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DAB switchover needs urgent review says Government


dms_05

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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.

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john bunyan

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My main problem with DAB radio is the increased energy requirement both to transmit and recieve it, as well as the cost of replacing (particularly built in car) radios. I would love to know the cost difference between extending good FM to areas like yours versus the total cost of a countywide DAB radio coverage, and the difference in total energy cost of the two systems. Maybe a good old British compromise could be found so as to keep FM for the existing channels.

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dms_05

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The move to Digital TV was an obvious improvement that delivered many more stations than was possible with old analogue TV. It also allowed the interactive services and HD. It was expensive for the providers and the viewers but the number of WS TV's sold indicates people were willing to invest heavily in something they saw giving them a better experience and more choice. None of that applies to DAB which at best will duplicate existing FM stations and as most radio listening today is done in-car then why do you need interactive facilities?

Elsewhere in Europe many countries (France and Germany for example) have abandoned their initial DAB roll out plans as consumer reaction has been so poor and mainly negative. At least they are in touch with the potential listeners whereas the UK continues to steam roller its way ahead ignoring the barrage of apathy towards DAB.

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morddwyd

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I agree that in car DAB is lagging behind fixed receivers (though I didn't know DAB was interactive, I just turn it on and listen!).

While signal following is good, better than FM in my general area (East Central Scotland, Tayside and Highland Perthshire) for all the national stations, as yet I have not found one that has the traffic news breakthrough facility that FM has.

However, I do find that in the car I listen to DAB more than anything else, and at home I use internet radio.

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onionskin

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But... DAB does have Planet Rock and The Arrow, music stations that actually play music and not babbling DJs.

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dms_05

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morddwyd - one oft quoted aim of the BBC was to introduce interactive radio and DAB was their preferred route. As of this time no interactive services exist (for the listener) and it would seem strange to have that facility available in-car (safety concerns about listeners operation of the interactive service whilst driving).

RDS (Radio Data System) is only available on FM (it's actually a method of implanting small amounts of Digital information into FM) so don't expect it on DAB.

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morddwyd

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"RDS (Radio Data System) is only available on FM"

Yes but the DAB equivalent is far superior, giving not only station details, but current track, album and artist, even the CD number in some cases. Also, depending on station, rolling news and weather.

Obviously dangerous in a car if you leave it switched on, but for a static receiver a very good facility, as is pause, instant record and rewind, like a pvr.

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the hick

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Does anyone know if mainland Europe is moving toward DAB broadcasting, or is it solely the UK?
On a slightly different point, when on holiday in France, I have noticed they seem to have more choice of FM stations than in UK - one for news, and one each for classical, blues or jazz music. Would welcome that here.

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onionskin

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I see from the PC Advisor review of the new Panasonic SC-HC30DB mini HIFI click here that it comes with the new DAB+.

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morddwyd

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Much as I use DAB, I would not describe it, even at its best, as HiFi, nor mp3 come to that.

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dms_05

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the_hick
One of the problems with DAB in the UK is it was the first version introduced anywhere in Europe (the BBC essentially invented DAB) and as is often the case the people coming along a little later have an improved version (called DAB+). So the UK DAB lacks some of the sophistication of later versions used in most other EU countries. We are promised UK sets will be able to receive DAB+ but we will only have the DAB version with poorer audio codecs. In any case many countries in the EU are having second thoughts about DAB and are saying it's very expensive to introduce and offers few advantages over FM which has been totally reliable for over 50 years and has all the bugs solved. Can you imagine having to have to install an external antenna, as many will for DAB, to 'improve' on the ability of FM to be receivable in difficult areas which cover large areas of the UK (and these aren't remote rural areas but often in large urban districts).

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