is a pay radio system so the signals are encrypted to prevent non subscribers from listening.

    Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) and Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB+) systems is licenced free to manufacturers, broadcasters and listeners when compared to the USA’s HD radio which imposes annual licence fees on broadcasters and fees on receiver manufacturers for the use of their system.

    Remember however that patents do apply to the hardware used in equipment. Patents do eventually run out leaving the technology to be used for free, this does not occur with licence fees.

    This radio will receive the high frequency band which allows international broadcasters to transmit across large areas of the earth. For example New Zealand International can be received in the West Coast of the USA for free. There are lots of other examples. It will also receive local digital radio broadcasts using DAB+, DRM+ and DRM30 along with AM and FM. All of which is free to listen. Compare this with the cell phone industry who want you to pay to listen through data charges.

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  20. Edward

    Is this another version Sirus -XM satellite subscription radio that you have to pay for, or is reception free to anyone that can decode it?

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  21. Mangosman

    Edward,
    Ignorance is bliss
    In 18 months 800,000 DRM receivers have been installed as standard equipment in Indian cars. All India Radio has 37 medium to very high powered (1 million Watt) DRM transmitters. 3 of them transmit a pair of programs in the “AM” band continuously and all of the others transmit pure DRM for an hour a day.

    Only 6 % of the US population actually have HD radios.
    Norway now has only DAB+ radio for all the main networks.
    The UK now has more than 50 % of radio listening to digital.

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  22. DAVID GREEDUS

    WHEN DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE ON THE MARKET, THEIRS A LOT OF TALK GET ON WITH IT.

    YES IF POSSIBLE IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE DIFFERENT COLORS I ALSO MUST AGREE WITH A COMMENT IT DOES LOOK LIKE A TOY N LOOKS A BIT FEATURELESS NOT SOLID.

    I DONT MIND PAYING £200 IF YOU CAN PACK IT WITH STUFF, LIKE AV INPUTS / VIDEO OUTPUTS /HDMI /USB………dreaming.

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  23. Mangosman

    If this radio is to really make a difference it has to be aimed at the non-technical people who just want to listen to the clear stereo sound without breakups anywhere in the world, with emergency warnings relevant to them which also include text and maps. The radio also has to be in the listeners’ realistic price range.

    It is a side benefit financially if the radio has other functions as already described. It should be remembered that the technically savy, who want to experiment are in a tiny manority

    Reply
  24. Tony Kelts

    A tablet with a radio for around $100, I want one. My other sdr radio only works with Windows . I don’t know why everyone is so against this device, I wish they made it a couple years ago. Whenever I see one for sale, I am buying one!!!

    Reply
    1. Edward

      I can understand your windows opinion, I have one of those USB fobs and a free download for RTL SDR and can’t get it to receive anything other than background hiss. Nothing like a standalone shortwave radio. Easy to operate and trouble shoot

      Reply
  25. Oxo

    I thought eHam.net was bad, but this is about the most pessimistic bunch of low info/high opinion ninnies I’ve seen yet in the hobby radio forums. All the specs are there on the site but still some posters simply can’t comprehend the specs and intent..

    1. Titus will be inexpensive
    2. Titus can run any mode that can be decoded with an Android app on a mobile device platform
    3. Titus cannot possibly be purple and white… But, if it is, no big deal.
    4. Titus can tune from 100kHz to 2GHz.
    5. Titus has an external antenna jack
    6. Titus in not designed for the U.S. market, but can realize substantial sales
    7. Titus could possibly be used for “scanner apps”
    8. The hardware pieces, i.e. SDRPlay and Android tab, off the shelf at retail, to do what Titus does, currently cost about $150
    9. Nowhere is it indicated Titus is based on a RTL-SDR.
    10. Can hardly wait for it to go into production

    Reply
  26. Alan

    This is far from a “Full SDR solution.” This could have been falling off the shelves, but instead they limit it to broadcast listeners. Scanner enthusiasts have been waiting for something LIKE this, but it lacks what VHF/UHF listeners want & leave them needing to set up free separate software to decode digital signals.
    And no mention is made of how easy that will be. So an opportunity has sadly been missed.
    The market for something like this is with all listeners, not just those who listen to broadcast stations. Currently people are paying hundreds of £’s /$’s for digital scanners that are flawed. So with a projected price suggested to be sub $100, this could have been a great little earner, if it had been aimed at the scanner market as well as at the broadcast listener.

    Reply
    1. Dennis Falk

      The Titus II leaves as much room for the enthusiast as possible, to 2 GHz, and there are already a number of Android SDR apps available (including SDR Touch) that can run on this receiver. Further, they claim an open SDR plugin development platform for the primary Titus radio app, making it a true anything-goes standalone SDR solution. Even video, if it doesn’t overtax the quad core 1.2 GHz processor.

      Basically, the developers of this radio made sure this receiver isn’t limited to a single embedded-OS firmware/software platform, as all other DRM-capable receivers had been, and only limited by the user and any app developer, with a base Android OS platform and direct access to the SDR, making the Titus II a true future-proof receiver solution.

      Sure, the design is a bit cheesy (it looks like a toy), but I’m more concerned about what it does and how well, than just how it looks. I’ve been looking forward to something like this for 30 years. I’m looking forward to using it for much more than DRM… Everything from AM stereo (for what few stations are left) to FAX/RTTY/packet/digital ham reception to subscriber services on FM (SCA) to NOAA Weatheradio (with SAME alerts) to…wherever it can handle…

      And for DRM… Unlike other DRM radios, this one’s upgradable for new DRM features and codecs– Try running an xHE-AAC or Opus stream on an old Morphy Richards!

      Reply
      1. Edward

        “Sure, the design is a bit cheesy (it looks like a toy),” I fully concur, I think this is a test balloon for the concept and hope the physical embodiment of the design changes when it gets going. But understand the sunk costs of the plastic molds is very expensive. They call them “investment castings” The molds needed for the cabinet depicted can easily exceed $100K. . An industrial designer can make or break a good idea in the marketplace. Depending how well funded the operation is will dictate design changes.

        Reply
  27. Mangosman

    Mike, I agree about the wingers.
    I disagree with your comment about DAB+. It is transmitted between 174 – 230 MHz using a 1.5 MHz bandwidth. Your SDR board currently only tunes up to 30 MHz. As a result to get good performance some additional inductor/capacitor filtering will have to be installed and be tunable in the Band 3 frequency range. This is physical hardware not an app. DRM+ would also require the same hardware but tuned for 54 – 72, 76 – 88 MHz if it was to be aimed at the North, Central and South American market. The FCC has made no comment on the use of this band that I can find.
    For the USA posters, I did a search of the FCC for the words “Digital Radio Mondiale” which came up with only one result. https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-15-142A1.pdfapps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-15-142A1.pdf which shows why radio in the USA is in a shambles. There is no commitment to real digital radio as there was with the conversion to digital TV. HD radio whos signals use adjacent channels in an overcrowded market is a disaster. The recommendation to extend the FM band would require new FM receivers, so why not go to DRM+ where the transmission channels are a quarter of the width of the HD radio on FM and no overlapping channels. Then all radio both AM and FM can have the same coverage areas at the same quality.
    DAB+ digital radio is spreading all over Europe, but with the widespread use of TV channels 7 – 13 it is difficult to use it in the USA.
    So instead of having a go at Mike, do something constructive, pressure the FCC to giving all broadcasters an allocation of DRM+ for free for 10 years. Then radios will be build for this market.

    Reply
  28. mike

    I guess you guys have developed and designed all sort of products! Most have no idea what it takes. Perhaps you missed the SDR – Software Defined Receiver (we changed it from Radio). If you want DAB(+) add the app. If you want ritty decoder add it. We have changed what ‘radio’ is. Stay tuned with your negativity while the rest of us pass you by. If you have not figured out yet that Android is basically Linux and just about any Linux app can be ported over, then maybe reserve your comments until you learn some stuff.

    Sorry for the rant, its troubling trying to educate know-it-alls

    BTW, what would your IDEAL portable receiver look like? Remembering a worldwide market and not just your back yard.

    Reply
  29. Pingback: The Titus II Complete SDR Solution - rtl-sdr.com

  30. Harald Kuhl

    just received some more info regarding that new receiver; I have passed it on directly to Thomas.

    Out of it this info in advance: “The […] receiver is based on an Android tablet in a stereo radio format with one speaker each side of the central horizontal tablet.” price range: “under 100 dollars”

    Regards
    Harald
    DL1ABJ

    Reply
  31. Epitaxial

    Mangosman wrote:

    “The reason why there is no DRM broadcasts in the US is that your government has banned any domestic transmissions on HF in AM or DRM or anything else.”

    Banned is too strong a word. The US has not really banned domestic HF transmissions, it’s just that the transmissions must be directed outside the US and programs can’t be “solely intended for and directed to” US audiences. In actual practice of course we have domestic HF transmissions.

    The transmission directivity is regulated in the FCC’s paper examination of the station’s antennas — which can include US coverage but not be limited to it — and in the periodic frequency coordination it performs for these stations. The frequency requests are couched in terms of the location of the intended audience.

    As to the program content rule, to my knowledge that rule is not enforced nor is there monitoring to determine compliance with it. All a programmer would have to say is, “Oh it’s not just for the US” and there would be a burden for the government to prove otherwise.

    There is very little awareness of or interest in US HF broadcast stations among our national regulators. These old directivity and program rules could be removed if and when anyone mounts a competent effort to do so.

    Reply
    1. gh37

      > There is very little awareness of or interest in US HF broadcast stations among our national regulators.

      I would have to disagree. They are fully aware that low and medium-power domestic HF would create a new radio market, but cartels like ClearChannel which own > 1200 stations are opposed because it would be possible to compete with their national networks on a relatively small budget.

      > These old directivity and program rules could be removed if and when anyone mounts a competent effort to do so.

      Probably need some state-level legislation to protect the free markets there, just as some states have legalized cannabis in spite of the unconstitutional federal prohibition.

      Reply
  32. Edward

    It looks like a “what were they thinking” in the industrial design department moment. but it is better than others. I will keep an open mind, hope someone does a review on it. Take it around the block, to the beach etc. Maybe they should style it like a hammarlund or hallicrafters in smaller dimensions. Maybe have a graphical interface that looks retro. How about a software package that you design the front display to look like what you want it to look like?

    Reply
  33. Mangosman

    Orton,
    The reason why there is no DRM broadcasts in the US is that your government has banned any domestic transmissions on HF in AM or DRM or anything else. HDradio which is only used in the US a total of 10 transmitters in Canada/Mexico is not designed for HF. Voice of America is a government broadcaster in Greenville NC USA http://www.voanews.com/p/6212.html. HDradio in the US is a disaster when you design a system which uses both adjacent channels causing massive interference particularly in the MF (AM) band. What do you expect and added to that it is a proprietary system requiring broadcasters to pay a percentage of income yearly to use the system. Your broadcasters invested in the development of HD radio won’t even do a side by side comparison with DRM even when there was a recent trial of AM HD radio in pure digital mode.

    I am from Australia where we have been using DAB+ which is not proprietary for 7 years using 14 MHz in the VHF high band, with no overlapping frequencies. There is no need to mix back to analog as the data rate increases, because 50 kW effective radiating power is used along with on channel repeaters. You can’t do that with HD Radio.

    There is 4.4 MW of MF DRM in India covering 1,3000 million people, where as the USA only has 320 million.
    Avion was criticised in the USA. There are currently no DRM broadcasts aimed at the USA from anywhere.

    http://www.hfcc.org/drm/ note the 100 kW transmissions on the HF band.
    The USA could simulcast all existing AM and FM broadcasts on purely digital DRM+ in the virtually vacant TV channels 2 – 6. DRM+ channels are 100 kHz wide instead of the 400 kHz for FM HD radio. This would produce a level playing field for all broadcasters and stop paying DTS for HD Radio.

    My complaint about this receiver is that it will not decode DAB+ which is similar to DRM except for the frequency band, and its bandwidth. Our DAB+ transmitters transmit 19 programs from a single transmitter and DAB+ is in widespread use in the EEC which has over 500 million people.

    Don’t forget this receiver also receives SSB, FM and AM.

    Reply
    1. gh37

      > radio in the USA is in shambles; HDradio is a disaster…

      Yes, the FCC even admits it. The response from DRM group belongs on a giant billboard:

      “If Pai is truly a friend of broadcasters and the public interest, and seriously considers digitalization a viable option for AM, he should open the inquiry to alternatives to HD Radio, such as Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM).”

      http://www.drm-brasil.org/en/content/drm-gets-public-support-usa-am-band-trials-amid-hd-radio-failure-am

      > HD Radio a proprietary system requiring broadcasters to pay a percentage of income yearly to use the system

      The U.S. government has been hijacked by corporate crime syndicates which bribe politicians to protect their monopolies. It’s called a protection racket: federal agents work for corporations at the taxpayer’s expense. The citizens are financing their own slavery. The FCC does not represent the public interest and the regulatory protection of monopolies needs to stop.

      > Why not go to DRM+ where the transmission channels are a quarter of the width of the HD radio on FM and no overlapping channels. Then all radio both AM and FM can have the same coverage areas at the same quality.

      Yes, they should only license new stations to transmit in pure DRM. No more analog / IBOC. Cheap SDR’s will make this policy practical. People should not buy a new car radio unless it is based on an SDR platform. We need a public awareness campaign to educate the masses about the benefits of DRM & SDR.

      > US government has banned domestic transmissions on HF in AM or DRM or anything else.

      This federal ban on domestic HF broadcasting is like an employee giving orders to his boss: they have no authority. The powers not delegated to the United States [federal government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. (10th amendment). This government was designed as a federation but it has become a dictatorship. Even so, DRM is allowed and some domestic HF coverage does exist:

      FCC rule 73.758 permits DRM
      http://shortwave.org/DRMUSA/

      http://www.wbcq.com/propagation/2013-01-7490-01.png
      http://www.wavecatcher.us/ShortwaveLinks.html

      https://drmnainfo.blogspot.com/
      alokeshgupta.blogspot.in/search/label/Digital%20Radio%20Mondiale

      Reply
  34. Epitaxial

    It was long believed that lack of receivers was the obstacle to success of HF DRM. The DRM consortium spent years working this problem.

    The group was unable to convince broadcasters to invest in upgrading their HF plant to DRM or even to continue their HF operations; or major manufacturing brands to come out with DRM receivers. Only a handful of complex, poorly marketed receivers arrived from small and unknown sources.

    The possibility of 26 MHz domestic DRM in the U.S. was intriguing for a while, but the passage of the Local Community Radio Act made that unnecessary. Now more than 1500 Low Power FM stations are on the air in the U.S.

    If DRM is to be of use, it is in domestic radio to cover large rural areas, but this receiver looks to be too complicated and expensive for that.

    The future of international HF should be data transmission, not voice and music, but most public media agencies no longer consider themselves over-the-air radio broadcasters.

    Either a new generation of lower-power (<50 kW), private HF broadcast stations needs to emerge — like Channel 292 and KBC — or the HF allocations to the Amateur Radio Service should be expanded for lack of other use.

    Reply
    1. gh37

      > It was long believed that lack of receivers was the obstacle to success of HF DRM.

      It is the truth. If there were a billion DRM receivers, there would be many DRM broadcasters.

      > the passage of the Local Community Radio Act made that unnecessary

      This is a question of who gets to define the word “unnecessary.” Low power FM does NOT represent an alternative to subscription digital satellite radio. But domestic HF with DRM could provide some much needed competition. Most people want digital radio but they will not pay for it. ‘HD’ Radio & digital satellite have reached saturation: everyone who wants it already has it. Now its time to create an authentic free market. If the FCC wont do it, states should do it themselves.

      > If DRM is to be of use, it is in domestic radio to cover large rural areas

      YES YES YES !

      > but this receiver looks to be too complicated and expensive for that

      Sure the cost of receivers needs to come down a bit more. But Android user interface too complicated?! About 2/3 of U.S. population disagrees, and uses it every day!

      > a new generation of lower-power (<50 kW), private HF broadcast stations needs to emerge

      Absolutely. The greatest obstacle to the success of domestic US DRM is politics, not technology or economics. At the very least, Ibiquity should have to pay much bigger bribes to FCC & congress to continue blocking free markets!

      Reply
  35. Cap

    Call me cynical but this looks like an android tablet + rtl-sdr dongle + speakers in a case.
    I am a big supporter of DRM, even although its days are more than likely numbered (on shortwave at least). Only India has any broadcasts that I can reliably listen to (and RRI) and unfortunately and they are a massive fail for DRM as they are squeezing two channels into the one DRM broadcast which results in junk audio. Maybe ticks a box for AIR coverage to the domestic audience but not for anyone else (TBF that is AIR’s aim).
    RRI puts out a decent DRM signal in terms of power and audio quality and is probably the only broadcaster who, in my mind ‘gets DRM’ although they should be using Journaline et al. as the whole point in introducing a new broadcast format is to bring something new to the table. You need to bring superior audio quality as a minimum, only the BBC/DW ever really utilised DRM properly.
    MFSK32 probably has more broadcasts than DRM now, although not as technically advanced/fast as DRM but has the added advantage of broadcasters just adding a file to their playout system and bingo digital broadcaster without any changes to their infrastructure. OK, it can’t handle audio but so what, we live in the digital information age where data is king!

    Reply
    1. gh37

      > Call me cynical but this looks like an android tablet + rtl-sdr dongle + speakers in a case.

      And what is wrong with that? It does more than other receivers for a lower price! Wont be long before you see SDR dongles in bare form, with just a power supply and a bluetooth link, so any phone or tablet can control it. Dirt cheap receivers are precisely what DRM needs at this point.

      Reply
  36. Tudor Vedeanu

    It looks as weird and ugly as the other DRM receivers before it.
    The only thing that would make it awesome would be to have a full-featured SDR inside, controllable using that big screen.

    Reply
    1. gh37

      > The only thing that would make it awesome would be to have a full-featured SDR inside, controllable using that big screen.

      That’s what it is!

      Reply
  37. Keith Perron

    Just waiting to get out hand on this one for a review for MNP. In the last few years we have reviewed the Newstar DR111 and the Avion DRM receiver from India. Both were rubbish.

    When will people just stop the promotion of DRM. It’s time has passed. The only broadcaster using DRM in a way it’s meant is Radio New Zealand International that use it to feed it’s FM relays in the Pacific.

    DRM – Doesn’t Really Matter

    Reply
  38. Orton

    First of all, there are no specs at all. No idea of price. The case looks like a 5 year olds cheap game box. But, most important of all – there are few, in any DRM stations in the US. And only a tiny number of people even listen to HF here. The whole,idea of DRM seems to be a solution in search of a problem. Why waste time and money – especially in the US on a product that is extremely unlikely to ever have a market here. Even in other countries, fewer and fewer HF broadcast stations are on the air. Maybe 25 years ago DRM would have been a solution to band crowding. The solution is called the Internet, where you can hear and see everything. As a ham radio operator I enjoy HF for communications between hams. But would I spend money to buy an item for which there is no real market? Not on your life.

    Reply
    1. Dennis Nilsson

      ” The solution is called the Internet, where you can hear and see everything. ”

      Only around 40% of the world population has an internet connection today.
      http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/

      For the other 60% of the world population, broadcast radio/TV and newspapper is usually the only way to get information.

      I t seems that Titus II is a very good solution, to recieve whatever radio broadcast.

      Reply
    2. gh37

      > DRM seems to be a solution in search of a problem.

      Most people will not listen to analog shortwave because of the poor sound quality. DRM will rejuvenate the HF broadcast market by attracting millions of new listeners. Digital TV is a success because governments forced the conversion. If this had not occurred, you would call that digital system another ‘solution in search of a problem. Perhaps we should deploy DRM with NVIS on 75 & 41 meters, ha ha!

      > would I spend money to buy an item for which there is no real market?

      People don’t spend money because they like markets: they spend money if they want to hear DRM broadcasts:

      http://www.hfcc.org/drm
      http://www.baseportal.com/baseportal/drmdx/main
      http://www.wavecatcher.us/DRM.html

      If you do not like those stations, do not buy the receiver. Either way, the price of digital receivers will continue to decrease, and digital transmitters will be constructed or converted. The transition to digital may be slow, but it will occur whether you like it or not… so just quit whining and lead, follow or get out of the way.

      Reply

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