DAB switchover needs urgent review says Government

  dms_05 15:49 PM 14 Sep 10
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A report out later today prepared for the government blasts the radio industry and government for "scaring" consumers into an unrealistic timetable for digital radio switchover, and recommends both an urgent and impartial examination of DAB costs and benefits, and new criteria for a digital switchover. Read the full article click here

The article goes on to say the cost of staying with FM rather than moving to DAB is the same for the broadcasters however the consumer will have to spend some £5 billion buying new expensive DAB radios. In fact DAB sets are so expensive they expect listeners to downgrade to cheap DAB sets and so loose claimed benefits of better audio from DAB.

As the article says the move to DAB has been driven by radio industry players who have a vested interest in making it compulsory for consumers to find the £5 billion to continue listening to any radio.

  morddwyd 19:55 PM 14 Sep 10

"consumer will have to spend some £5 billion buying new expensive DAB radios."

Tesco have been selling a DAB radio for under £15.

If that's the government's idea of expensive we're definitely going to lose those two aircraft carriers!

  dms_05 07:08 AM 15 Sep 10

Tesco selling at £15 - but that is very much the exception and the audio quality of the £15 DAB set is poor (and lots of DAB facilities are missing) that it supports the point that people with good FM sets will downgrade to poor DAB sets.

In a time of massive austerity it seems odd that the government is about to make the population spend £5 billion on a product that offers such debatable advantages.

  morddwyd 10:06 AM 15 Sep 10

"such debatable advantages."

Depends who's doing the debating.

The freed up FM frequencies can be sold on at fairly high prices to boost government finances.

That's a definite advantage, to say nothing of injecting £5 billion into the retail market.

  dms_05 11:05 AM 15 Sep 10

First - the FM frequencies aren't to be sold, they are to be retained for 'local use' as community radio. So no golden egg for the Exchequer.

Second - every single DAB radio will be made in China and so we will be forcing the British public to contribute to a further increase in our negative trade balance with China, this time by another £5 billion.

If you ask (and no one ever has done so) would the public like DAB radio or an additional £5 billion spending on hospitals or schools then the answer would be interesting.

We are to be forced to spend significant money on a project that appears to have marginal advantages during a period when the average family is having severe strains put upon their budgets.

  morddwyd 12:16 PM 15 Sep 10

If you think that the cost of a DAB radio, bought in the UK, to the tune of £5 billion, will end up in China you know little of retail mark ups, and economics.

  dms_05 12:46 PM 15 Sep 10

If we spent the money on UK infrastructure and UK services it would serve UK employment and the people of this country better. The alternative is keeping large numbers of Chinese in employment as all DAB radios will be made in China.

  imarcus2 13:54 PM 16 Sep 10

I have an excellent FM HiFi set up, and it gives a superb reproduction off FM radio (and of course CDs etc.)

we upgraded the kitchen radio a couple of years back to a DAB set by Roberts -- cost us about £110 I seem to remember. No, I know it is not a HiFi machine, its piddling little speakers are about as awful as I expected, but with a pair of HiFi headphones, I can say that the sound quality isn't nearly as good as that on the FM source.

I'm a critical music listner, and I'm adding my voice to those protesting against the threat of a forced FM to DAB switch.

  sarahg123 18:55 PM 16 Sep 10

Lets not forget it was the previous Government that signed us up for this and they are the one's that got us into this financial mess in the first place, encouraging everyone to spend beyond their means, so it makes sense they would want us to keep the economy going by continuing to spend our hard earned cash on lower quality. Lets face it digital TV packs up and freezes at the slightest whiff of a thunderstorm and I expect radio will do the same. This decision was good for Labour and the media industry and bad for the public.

  john bunyan 19:10 PM 16 Sep 10

I completely agree with imarcus . FM quality is fine, I believe better than DAB. Also I keep cars for a long time and one I have had for 3 years has a radio / GPS that is FM.Digital TV is fine, but IMHO a waste of time for radio. The uptake of the minority DAB stations is very small.
Cancel the roll out.

  morddwyd 07:25 AM 17 Sep 10

"FM quality is fine,"

It is if you can get it.

I have (or had, until internet radio became a viable option) a choice between DAB or AM.

No contest.

DAB brings mainstream, as well as a bigger range of specialist stations, to a much greater number of people.

The quality may be down for serious listeners, particularly music, (who are probably even more of a minority than "the uptake of the minority DAB stations") but it's hardly noticeable on the small transportable sets used for most people's background listening.

It is at least of the same standard as the average mp3 player which seems to be music medium of choice for the majority.

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