GatesAir, a Thomson Broadcast subsidiary dedicated to wireless content delivery, enters its second century in business with new over-the-air broadcast innovations on the horizon for NAB Show 2023. The second generation of GatesAir’s Maxiva MultiD series of multichannel DAB/DAB+ radio transmitters is first out of the gate, with new benefits such as improved power and bandwidth management, connectivity, and monitoring and control functionality. GatesAir will demonstrate the second-generation MultiD series at Stand W2833, where GatesAir and Thomson will co-exhibit for the first time.
The MultiD Series comes from the clever engineering minds of the GatesAir Europe team, which developed the series to reduce the costs and infrastructure of per-site multichannel DAB broadcasting. The original MultiD system integrates three separate transmitters within a single 1RU chassis, instead of requiring a separate transmitter for each channel plus an external combiner and auxiliary hardware. In addition to exceptional space savings, MultiD introduced new efficiencies to DAB broadcasters through independent service inputs and signal processing engines, and a single modulator for three DAB radio services within a single channel band (10A, 10B and 10C, for example).
These and other benefits, including adjustable RF power for each transmitter, carry over to second-generation MultiD systems with improvements. The new MultiD system design adds capacity for a fourth DAB service, and removes the limitations of broadcasting all services within a single DAB channel band. This means that MultiD customers can now broadcast four independent DAB radio services across separate channels (such as 10A, 10B, 11A and 11B). This is useful for broadcasters that were not allocated all licenses within a certain channel, for example.
According to Ted Lantz, Vice President, Product Line Management, GatesAir, “Our second-generation MultiD system substantially increases overall bandwidth, allowing room for additional services while extending our frequency spread between the lowest and highest channel in any MultiD system.”
Power output per channel can also now be built to each customer’s specifications. The original MultiD system capped at 150 W, which limited users three DAB services at 50 Watts apiece. The new modular design establishes an entirely new playbook: For example, DAB broadcasters can now order a 1.5 kW MultiD system to support three 500 W services, or a 1.2 kW system to support four 300 W services. It is also possible to establish varied power levels across different DAB services. MultiD systems are now configurable to serve virtually any combination of power levels for up to four DAB services. The ability to divide system capacity is also useful for MultiD systems that share different tenants – a common occurrence in road tunnels where broadcasters can effectively consolidate resources to ensure consistent coverage of their most important broadcasts.
MultiD’s multicarrier architecture provides the same high-efficiency benefits even when supporting more than one tenant or broadcasting across more than one DAB channel. That includes a sizeable footprint reduction by removing the need for external RF combining. MultiD internally combines low-level RF signals, and then generates and re-transmits all independent DAB services through a single amplifier. The streamlined architecture requires only a single band-pass filter and RF antenna connector for transmission to listeners.
The architecture can be further streamlined through advanced IP networking capabilities and single-cable connections. The new MultiD system designs incorporate four separate EDI inputs for IP contribution and distribution. Users can select between IP-based (EDI) and legacy (ETI) connections, providing flexibility to transport signals using both IP and microwave connections. GatesAir has also added a secure HTML5 user interface to remotely monitor and analyze signal health and performance from any browser.
Lantz notes that the updated MultiD system design retains the same energy efficiency of the original version, which includes high-efficiency broadband amplifiers.
“Even when supporting four DAB services, the MultiD design only requires a single modulator,” said Lantz. “That means we are splitting the energy use and power consumption of a single modulator across all channels, and substantially reducing that consumption per channel. There is an enormous efficiency advantage with MultiD systems when it comes to reducing cost, footprint and maintenance.”