Until now, analog AM/FM radio signals broadcast by Canada's radio stations have been subject to numerous kinds of interference on their way from the transmitter to your radio. These problems are caused by high terrain, , buildings, local electrical interference, as well as atmospheric and weather conditions.
Digital Radio Broadcasting (DRB ), however, uses the most modern methods of radio transmission to produce a much more robust signal that can get around most of these reception problems. DRB is broadcast via local transmitters in each community, just like AM and FM radio. Listeners are able to access these services using special new receivers. CD-like quality radio programs can be received, even in moving vehicles, without any annoying interference and signal distortion.
Aside from improved technical quality, DRB also offers further advantages as it has been designed for the multimedia age. DRB can carry not only audio, but also text, pictures, data and even videos - all on radio! Listeners can hear their favourite music programs and receive related video and text information all at the same time on suitably-equipped radios, personal media devices, computers or even cellphones..
In Canada, "new-band" DRB radio services utilizing the Eureka 147 world-wide transmission standard have been implemented in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa. Local listeners with DRB receivers capable of tuning "L-Band" spectrum from 1452-1492 MHz can pick up these signals free of charge . At present, the programming services in these four cities consist of simulcasts of local CBC and private AM and FM radio stations, only in much higher quality.
The establishment of additional DRB stations across Canada awaits the conclusion of a federal government radio spectrum review that will determine where and when other L-Band radio frequencies for DRB services will be made available. This review is expected to commence in 2009 and may carry over into 2010. In view of this, further DRB implementations by broadcasters are on hold, making suitable receivers hard to find in Canada. Although many such receivers are available in Europe, the UK and Australia, anyone importing such a device should ensure that it is capable of tuning to the L-Band frequency band mentioned previously.
The DRB transmission system currently used in Canada is not technically compatible with the "in-band" HD RadioTM technology being implemented by some US AM and FM radio stations. At present, no Canadian stations are transmitting digital signals using HD Radio TM technology; however, this may change should the US system be found capable of meeting part of Canada's future DRB needs. Broadcasters wishing to experiment with HD RadioTM in the FM band are now able to apply for technical authorizations by following the procedures specified by Industry Canada at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf08825.html. Separate CRTC approvals may also be required for such operations.
HD RadioTM in the AM band is not being contemplated for use in Canada. This is primarily due to its high potential for creating unacceptable interference to existing AM stations at night.
Short-wave radio broadcasting is not deployed extensively in Canada , other than by Radio-Canada International (RCI) which has implemented some digital transmissions using DRM technology.