please empty your brain below

I just upgraded my clock radio to DAB last week, and sold my old analogue clock radio in ebay for 99p plus extortionate postage. I feel as though I have done my bit

What of DAB+?
With Sweden turning off DAB and joining Denmark in rolling out DAB+ the radio part of the Digital Britain document looks as though it is avoiding the subject. Basic DAB is inefficient and some people notice the poor sound quality and lack of robustness. The majority of DAB radios sold in the UK do not have the capability to support or be upgraded to DAB+ and this is a ticking WEEE timebomb. If you buy one of these radios you're not making the best use of the resources it has consumed.
Digital radio has a future, but it's not the 1st gen DAB that we have in Digital Britain.

The report has references to DAB+. It is not obvious to me whether DAB is a reference to DAB in all its forms or the original DAB standard. It's a bit like ADSL/ADSL2+. When people mention ADSL they don't usually specifically mean the original ADSL standard.

Is analogue broken? - is it so faulty it has to be thrown away? I don't want more choice on radio - the vast majority of the stuff broadcast is complete tosh anyway. I have three DAB enabled pieces of equipment but it is the minuscule tranny in the kitchen that gets listened to. The batteries last ages and I can take it most places without loss of functionality.

Something they don't seem to mention is that receiving a digital signal uses more energy. Implications for both the environment and mobile battery life. What with this and the broadband levy - they're just so in thrall to the latest whizzy new thing. Presumably they will then sell off all the FM frequencies - but who will want them and what for?

The report says that the plan is to work towards getting manufacturers to sell radios that support DAB+ and DMB. There's no timeframe given for when it is hoped that this will happen. Wishy washy stuff.
If you go into a shop today to buy a DAB+ capable radio you might find the selection is limited. Meanwhile, new stations may be licenced to start up using DAB+ creating a situation similar to when DAB started here where nobody can listen.

After about 10 years of government working with car manufacturers to get DAB radios into cars this year I've started seeing ads for cars with DAB as standard, though it wasn't in the new car that I bought in January.

I heard this news listening to my wind up radio, sitting outside in the garden. I have a DAB radio in the kitchen, but like most radio listeners (and readers here, it seems) I also have about 19 other radios, none of which are DAB. And my DAB radio has to fall back to FM half the time as we don't get great reception. This sounds like a solution in search of a problem: those bastards, the public, aren't listening on digital enough so, damnit, we're going to make them listen on digital. Bah.

I can take a handful of fairly common parts, apply some thought and some solder and have a working radio in an hour or two. There is no way to easily build a DAB set at home.

I realise I'm part of a vanishingly small percentage of people that build their own radios, but I know I shall be annoyed if I have to give up and spend some cash on a plastic box from China instead.'s going to take a further *six years* to upgrade to the purely interim technology of DAB?! By that point, if Project Canvas and suchlike goes ahead, broadcast television may already be largely delivered via IP. Can't we just hurry up with universal broadband and the 'broadband-as-a-utility' mentality so that radio, with its much reduced bandwidth requirement, can join the party?

Turn the flipping thing off !!!!!

Silence is golden.....

I can't get good reception (if any) on my DAB now (although I used to), I just don't listen to it anymore, just listening to radio in the car or at work (FM). That's with me on the edge of London, so God knows how anyone else gets it. Like DG I don't turn my TV on for the radio, I want to be able to listen to it in the bath and the TV isn't really convenient! DAB has a long way to go before I will be happy to pay out for anymore new DAB products

Can anyone explain what was wrong with FM in the first place?

Can anyone explain what was wrong with FM in the first place?

I suspect it takes up too much bandwidth - but I seem to recall when they were talking about digital TV the question came up then and we were assured that the bandwidth taken up by FM radio is insignificant and that it would continue until at least 2020.

"Functionality" is NOT a proper word.

And what about medium and long wave?

functionality (noun)
the capacity that a thing, idea, etc has to be functional or practical.
(Chambers 21st century dictionary)

pedant (noun) derog
someone who is over-concerned with correctness of detail, especially in academic matters.
(Chambers 21st century dictionary)

I upgraded the kitchen radio to a DAB model and then found that any sort of reception is almost non existent, and this is in a London location.
Based upon some of the other comments above I can see signal strength being a real issue despite areas technically meeting the adoption criteria.

This subject has been interfering with my focus all morning (radio interference!).
So, we're to sit in the gloom under our energy saving light bulbs, sucking up juice through our DAB (energy draining & unreliable) radios are we?

If you are like me & do most of your radio listening in the car on a radio that's built in by the manufacturer (to avoid theft) will you have to go out & buy a new car to continue listening?

As others have commented the DAB service in the UK is now out dated and DAB+ is being rolled out in other countries. The UK was among the first countries to start DAB, but technology moved on. Remember 405 line TV then we changed to 625 lines.

The sound quality on DAB could be good, and was in the early days when the stations had 192kbs bit rates, but it was decided to have quantity not quality hence instead of a few good audio quality stations we now get lots of audio compressed low bit rate stations.

DAB is immune from interference and it is easy to use being self-tuning. It does consume more power in processing the signal, hence not too good for portable battery sets. Due to the time taken in processing the Time signal pips are no longer correct but have a slight delay.

It is on frequencies that do not travel a large geographic range. So no more listening to France on Long Waves, or Radio 4 in your car in France. The DAB standard and frequencies used is not the same throughout world whereas at present an AM/FM radio bought in UK would work all over the world.

You will never again be able to build and then use a "crystal set", which once great fun for schoolboys and powered only by the signal.

I wonder what they want to use the vacated MW and LW frequencies for, I doubt if they is a market for selling off those bands.

Of course you can get digital radio all over Europe in good quality via satellite. In the US they also have a satellite radio direct to your car system.

Digital radio can be used on LM/MW (or Short waves) and a system, which has been receiving trials, is DRM radio. This would have the advantage of one transmission say Radio 4 on DRM Long waves 198Khz, having the same UK and part of Europe coverage that it has now, being available in stereo and with better audio quality than the present Long Wave AM transmission. Radio text also available.

The idea of using the Internet for radio to me does not seem like real radio. Maybe Marconi need never have bothered

I've tried several FM radios to listen on the way to work and all have failed. I now have a portable DAB, which works fine, even in the lift.

So stuff FM, frankly...

I listen to me "Pure Elan DX40" set ALL THE TIME! Great reception, great choice of channels, and portable, the battery lasts for DAYS! I LOVE IT! although it has been great for me, I don't see why rush to roll out DAB when DAB+ is being worked on, and FM works for sooo many, from the metropolis to the outer Hebrides. Also, what other appropriate application is there for FM/AM?

"DAB is immune from interference and it is easy to use being self-tuning. "

Not so John. The latest high-tech roof insulation does not permit good signal reception.

Digital radio is just like digital TV - a poorer quality signal that drops out at the first change in atmospherics, and is hugely affected by any objects in its way.

Listening to digital radio on TV or computer requires the whole set to be on. Not at all green. Why does the screen have to be on, on a TV, in order to listen to radio? Because the component to turn it off costs 10p and manufacturers save every penny they can in manufacturing cost methinks.

"Functionality" - awful, invented Americanism like "normalcy"

"Pedant" - a sloppy, slapdash person's term for someone who likes to get things right.

I still do almost all of my radio listening on FM, and I have FM built in to my phone, MP3 player, stereo and even my old cassette Walkman. I've listened to FM all my life, even on the train into work, so it'll be sad for me if and when it's switched off.

In any case, I have always thought the sound quality on FM is far better than what you get on DAB...

Blue Witch, you could use a Freeview box (or a sattelite box)and connect the phono audio output to an amplifier.
If the Roof insulation is weakening the Band 3 frequencies used in UK for DAB it will also attenuate the Band 2 frequencies used for FM. Maybe you want notice it though. DAB is on the band that was once used for 405 line commercial TV. The DAB transmitters will increase their power in time as other services close. Digital Radio could be on HF frequencies.

I use DAB, but I also use most other means to receive radio, from Long Waves to Satellite GHz frequencies. AM/ FM and digital. I will be very sorry to see the AM and FM services close.

Batti Benji, you say the battery in your DAB portable lasts for days. With AM and FM portable radios the battery lasts for months.
It is not a case of rolling out DAB when DAB+ is being worked on, we have had DAB in this country for many years, other countries are only now taking up digital radio and are using the improved DAB+ system, if we changed over to DAB+ all the people in UK who have an older DAB radio their sets would no longer work!. Unfortunately when DAB began the idea of upgrading software over the air was not incorporated in the design. The DAB we have uses MP2. We are suffering from being first.
Some of the new sets on sale will accept a DAB or DAB+ signal.

It may be my Witchy Powers affecting things John, but FM is fine under my space-age roof, whereas DAB isn't.

Digital TV (via Freeview - I'm not paying for satellite when I hardly watch TV) is also dreadful quality here - 50 miles from London - and it's only a couple of years since we could receive digital signals at all.

I still think that it wouldn't cost much for manufacturers to provide a way for screens to be turned off when audio-only channels are in use.

Blue Witch...
Digital TV (via Freeview - I'm not paying for satellite when I hardly watch TV) is also dreadful quality here - 50 miles from London -...

You do not have to pay for satellite TV. (Unless you want to for extra channels).
There are numerous free channels.
Get a used digibox for and dish £10 at a car boot sale.
Or buy a Freesat box from Argos.

The digital radio audio quality via satellite is generally better than DAB.

The FM signal transmitter would be powerful than the DAB signal. It may also come from a different transmitter. In time your DAB signal should improve. The roof insulation will affect both but your FM has a better chance being stringer so you do not notice any affect.

There remains a gaping chasm between what people can do, and what people want to do.

Nothing lasts forever

FM and AM will last "forever" because they both occur naturally, they existed as modulation schemes before Marconi.

OFDM+QPSK carrying multiplexed MPEG-1 Audio Layer II doesn't crop up quite so frequently in nature and our use of it in DAB isn't likely to amount to much more than a regional blip in the history of broadcasting.

John - Yes indeed. I suppose I should come clean... Mr BW works in that field, so DG is absolutely correct in what he says.

We *could* do all sorts of things to 'buy into' all the latest technology, but we don't (or rather shouldn't) need to. We already have perfectly good receiving equipment, which, all things being equal, we'd like to use until it can no longer be physically mended (Mr BW can mend most things). We are thrifty and environmentally conscious, and modern shiny gadgets, which invariably perform and last less well than their predecessors) hold no attraction whatsoever.

And satellite dishes are the ugliest invention ever. Not on my Coven!

Switching off our FM/AM frequencies also reduces the chances that our radio signals will be detected by another civilisation!

I discovered that since the advent of online radio, I have not used my old radio in years. Why? Because online I can choose exactly the content I want to listen to... and online I don't have to listen to 1 single advertisement!

Radio in the states is usually an absolute torture with endless ads. But now I'm free.


As I said I will be very sorry when the AM and FM signals are switched off, I hope it won't happen. I still have 2 valve radios here that function. One is from the 1940's, that's over 60 years and it can still be mended! Todays DAB radios using custom dedicated chips, most will not last that long, and spare parts will be difficult.
However most of my radio listening is done on modern radios.
AM Long and Medium waves have served us well for 80 plus years and likewise VHF FM for over 50 years.
It is a tribute to the technology that a radio made in the 1930's if electrically OK would still work on present day transmissions, all this will end in a few years time.
As Johnny Topaz said earlier "nothing lasts forever"

Oh crap here we go again.

No doubt where I live the signal will be too weak to work, so it's useless to me.

DAB can kiss my ***.

If I can't listen to Radio 3 on my existing car radio, that's it. Sean Rafferty will have to do without my subscription. Ah, but of course, this is a state monopoly, so we're paying for it whether we listen or not, and our views are just ignored.

I spend an inordinate amount of time stuck in jams, in my aging Renault with built-in radio, on the A4 in the Netherlands or the Antwerp Ring, or perhaps cruising down towards Angers. How will I, in future, be able to keep up with the latest cakes being delivered to Aggers and Blowers? Life will never be the same.

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