New products from Digigram and Netia at NAB Show

As the NAB Show approaches in the USA, companies are releasing significant announcements in the lead up to the conference. 

Digigram and NETIA have both announced new products.

Digigram specialises in enabling the reliable capture, production, and delivery of high-quality audio and video over IP networks. Today they announced the release of a new Network Time Protocol (NTP) feature for the company’s IQOYA *LINK, IQOYA *LINK/LE, and IQOYA *SERV/LINK IP audio codecs.

Facilitating audio synchronization via an NTP server, this feature allows radio broadcasters to assure a seamless audio experience for on-the-go listeners receiving signals from a series of different transmitters in a multiple-frequency FM network and to resolve the audio delay caused when adjacent transmitters receive signals from different sources, such as satellite and terrestrial IP links. 

“Enhanced with the ability to synchronize audio based on NTP servers, the IQOYA line offers an elegant solution for a critical issue that can adversely affect the listening experience,” said Stéphane Bert, IP audio distribution product manager at Digigram. “Without relying on additional hardware, these IP audio codecs reduce the audio delay between two contiguous transmitters to as little as 20 milliseconds on a WAN and fewer than five milliseconds on a LAN. Guaranteeing constant delay, the systems allow broadcasters to compensate for delay and eliminate awkward gaps in audio.”

Installed across transmitter sites, Digigram IQOYA IP audio codecs ensure that when a radio program is transmitted using several FM transmitters in a multiple-frequency network (MFN), in which all transmitters use different frequencies, the audio delay between two contiguous transmitters remains small and constant. This prevents undesired audio effects for a person in a car listening to an FM receiver that switches from one transmitter to another. 

When a transmitter site receives an audio program through a terrestrial IP network and a contiguous transmitter site receives the same audio program through satellite, the IQOYA products can significantly reduce the audio delay — sometimes as long as one second — between these two transmitters.

Each IQOYA unit can be upgraded via a simple firmware update to activate the optional NTP feature, which slaves the codec’s sample frequency to the clock reference given by the NTP server. The Digigram encoder can then make the associated decoder play out the audio at the same presentation time. Playback on the decoder can be delayed up to two seconds for unframed audio formats (PCM, Eapt-X) and six seconds for framed audio formats (MPEG layer 2 and 3, AAC). The smart synchronization on the incoming IP audio stream ensures a constant delay between the decoder and the encoder.

NETIA provides content management solutions to major radio and television brands and to multimedia groups around the world.

NETIA today announced that it is sponsoring work by Archives du Monde to digitize the archives of Togo’s Radio Kara and to train the broadcaster’s technicians in managing and maintaining this archive independently. Archives du Monde is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping radio broadcasters worldwide digitize and preserve their audio archives, and NETIA’s support and the company’s Radio-Assist™ digital audio automation software play a key role in this work.

Founded in 1976, Radio Kara is the second public radio broadcaster operating in the northern part of Togo. The facility has thousands of hours of audio stored on magnetic tape, and the gradual deterioration of this archive, mainly due to climatic conditions, requires urgent intervention. These archives represent a unique historical and cultural heritage, including programs on Togolese culture (music, stories, poems), politics, economy, and society.

“Radio Kara’s tape archive is a national treasure that excites the imagination with glimpses into the country’s rich past,” said Elisabeth Clémentin, project manager at Archives du Monde. “A significant part of Togo’s audio heritage is stored in this collection, and the creation of a digital archive will benefit all who appreciate African history and culture.”

The goal of Archives du Monde is to protect radio archives by facilitating implementation of a lasting and reliable digital audio archive solution that not only helps to preserve the region’s cultural assets, but also provides a valuable tool in everyday broadcast operations going forward. In addition to planning and executing the Radio-Assist installation, Archives du Monde will provide Radio Kara’s technical staff with the training needed to become self-sufficient. Ultimately, this project will enable Radio Kara to build a growing archive and make it available to the public via a digital catalog, populated with audio clips that highlight Togo’s history and cultural heritage.

NETIA and Archives du Monde are long-time partners. In the past, with NETIA’s support, the charity digitized the tape-based audio library of Radio Lome in Togo. The project was a success, with more than 2,500 hours of audio content digitized.

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