back to article Daily Mail promotes 'the new Betamax'

Splendid news at last for digital radio. Associated Newspapers is throwing the weight of the mighty Daily Mail behind the beleaguered DAB platform. Tomorrow, every Mail reader will be able to claim a free DAB radio. But hang on. Isn't this the same paper that was the first to make the comparison between DAB and BetaMax? Well …


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  1. Richard Cartledge

    60 tokens????

    You would have to buy what? £50 worth of crap papers?

  2. LinkOfHyrule

    You're listening to FAIL FM!

    ...the station where the listener comes first!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Shitty hypocritical tabloid in shitty tabloid hypocrisy shocker.


  4. Dapprman
    Thumb Down

    Just read around

    Apparently on their TV advert it says you'll need 60 tokens, so no real saving if you're not already a Daily Mail reader (which I'm not and I won't be).

  5. Llanfair

    Title is required

    However, you need to collect 60 tokens! Fail on many accounts. Reading the Daily Mail will seriously harm your health and the health of those around you. Also DAB is just utter rubbish.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget

      that it can both give you cancer, and cure you of it at the same time!

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge


        Will that cause the price of your house to rise or fall?

  6. Red Bren


    The BBC announce the demise of the Asian Network. The Daily Mail start promoting DAB.

    Draw your own conclusions...

    1. Steven Raith
      Thumb Up

      I LOL'd.

      I know I'm going to hell for it, but who cares.

      Good call.

      Steven R

  7. Campbeltonian

    Debate and ideas deficiency

    I'm sure you could discover a broader range of debate and ideas by getting a DAB radio.

    That said, you could discover a broader range of debate and ideas in the average petri dish than you ever could in a copy of the Daily Mail.

    1. Allan George Dyer

      And the Petri dish has culture!

      The white one, please.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    what about VHS ?

    hasn't VHS been replaced by PVR's, DVD's and Blu-ray ?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: what about VHS ?

      I still use my VHS for recording.

      OK the quality isn't as good as a digital alternative and the functionality isn't as good either but it just sits there under the telly solidly doing its job and costs me nothing. Until it breaks, the quality dips below an acceptable level, or my tapes wear out (which I see happening first) I see no reason to chuck out a perfectly functioning device.

      Pint - because if I could I'd buy it one.


  9. Tom 35

    digital quality sound

    People who say "digital quality" piss me off. VCD is digital quality so no need for DVD or Blu ray right?

    Most often used by some one trying to sell some over compressed crap like the local digital cable TV or DAB.

    In future anyone who uses the phrase "digital quality" should have a badger stuffed down their pants.

  10. Richard Taylor 2


    Works in the car, and a combination of 6 music and 7, plus a better consistent quality of service (until I get into the Lakes where it is pants) makes it worthwhile

    1. Anonymous Coward


      You're being ironic right? It works in the car as long as you stay within spitting distance of an urban area. I tend to use my car when I'm traveling *away* from urban areas because there's no public transport worth speaking of outside urban areas. The car is a crap choice for traveling in the urban sprawl.

      So there's clever. A radio that works in your car, but only in areas where you'd have to be a fool to use a car.

      1. Pete 6


        I drive up and down the country fairly regularly and I'm yet to find an area (other than deepest darkest Wales, where even FM radio dare not go) that has poor reception in the car. It actually makes sense on the road.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          You might drive up and down ...

          ... but main roads are pretty well served. Try driving anywhere off a main road in, say, warwickshire, and your radio will go quiet.

          1. anon01789

            John H Woods


            I live in warwickshire, and will have you know that DAB in warwickshire is perfectly good.

            By my bed I have a pure bug. In my kitchen there is a revo blik radio station. Each only uses the factory fit antena, and on the ground floor has all way given distortion free sound


            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward


              One of the problems with DAB is that there is a threshold at which reception goes to poo. FM doesn't suffer in the same way, the reception degrades gradually. It's exacltly the same with TV; a weak analogue signal may result in a grainy picture, but it's still a picture; a weak digital signal will result in no picture at all, or at best, a jerky and heavilly pixelated picture that is unwatchable.

              Find one of these poor signal areas in the car and things will be worse simply because when you are moving the signal becomes variable. When the signal is week you may get reasonable reception at one point and crap reception 50 feet away. This really confuses DAB receivers. There is a stretch of the A642 where FM reception gets a bit iffy, but DAB becomes totally unlistenable. I don't know what causes this particular weak spot since it's near FM transmitters and one bloody big DAB transmitter, but it's there. This stretch may not be long, but it's enough to make most people switch from DAB to FM or bung in a CD. There are large areas of the country away from motorway corridors where reception is variable, there are some smaller spots like the one I mentioned in fairly built up areas with similar problems. Nobody passing through these areas is going to put up with it, most radio listeners leave it on one channel until something irritates them enough to change (Chris Evans for example) so once they switch from DAB to FM in one of these areas most drivers will not switch back again until something on FM starts getting on their la las.

              I know DAB fans will try to tell you that there are no problems with reception, but even the officials behind DAB will tell you that DAB coverage is poor. So why do fans of DAB insist on painting a much rosier picture than even the optimistic official picture? I can only assume it's a case of PFP syndrome. Anybody who has paid £40 or £50 or hundreds for an in car unit is probably going to sing it's praised rather than admit that they got suckered into buying a turkey.

              Even if you can get a good signal there's a damn good chance that you won't get the stations you want. I live within a couple of miles of a huge DAB transmitter, but can't get my local BBC station on DAB. When I queried this I was told that there wouldn't be enough bandwidth until FM was switched off and until that time I should continue listening on FM. Firstly that makes no sense since switching off FM will not give digital any more bandwidth. Nor does it explain why there is enough bandwidth in nearby urban areas. Secondly it is self defeating. They say they won't switch off FM until 50% of listening is on DAB, but they will never achieve that 50% until the stations people want to listen to are actually on DAB.

              One of the ways they got so many people to switch to digital TV was by having a lot of digital only channels that people might want to watch rather than the five terrestrial channels. The thing with radio is that most of us have an awful lot more choice on analogue than we have on analogue TV so where is the incentive to switch to DAB? Better sound quality? No, especially given the low bitrate many channels use. Better choice? No. I hear nothing on the DAB only channels to tempt me. The idea of switching to digital radio was ill conceived and has cost the taxpayer and business an awful lot of money that could have been better spent elsewhere.

  11. Chris 3


    ... the Daily Mail has recognised that DAB is a superior technology - just like Betamax.

    Isn't the Register anti-DAB campaign getting a bit old? Can't you toddle off and stick your tongues out at Wikipedia or something for a bit?

  12. Rob Beard


    Um... they said the Minidisc lost out to the iPod, now hang on, for starters the Minidisc came out YEARS before the iPod, offered near CD quality audio on a little disc in a protective case and had to compete with Philips DCC format.

    Now not being an iPod owner I can't really comment if the iPod (at least earlier ones before the iPod Touch) have a recording ability like the Minidisc recorders have.

    If anything I would say a fairer (but still pretty lame) comparison would be between Minidiscs and recordable CDs.

    Anyway, yeah why are they offering free DAB radios anyway? Does a manufacturer have a warehouse full of the damn things which they can't shift?


  13. LuMan

    Mini-disc no match for the iPod??

    Well, that's what it says - "Mini-disc was no match for the iPod." Odd that, after 20-odd years of hanging around in sound/recording studios, I've not actually seen an iPod used for anything professional. Whereas minidisc is still extensively used by radio stations (including BBC Radio) and professional performers.

    Nice to see the Daily Fail have maintained there usual high level of research and journalism.

    1. Rob


      Minidisc is still a quality device for getting voxpops.

    2. skellious
      Thumb Up

      I agree

      MD is our default choice of recording medium for all live events when we aren't using a HDD recorder.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        I use MD in the car

        And there is no MD DAB head unit. Rather lose radio than MD or my CD changer.

  14. StooMonster

    Never mind the quality, feel the width

    As with digital television, the problem with DAB is that it's all about "choice" and not about "quality"; hence the DAB audio quality is poorer than FM, because the USP was lots of stations in the limited bandwidth available ... and the more stations, the lower the quality for all the others.

    No-one appears to have worked out that more stations means fewer listeners per station, on average, and thus the entire DAB business model was flawed from the start.

    Personally I wish they'd gone for slightly more stations, say 6Music and a couple of others, rather than a plethora of them, but all the usual stations (and the couple of new ones) in higher than FM quality ... high definition radio perhaps, maybe that would've been an easier sell?

  15. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    The bad news is

    The car I'm planning to buy has DAB radio fitted as standard - It will cost me money to have anything else.

    However, the good news is it will have a stereo 3.5mm jack input so I can plug in my NONipod and happily listen to hours of great CC licensed music.

  16. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    not like betamax

    to me dab doesn't seem like betamax at all -- betamax had superior quality, but due to sony's mismanagement was outmarketed by vhs. dab? Inferior signal range, breakups (at signal strength where fm is ok), and poor audio quality due to antiquated audio codec combined with stations using too low a bitrate. Sounds like a piece of crap to me, i'm just glad they're not trying to kill fm here in the states.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      hold on there

      Sorry, I can't let that go unchallenged, yes mp2 is a crap codec, and dab should have chosen better, or allowed code upgrades, but it was the best available at the time. Besides, dab+ fixes it. Fm cannot be heard below 25db signal to noise, dab is fine down to about 10db. Fact. El reg is out of touch on this luddite campaign.

    2. OffBeatMammal

      FM in the States?

      um... have you heard what Clear Channel are pumping out these days on the 99% of the airwaves they now own?!

      Inane chatter, limited playlists and more adverts than anything

      IMO it's part of a concerted campaign to drive listeners to Sirius/XM (equally crap but at least no adverts) so they can see off the spectrum

      Here's hoping WiMax/LTE/3G become viable for everyone to stream personal selections over the net and get away from the force-fed content

  17. Anonymous Coward


    My college has subscription to (almost?) all UK newspapers, including Daily Mail. Probably other Unis do too. I can envisage a lot of cheap DAB radios popping up on ebay soon...

  18. Potts

    Remember Mark Thomas's 'People's Manifesto' pledge:

    The Daily Mail should be forced to print on the front of every edition the words: "This is a fictionalised account of the news and any resemblance to the truth is entirely coincidental."

    DAB my arse!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      But Mark Thomas is a chunter

      Maybe he should write for the Fail:

      "Most manifestos put forward ideas for creating a better world – this one only moans about a world apparently smeared in dog turd and peopled by parents who religiously brainwash their kids and lazy spongers who suck Rupert’s nips all day long. It confirms that the most poisonous snobbery leaks from those sections of society most cut off from the masses, in this case the remnants of the disappointed, disgruntled, radical left. The wonder is that even 343 people voted for this steaming pile of dog dirt."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        You do realise that the book Mark wrote was a comedy book, don't you? It's jokes, it's not meant to be taken seriously except in that, with most jokes, there is a seed of truth in each 'manifesto policy'. They're not even mainly things that he thought up, they're from audiences to his show on Radio four and the associated tour. I wouldn't even say that Mark was particularly left wing, he's equally happy sticking it to the lefties as well as the tories.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't be long

    Before the Mail runs a story that DAB gives you cancer.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    Is there any truth in the story that when the Mail's owners opened a New York office it was originally (appropriately) named their 'Associated Newspapers United States' office?

  21. Dodgy Dave

    DAB is the only way forward

    So, what are the alternatives:

    AM/FM: Yes, it's cheap, works perfectly well in most places, low-power, has no IP issues, and so forth. But it's Old, and that's bad 'cos manufacturers don't like Old, as they want to sell you New.

    Internet: Technical issues aside, internet radio isn't owned by anybody, especially not those who currently own broadcasting. The BBC become just one more choice amongst thousands. The Government have nothing they can cash in on by 'licensing' (bear in mind that 3G operators have already paid a bucketful for the spectrum which would be used here).

    DAB serves the future interests of the existing broadcasters and manufacturers perfectly well, so that's what you'll get. And you'll like it, because Stephen Fry will tell you it's OK to like it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      AM - No stereo

      FM - Pretty good, but takes up lots of bandwidth, so there are a limited number of broadcasters available.

      DAB - Can allow multiple multiplexes of multiple channels, can allow many individual broadcasters and you can also vary the bandwidth used by each channel in the multiplex so that you can use the bandwidth more efficiently (speech doesn't need as much as music etc.) DAB also allows FM to be freed up for locally dedicated stations.

      Internet: No good for mobile, very expensive and isn't free to air - you have to have an account with a mobile provider and they're expensive. The equipment is expensive and complex, compared to DAB or FM.

      Personally I use FM and Wired/ADSL supplied Internet at home, with a little DAB but I have to use FM in the car. I've used mobile-Internet radio once or twice on my phone, but it needs to get a lot better.

  22. mark l 2 Silver badge

    professional use

    "Odd that, after 20-odd years of hanging around in sound/recording studios, I've not actually seen an iPod used for anything professional. Whereas minidisc is still extensively used by radio stations (including BBC Radio) and professional performers."

    This may be true but recording studios arent exactly on every street corner so its quite a specialist market compared to IPods for people who want a portable music player for listening to when on the bus. Even in recording studios i can see them eventually becoming obsolete as USB pen drives get ever larger and cheaper so can be used to store higher quality recording than minidisc allows such as uncompressed raw audio or flac and with the bonus they can be plugged into any PC/MAC without needing an extra hardware to read the contents

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      Eh... Extra HW?

      I'm not certain if you've noticed, but...

      The last generations of HD-MD units all came with USB-interfaces, and even made it possible to copy files to and from them...

      (Unlike the SCSI-based unit they released yoinks ago, which required special MD-Data disks for storing files, and wouldn't let you do anything but edit track-names on MD-Music disks... Were slower than the LS120 and ZIP-drives it was trying to compete with, too... )

      Where the Minidisc players really shines is in recording interviews and long 'audio sessions'(My father does volunteer work for a local Christian radio, and that sometimes entails recording long speeches... Preachers likes hearing their own voices...)


      MD = 150MB(74minutes of ATRAC-3 compressed stereo music, or much, much longer if mono at lower rates... )

      HD-MD = 1GB(Which is quite a bit more than an uncompressed Audio CD)

  23. David Paul Morgan

    Mini Disc outlasted DVD/RW

    In our house, we had a sony MD and Sharp MD portables (both able to record via fibre-optic off the computer or via the 3.5mm jack). Also, a timer MD recorder bullt into the Sony stereo system.

    Recorded lots off radio 4, audio cassette books/plays and CD's onto MD when out and about. Great for the bus and train.

    My multi region DVD recorder arrived in the house after and was very handy when recording off Sky, as the sky auto-view function recorded onto DVD quite handily. However, that went into that garage shortly after the V+ pvr arrived. However, i was still recording Radio 4 programmes onto MD as it was so convenient.

    My MD is not used at all now, as WinMo Media player, then sony Ericsson Walkman phones and now Android Desire media player replaced it for music on the go.

    Inhouse streaming and virgin on-demand, internet streaming etc has almost replaced the need to record anything for later viewing.

    My new car has a 3.5mm input socket, so i might dust off the Sony MD unit and listen to my older Radio 4 shows. (I also found my Aiwa 'boom box' portable cassette walkman style unit, so perhaps i can listen to cassettes directly again!)

    (btw, loathe the Daily Mail. Bunch of nasty spiteful articles)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Problem is...

    The paper they use isn't very absorbant, and the ink comes off; I have proof if anyone wants to see it?

  25. blackworx


    Minidisc couldn't compete with the iPod? Eh whut? And there was me thinking all along that it was DCC couldn't compete with MD, then MD became yesterday's news very quickly. Well, as far as consumer kit goes anyway.

    Mail Fail shockeroonie.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Peter Hitchens...

    Is disgusted that we've allowed analogue radio for so long in the first place. It's not as good as the old days of carrier pidgeons

  27. jamesrhamilton

    Self fulfilling...

    When all the readers have their DAB radios and start complaining about all the ethnic stations (at least here in London where we have a few stations), the Mail can then start harping on about that...

  28. CM

    It's not free!

    Even if you assume you can get the tokens from a mate, they want £21 for postage, or £46 for that and a charger or case. And peeps eager for "priority" delivery can call a premium rate number (75pee from a BT line per min, poss 2 mins) to get a code to jump the queue or you might have to wait up to 57 days from the end of this token run.

    It has s-c-a-m written all over it, apart from having to buy a paper you would not want to park your budgie on top of (I sneaked a read, no real money was spent on this research). I'd clout them on the head for this Ryanair-like non-free deal, after which you end up with boiling mud for audio.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. It'sa Mea... Mario

    Recordable CD

    It was most likely recordable CDs that did it for both MiniDisk & DCC.

    Neither could compete on the blank media price.

    1. Laurence Blunt

      Strangely for me it was the other way around...

      Around 1997-2001 I used to do the CD copying thing, but when I first started commuting to London back on 2001, I got a very nice MD player/recorder (with ATRAC-4 support) as a leaving gift from my old firm. I always liked the fact that one AAA battery would last me a whole month (~40hours) and it was much smaller than the portable CD players and just over half the size of the original iPod which came out 6 months or so later.

      I later purchased a Sony CD/MD combo unit which made copying CDs to MD real easy, just put in both disks choose recording mode (I always use ATRAC-4 which gives ~300min's/4+CD's, in stereo at near CD quality), an press one of copy buttons (Normal speed+playback or High Speed).

      When I later replaced a broken tape deck in the car (about 2002) I put a MD player in there – a Kenwood 4x25Watt unit.

      That has since been moved into my current car as it is so much better then the CD+radio thing that VW installed. I was amazed at the sound improvement when I installed the unit, I think the standard VW one just didn't have enough power to drive the factory standard 6 speakers.

      Although the portable unit still works, I use my Nintendo DSi on the train as that also plays games, but the in car system still sounds excellent and the CD/MD player/records sites in my home office/PC/Games room plugged into a small Morantz Amp with an very old pair of Technics speakers.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Why I never invested in mini-disc:

    1: initial cost was/is too high.

    2: someone decided that, with the newer generations anyway, to move music to and from the device you would have to use proprietary software - strangely that is one reason I don't want an ipod.

    I STILL contemplate minidisc from time to time. I like the idea, and I could probably now find the money, but I still don't like being forced into depending on lock-in software.

    Wasn't it refusal to allow some types of content that killed betamax?

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge


      IIRC, whilst Sony were blathering on about how good betamax was, the VHS *consortium* quietly lobbied the hollywood studios to secure special deals for blockbuster movies.

      This why Sony bought WB and all the music companies in the 80's & 90s ... to ensure they controlled the content for any future technology.

      1. D@v3

        and then history repeats itself

        which is (partly) why BlueRay beat HDDVD

  32. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. Jay 2
    Thumb Up


    I had 2 MD devices, first an Aiwa and then a Sony. At the time they were ace as it allowed me to make my own compilations from existing CDs. Plus a bigger bonus was they they were read/write unlike (obviously) CD-R.

    I must of had them for a few years until I picked up a CD player that would play MP3 from a data CD. I don't think that lasted as long before I picked up an iPod.

    But to say that MD was a tech failure is well wide of the mark!

  34. Anonymous Coward

    DAB is superior.....

    to fizzle pop FM - yes even if you have RDS. Had DAB in the car for three years and have found it to be reliable and without doubt better quality than FM. It has not helped that DAB functionality is always charged at a premium by the various manufacturers and a lot of the 'radio only' designs are pig ugly to say the least.

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