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Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?

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Andy Clough's picture
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There's much debate following today's release of the latest audience figures about the viability of the Government's plan for the switchover to digital radio to be completed by 2015.

Have you made the switch yet? Do you listen to digital radio? Is DAB all it's cracked up to be? Let us know what you think.

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mikegtar's picture
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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?

I've got a PURE DAB radio in the kitchen which I listen to whilst cooking my baked beans and a Bose Wave music system with DAB in the bedroom which sends me to sleep every night.

My two hifi tuners are FM as is my micro system and the radio in my MP3 player.

The sound quality of the DAB stations on my PURE and Bose systems is fine. I tried comparing Classic FM on the Bose with FM and DAB signals and couldn't really tell them apart. On a more revealing system I guess the difference would be more striking from what I've read, so I wouldn't rush out and buy a DAB hifi tuner.

The benefit that I've found with DAB is that the Talk Sport and BBC World Service stations are clearer than on AM and also that Jazz FM isn't actually on FM anymore - it should be called Jazz Digital now I think.

I don't want to have to change my hifi tuners for inferior sounding DAB ones, so the longer FM continues to transmit the better from my point of view.

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chebby's picture
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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?

I have a Pure Evoke Flow in the kitchen and we use FM most of the time and our youngest daughter uses internet radio on it sometimes.

DAB reception is lousy in every room despite FM and TV reception being excellent. (All from the same transmitter.)

We also have a DAB/FM Pure Evoke bedroom radio tuned into FM all the time. 

For the main system I would rather use FM (and Freeview & internet radio for stations I can't get on FM and iPlayer for stuff I have missed.)

I would not use DAB even if they switched off FM. Don't want it, don't need it.

I have heard DAB vs FM from a good (Denon) tuner plugged into a roof aerial and playing through a decent hifi and the DAB is gutless. On speech/drama the surrounding background 'acoustic' is flat whereas with FM there is a tanglible sense of 'space' around performers.

Let's see how many DAB radios would sell if they did not have FM (or internet radio) built in too.  

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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?

I can't see 20 million plus car drivers all changing over to Dab, and I don't know of any car manufacturers actually fitting Dab as standard yet.


I don't have a Dab at home so in all fairness I cannot compare to FM, but I am happy with FM.


Seems an arwful waste to scrap all those radios for Dab when we are supposed to be exploring ways of cutting down on the use of the Earths resources.

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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?

All,


I have two DAB radios in the house, one in the office which is always tuned to Classic FM on FM, one in the bedroom that also is tuned to FM Radio 2, with aheart warming change (sic) to Gold on DAB occassionally.


I've been an early adopter of DAB (some 4-5 years ago, very early days) don't think it has come very far, and apart from choice of channels, it is still someway off comingclose to an FM broadcast for feel.


Don't like them at all..................but feel I should somehow


 

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Diamond Joe's picture
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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?

Did you know there's a petition on the No.10 Science, technology and innovation website to stop the switch off? Only 115 signatures at the mo. Get signing. If you're bothered.

 I can't see it happening in the next 5 years.

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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?
laserman16:

I can't see 20 million plus car drivers all changing over to Dab, and I don't know of any car manufacturers actually fitting Dab as standard yet.


I don't have a Dab at home so in all fairness I cannot compare to FM, but I am happy with FM.


Seems an arwful waste to scrap all those radios for Dab when we are supposed to be exploring ways of cutting down on the use of the Earths resources.


I am just looking at buying a new Mondeo and they seem to be fitting a Sony DAB radio as standard. The radio option for a Vauxhall Insignia is also DAB. I imagine they are not the only ones.

I use my DAB all the time, I listen to Radio 7 (DAB only) Radio 5 (much better than AM) Radio 5 Sports Extra (DAB only) and Planet Rock (DAB only) as well as Radio 4 which sounds fine. I never use FM. 2015 may be too early, but as DAB gets cheaper and it is fitted in cars as standard, the 50% is only a matter of time.

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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?
hammill:
I am just looking at buying a new Mondeo and they seem to be fitting a Sony DAB radio as standard. The radio option for a Vauxhall Insignia is also DAB. I imagine they are not the only ones.

A Sony single-CD/DAB system seems to be a £300 option on Mondeo Edge, Zetec and basic ECOnetic models, but yes a six-discer with DAB is standard above that.

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laserman16's picture
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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?

My Daughter has just had a new car and AFAIK dab radio wasn't an option on it. Admittedly it was not a Mondeo but a bit further down the range.


Given that the change over is supposed to be 5 years away and the average life span of a car is about 10 years perhaps they ought to be being fitted as standard now.

hammill's picture
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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?
laserman16:

My Daughter has just had a new car and AFAIK dab radio wasn't an option on it. Admittedly it was not a Mondeo but a bit further down the range.


Given that the change over is supposed to be 5 years away and the average life span of a car is about 10 years perhaps they ought to be being fitted as standard now.

I quite agree. Given the difference in cost and the impending change over, it seems ridiculous not to fit DAB as standard.
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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?
Diamond Joe:

Did you know there's a petition on the No.10 Science, technology and innovation website to stop the switch off? Only 115 signatures at the mo. Get signing. If you're bothered.

 I can't see it happening in the next 5 years.




Thanks for the heads up about the petition. I've now duly signed. http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/VHFvsDAB/

What a wonderful sense of empowerment!

Hope that the PM likes FM too.
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chebby's picture
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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?

There was a petition last year

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/AM-FM-Radio/

4583 'signatures' and now closed.

 

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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?

I had an Arcam Alpha 10 DAB tuner (bought way back in April 2000) and the sound quality from the BBC nationals back then was excellent (192 kb/s). After the BBC added their new stations and slashed the bitrates there was a noticeable drop in quality, and I was not best pleased. Coupled with the gradual decline in quality and then Digital One dropping stations like flies I ebayed it last year as I just didn't use it any more.

 I don't think that the main nationals will switch to digital-only in 2015, 2020 seems more viable, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's later than that. The DAB system just isn't good enough as a replacement.By the time that it is, internet/wi-fi/mobile broadband will be the dominant digital platform, and DAB may die a slow and painful death.

Even when switchover does happen, the FM band will still be used by local and community stations. If these are run by people that care about quality and content then perhaps we will see some very interesting programming on these stations, who knows?

Andy Clough's picture
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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?

Was listening to my (very good) FM radio in the kitchen earlier, which replaced a DAB one which had terrible reception - the signal would constantly drop in and out. And I only live 12 miles from central London.

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Andrew Everard's picture
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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?

Reasons for DAB:

5Live (but only on Saturdays 09.00-11.00)
BBC7

Erm, that's it...

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Re: Digital radio: is switchover by 2015 still viable?

I got to say that I'm hoping the government don't switch off FM, as it can sound very good indeed.  DAB to me seems tinny in comparison, so fingers crossed, as per usual, they do a bad job of the change over, and keep FM going for quite a number of years Smile

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