Manufacturers of DAB receivers are set to benefit from lower costs as a result of the expiry of the patents related to the DAB family of standards – generally referred to as the Philips patent pool.
For manufacturers, this is important news as the patents expire in some of the largest potential target markets for the DAB family of standards – France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
For manufacturers and potentially consumers, this means lower priced receivers on the market. The actual saving will depend on the total number of devices shipped by each manufacturer, with the normal cost saving range spreading from €2.50 for low-volume manufacturers, down to €1.50 for larger manufacturers such as Pure.
From January 18, any shipments into countries where the patents have expired are no longer liable for the royalty payment. With standard retail multipliers, that could mean that the price of entry-level devices will reduce by approximately €5. Furthermore, this means that the price barrier to integrating the DAB family of standards into devices as default is lower as, similar to FM in the past, DAB becomes a free-to-integrate technology.
The patents are the intellectual property of various companies within a pool which is administered by Philips. The last ‘original’ DAB patent will expire at different times in different countries. For example by mid-August 2012 the original patent had already expired in Australia, Denmark, The Netherlands and a few other countries.
The DAB+ royalty that is specifically for HE-AACv2 (paid to VIA Licensing) needs to be paid only once, so if a manufacturer has an Internet radio product that needs HE-AAC to handle IP streams, then that will also cover DAB+.
More than 500 million people worldwide are within range of a DAB/DAB+/DMB Digital Radio transmitter, there are well over 1,000 services on air and several hundred varieties of receivers are available to market.