back to article Dig deep! Radio asks taxpayers for blank cheque

Timing is everything, comics say. So it is in politics, too. With the UK flat broke after Labour's nine-year drunken spending splurge, the taxpayer is now being asked to pay for lots of new radio masts, and associated infrastructure. The anointed successor to analog radio doesn't have anything like the infrastructure required …

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  1. Gulfie
    FAIL

    Re: This requires "massive public funding"

    No. It requires scrapping.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Totally agree ...

      Don't want it, won't pay for it, FM is far superior and its cheap with an established viable hardware investment and infrastructure.

      DAB is a pile of shit. Even the time signal arrives 3 seconds late. And sounds like a fart in a bathtub.

    2. Jay Clericus
      Unhappy

      DAB Fail DAB+ ok

      Looks like a lot of European countries have DAB+, as it is better quality and can reach more people. DAB is not compatible with DAB+, so people who go out and buy a DAB radio for their car and then drive on holiday to europe will have no radio reception.

      a dab radio adaptor looks to be in the region of £100 and higher, plus it needs a power source, most cars have custom built in radios, not going to be cheap, so suspect will stick with the mp3 player and the dab vendors can stick dab somewhere else

      1. Scorchio!!
        Thumb Up

        Re: DAB Fail DAB+ ok

        Oh and much more. Where I live is listed as a DAB reception area. My house is in a black spot, the reception is iffy, with a lot of racket on it. Then there is the poor compression ratio, the cost and yes the better quality of broadcast by ordinary FM radio as things currently are.

        The people who tell us we want this have a vested interest, and part of that status requires them to overlook the FM radio to DAB radio purchase ratio.

        It is an appalling medium, and I regret owning one. It would have been marvellous to plug it into the computer and record programmes if the reception were man enough, and if the compression ratio were anything but laughable.

        A big fail. Another failed expensive technology project from the bunglers who brought many other such failures into being, the better to ruin the economy they farked up in so many different ways.

        Birch the bastards.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Another day

    Another load of BS about DAB.

    I'm perfectly happy with DAB reception and content. Did they kill your cat or something? Or do you have shares in DAB+ manufacturer or something?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Most people aren't

      The only reason most people use dab is to get something they can't via FM (usually 6 Music), and usually where there isn't telly or internet nearby (like the kitchen). Most people in my experience consider consider DAB an arseache they're willing to tolerate to get the content, rather than an advantage.

      I bought a receiver for using in the bathroom in the mornings, after it chewed through batteries in less than a week I went back to my analogue transistor radio which is still going strong after about a year on batteries I nicked out of something else.

    2. Steve Crook
      Stop

      Just because you are happy

      Doesn't mean everyone else is. But reception is only part of it. The technology is too old, and barely fit for purpose. If people actually wanted DAB it would have been taken up years ago. The truth is, that they don't, and the only reason for switching from FM to DAB is that the FM spectrum can be sold to make some money for the govt.

      At the last count, I have seven radios around the house, five are portables. Under normal circumstances I would expect to be replacing *none* of them for the foreseeable future. An enforced switch to DAB will cost me several hundred pounds, and provide me with what?

      Oh, that's right, absolutely nothing....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Actually the switch would provide you with...

        Higher costs either in mains electricity, or feeding them with batteries.

        Yeah, a real step forward that it... has anyone ever worked out the carbon footprint impact of switching everyone over to DAB I wonder?

    3. Dave_Page
      FAIL

      Meh

      You might be perfectly happy, but I can't receive a single DAB station at my place, and I don't exactly live out in the sticks.

  3. Jacqui

    No political bias then?

    "With the UK flat broke after Labour's nine-year drunken spending splurge"

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: No political bias then?

      I think you'll be hard pushed to describe it as anything else!

      1. Scorchio!!
        Thumb Up

        Re: Re: No political bias then?

        >I think you'll be hard pushed to describe it as anything else!

        Indeed. It is one of many failed IT projects. This has been a complaint about Labour governments for more than 30 years, probably 40.

        On the question of DAB itself there is at least one Usenet News group devoted to the topic. I think it might be this one:

        https://groups.google.com/group/alt.radio.digital/topics?lnk=srg

        After I bought my DAB radio, having checked to see if it would work in my area (reception in my part of this area is abysmal) I checked this news group to read about other experiences and opinions. It is an eye opener for those who uncritically accept it, and I concede it's possible to do so if the reception is good, just as long as a deaf ear is turned toward the shoddy compression ratio. I cannot find an analogy to employ to describe it. Online radio is superior to this crud.

    2. Paul 117
      Grenade

      @No political bias then?

      I didn't realise it was considered bias if you state facts.

      1. Ben Bawden

        Funny definition of facts

        Seeing as our debt is no worse (as a proportion of GDP) than it has been for 200 out of the last 250 years. If we're broke now, then we must have nearly always been broke.

        http://www.johannhari.com/2011/03/29/the-biggest-lie-in-british-politics

        1. Sampler

          @Ben Bawden

          You do realise that interest is a percentage of what you owe - because the volume you owe is still the same percentage of GDP doesn't mean that GDP hasn't gone up so the amount you owe is up and therefore the interest is even higher still.

          Especially when you're discussing numbers as large as the UK's GDP.

          Save in boom spend in bust - but only because of Labour who spent spent spent in the boom times we have to scrape through the bust or be in even worse shape.

        2. Peter2 Silver badge

          That article...

          Is utter bullocks.

          Lets quickly look at the times when he says our percentage of GDP as debt has been higher than it is now, and why that was.

          During the industrial revolution :

          Google the Great French war, and the second hundred years war. The Great French war alone amounted to 24 and a half years of being at war with virtually every military power on the face of the planet. Later we armed and financed anybody who would help against the french besides of defending portugal, and invading spain and france. After that we were indeed pretty bust and yes, it took forever to pay that off.

          When we ruled a quarter of the planet:-

          The British Empire reached it's greatest extent in 1918. That's immediately after a little war that goes by the name of WW1, or the Great War because we received Germany's colonies as war reparations. Would you like to make any guesses about government spending in WW1? Clue; it was quite high.

          We were bust when we beat the Nazi's:-

          So bust it took us SIXTY BLOODY YEARS to pay that debt off. Still, let's not let spoil things by interjecting facts into the picture hey?

          Let's summarise. In the past 250 years the only causes of us having this much debt as we currently have are as a result of purchasing absolutely massive levels of military hardware to win global scale wars in which the very existence of the country has been at stake. The current reason for having this level of debt is that we have a fricking huge public sector that is producing nothing but red tape, and instead of having bought something that we are then paying off we are continuing to spend more than we are receiving in tax income.

          Cutting the deficit in half means cutting deficit spending in half. (simple words here; imagine you earn £100 pounds but spend £300. The government plans to cut the defecit in half by only spending £200, £100 more than we are earning. Get it?

          Also, Keynes said that in an economic cycle we should save in the good years and spend that surplus in the bad years. I'm not aware of him saying that we should borrow hundreds of billions of pounds to randomly waste on things before then having to cut spending below what it would otherwise have been, and increasing taxes to pay the interest on the debt we racked up for no good reason. (which then further hurts struggling businesses)

          So yes, we have nearly always been broke. The difference is that before it was as a result of having been forced to spend that money or lose wars of which the existence of the country was at stake. This time it was to fiddle the unemployment stats, then to fiddle the growth stats.

          History will not be kind to the Parliamentary Labour Party.

          1. Maliciously Crafted Packet

            So the Tories best friends, the Bankers...

            in the City had nothing to do with the deficit then?

            It was all Labours fault!

            Nothing to do with that bunch of reckless, thieving charlatans who collectively did more to bring down our free market economy than Stalin and Chairman Mao combined.

            Oh I forgot... they all vote Tory, can't possibly be at fault. Poor misunderstood bankers.

            1. Frank Bough

              Hang on a minute...

              ...what's the government's purpose again? Perhaps they had some responsibility for not regulating the financial sector properly?

              1. Scorchio!!
                Thumb Up

                Re: Hang on a minute...

                "...what's the government's purpose again? Perhaps they had some responsibility for not regulating the financial sector properly?"

                And did not Lord Peter Mandelson say "I have no problems with people being filthy rich (as long as they pay their taxes)", and then collectively, with one of the most corrupt parties in the last 100 years allow just that, by dint of "light touch regulation" and intimate dinners with the very class of people whom we wish to blame for the current fiasco?

                How many Labour MPs engaged in expenses fraud of the most egregious kind? Think for a moment of gluttony and then remember overweight Tom Watson, who was such a big spender with his supermarket that he was given a pizza cutter. What was his little expenses thing? Tom Watson claimed the maximum £4,800 allowance for food in a single year.

                Currently this creature is trying to make a name for himself in criticising coalition efforts to reduce the debt. If you look at photographs of the obese Tom Watson you may find yourself scratching your head and wondering why we voted for these creatures. I do.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          FAIL

          GDP is crap

          Say I run a big company that runs it's own lorry fleet (e.g. Sainsbury's). My company's contribution to GDP is it's turn-over.

          Now say that I sell the lorry fleet to another company, and the only thing that that company does it run lorries for me (call it Sainsbury's logistics or something). Now the contribution to GDP is the turn-over of BOTH companies. The same number of people are employeed doing the same work, and Sainsbury's still spends the same money running the same lorries, but GDP is UP!!!

          Now say I also sell the buildings and call the company Sainsbury's buildings, and maybe do the same several times over. The actual money and effect to the country is identical, but GDP is increased 500%. Woo hoo suddenly the whole country is better WTF ??

          Yup, GDP is a statistic.

        4. Scorchio!!
          FAIL

          Re: Funny definition of facts

          "Seeing as our debt is no worse (as a proportion of GDP) than it has been for 200 out of the last 250 years."

          The biggest peacetime national debt in history is no worse?

          I thought not. Magical thinking will not change the facts, not now, not ever.

        5. Scorchio!!
          FAIL

          Re: Funny definition of facts

          The article you cite is utter tosh, and nothing better than much of the trolling material that people cite in defence of silliness elsewhere. There's nothing respectable about it, the writer offers no source material in support of his arguments, and there is no bibliography. From an academic perspective it would be a delight to mark this 'ordinary', that is below a 3rd. Actually I might refuse to mark it.

          In order to understand why we are here remind yourself of these; the selling below market rates of 30 tonnes of gold (when the market was at a low, Brown himself announcing the sale in advance thereby depressing the price to at least 7 billion below price); Brown's 120 billion pension raid; the destruction of NHS dentistry by the so-called socialists in the Labour party; Blair making war more times than any other PM in history, whilst actually having the cheek to make the MoD finance these wars instead of using the emergency fund (which probably didn't exist, I'll grant); the over bloated public sector, for which you, I and the private sector (remember them, do you?) must pay alongside every other needless debt these twerps accumulated; the Labour party's addiction to impractical IT and similar white elephant projects (including the national ID card), which cost billions...

          ...do you want me to continue to enumerate the list of Labour's catastrophic fiscal history?

          FWIW Labour have been criticised since well before 1980 for over bloating the public sector and wildly impractical projects. It was on the Government 101 course of my first year (1980) when I first became aware of it. I remember being cynical about it and by degrees learning that this was ill advised.

          I also learned that there was then no energy policy, and had not been for quite some time. When their backs were against the wall about energy the Labour party drew up a strategy of sorts. Simultaneously they increased the population of this country by some 4 millions, at a time when phosphates (used in fertilisers) have reached peak, food costs are increasing not just because of demand but also because transporting them is now expensive (see oil), when we are experiencing flash floods due to over building and other environmental abnormalities brought about by overpopulating the world.... ....these people behaved like bulls in a china shop.

          I regret voting for them having supported them during the lean years, as should all of their 1997 supporters. The only good thing that I did was to turn away several Labour 'talent scouts' (on grounds of corruption no less, and this was in the early 1990s; how percipient!) who seemed to think that I would be useful.

          My greatest hope now is that the Liberals will learn from their period in office, become wiser and less prone to policy silliness and replace the Labour party. After all, it was the Liberal party that set off the mixed economy welfare state with a) the pension and b) social housing.

          As someone else earlier observed, history will not be kind to the Labour party. I am utterly amazed that one of the Milibands was elected to head the Labour party, not least because of their excessively extremist background, including family mileu; but did they not appoint the utterly useless Michael Foot after 1979? Perhaps it was a good thing. Perhaps Labour can now be consigned to the dustbin of history and a more enlightened form of politics can begin, one that does not make war on the co-religionists of many of the immigrants it brought into this country, thus not being responsible for the needless slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

  4. Oliver Mayes
    Unhappy

    Enormous waste of time

    I had a DAB alarm clock briefly last year, the reception was terrible, it took up to 5 seconds to 'tune' every time I turned it on and it lost reception completely requiring a power cycle every time I dared to switch a lightbulb on or off within 20 feet of it.

    The technology simply doesn't work, why the push to force eveyrone onto it?

    1. Darren Barratt
      FAIL

      I think you got a lemon

      Personlally, I have a couple of DAB radios and they work fine. If your lightbulbs are effecting your mains power ring like that, get an electrician in quick!

      1. Oliver Mayes

        It wasn't just the lights

        One of my neighbours using a pertol lawnmower had exactly the same effect, signal dropped to nothing, even when the radio was running off batteries.

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Doubt it. He's just in a marginal reception area like most of the country.

        DAB is extremely sensitive to RF interference, and covers a tiny percentage of the UK land area. These are facts.

        FM is also sensitive to RF interference, but because it's an analogue signal it can stand much more interference before it becomes bad enough to be not worth listening to.

        I only listen to wireless radio in my car. At home I use broadband or Freeview/Freesat.

        I'm never going to go out and buy a DAB receiver for my car, and the vast majority of people won't either - aftermarket car radios are £60+ and look really bad in most cars, and manufacturer's ones are extremely expensive. Given that you get poor-to-middling reception most places you'd drive (like inside cities with tall and close buildings), why bother?

        On my daily commute I pass through several small FM blackspots - those would clearly also be inside much larger DAB blackspots.

        So takeup is only ever going to be ever-so-slightly higher than the rate of new cars sold with DAB fitted. It would be very interesting to know how many of those DAB radios sold actually get used as DAB and not FM - I'd guess very few.

        According to the official coverage map, if you don't live in a city and are welsh, scottish, cumbrian, north yorkshire, midlands, coastal... you probably don't have any coverage anyway.

        (http://www.ukdigitalradio.com/images/coverage-map.gif)

  5. Scott Mckenzie

    This again!

    Why don't they look at the public action, which is largely non existent and go, 'you know what, this isn't working let's knock it on the head"

    DAB sounds awful, truly awful.... people will tolerate a bit of background hiss when an FM signal goes weak, but when DAB goes, it's an awful mess.

    1. Paul Shirley

      too many channels, too little bandwidth

      With most stations using abysmally low bit rates how do you even notice bad reception? Sounds crap all the time.

  6. Paul Berry
    WTF?

    Digital doesn't degrade gracefully

    Until digital radio and TV via aerial don't cut out randomly all the time, even in areas of "good reception", we might see a bigger uptake. The cheek of asking the public to pay for a system which is admittedly better in some respects than analogue, but A LOT worse in others, is staggering.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Really?

      I don't listen to DAB so I can't comment, but I've never seen a single example of DVB cutting out randomly and that's with an aerial in the roof space.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Unwanted, Unloved and Unnecessary

    I want 57 TV channels with nothing on. But with Radio I'm happy for the core BBC + local stations + ethic ones I get - around 15 with a car aerial.

    How much more 'choice' do I need, at the expense of ripping out every car stereo on millions of cars, plus billions more on infrastructure for a WORSE experience of listening.

    Cost vs. Benefit - Fail.

    DAB - stick it up your arse!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unwanted, Unloved and Unnecessary

      "I want 57 TV channels with nothing on."

      Fine. Just keep the curtains closed, thanks.

      1. Rimpel

        57 TV Channels

        Is that Heinz TV?

  8. squilookle

    My car has an FM radio in it.

    I only listen to the radio in the car. I won't be in the market for a new car or car radio in the foreseeable future.

    1. Syd

      And even if you buy a new car...

      ... it won't necessarily have DAB - my wife's brand new, top-of-the-range Nissan doesn't!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        £360+VAT

        On my new Lexus, if I had cared to order it. Which I didn't...

      2. hplasm
        Coat

        Only-

        the Ford Ennals comes with DAB as standard...

  9. Refugee from Windows
    Pirate

    Nothing to offer

    It's got nothing to offer because a large part of the UK Radio industry has nothing to offer, certainly not in the way of innovation. Does anyone think a lot of these "new" stations actually deliver anything that the listener wants? They'll stay hooked up to their *pod or just listen to FM radio.

    As for the technology, it's going backwards really, at least my portable radio doesn't eat batteries like a DAB one does.

  10. Steve Evans

    DAB?

    Ah yes, DAB, the all singing, all dancing radio technology that doesn't work in cars very well...

    Hmmm, so it is best suited to stationary use... Like at home, where you've got a PC which can stream a zillion internet radio stations with no reception issues...

    Oh dear.

    1. Liam Thom
      Badgers

      Yes cars

      Works very well in cars. Works well in houses too. And outside. No wi-fi needed.

    2. Anthony Prime
      Alert

      Actually...

      It works best in cars.

      I picked up a car set about 6 years ago to listen to my local AM station, (as it was then) Virgin and BBC7 and it works really well. Ive hired cars since and falling back to FM on the move is a real PITA with far more drop outs and retuning required (I live half way between Birmingham and Manchester so every national station is "distant". As a SFN DAB Handles itself *very* well.

      Also the combination of road and engine noise means you don't notice the abysmal audio quality at 128k MP2 Joint Stereo...

      The principle is great, the implementation is lousy.

  11. Brian Morrison
    FAIL

    The problem with DAB...

    ...is that in addition to the poor range (because they use a frequency that's more than double that used for FM and hence subject to more than 6dB relative reduction in signal level) it uses a poor codec with low compression, resulting in poor error rate performance and no space in the stream for FEC data to help remedy this.

    If DAB is to have a future, then the provision of better codecs in DAB+ must be mandated. That would also allow more channels per Mux and reduce the cost to the radio stations that are broadcasting since it won't make the transmitters any more expensive.

    However, it will make 95%+ of the DAB radios sold so far obsolete, and getting everyone to buy new kit again will be rather difficult due to the lack of foresight on the part of the government, BBC and other interested parties.

    What a mess!

  12. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Enormous waste of time

    Because 3G licenses raised 25Bn so somebody has decided that selling a few 10MHz of FM spectrum will obviously raise more (not sure how - they probably multiplied the number of people listening to FM by the price of an iPad or something)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      IT Angle

      and an even bigger waste of money

      who ended up paying for those 3g licences? we did! this is why those theiving bastards at vodafone and the like charge 50p a packet, which is why mobile internet has been strangled at birth.

      if we're stupid enough to free up the fm spectrum there won't be billions to be made by selling it off.

      and besides, there's fuck all worth listening to on dab. maybe someone should tell the dab fanbois about this interweb thing and how that might possibly be used to distribute what used to be called "radio"?

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      @Yet ANother Anonymous coward

      "Because 3G licenses raised 25Bn so somebody has decided that selling a few 10MHz of FM spectrum will obviously raise more (not sure how - they probably multiplied the number of people listening to FM by the price of an iPad or something)"

      Now *this* makes sense.

      Someone somewhere making a big bag of zlotys on an auction sounds *exactly* the motivation to continue pushing this.

      When people continue to support pointless, unpopular, destructive polices just do 1 thing,

      Follow the money.

      BTW IIRC each FM channel is 150Khz wide. That's a nice piece of space to occupy for some newer forms of bandwidth efficient modulation.

      Thumbs up for the stance, not the policy.

  13. DrXym Silver badge

    DAB's problem

    DAB had the misfortune to turn up at a time that it was already obsolete. Just as people were getting into MP3 (Mpeg-1 Audio Layer III) and later AAC, along trots DAB with crappy MPEG-1 Audio Layer II (MP2). MP2 gobbles up 2x the bandwidth for the same subjective quality as AAC.

    DAB+ rectifies the issue by adopting HE-AAC and error correction for better reception but that's kind of beside the point when no DAB receiver would be able to do anything with the signal. The gov would probably have to mandate that any DAB set be also capable of receiving DAB+ and give the market a few years for compatible devices become entrenched before switching over.

  14. John Styles

    Profauxsal

    Can anyone really see this one flying?

    Clearly we need an SI unit of ludicrosity in order that we can successfully correlate ludicrosity vs probability of idiotic scheme actually happening. Perhaps the DAB might be a better unit.

    Anyway, I have just got a 'new' car. Not new new obviously. In my previous car I had an ISO radio slot and got a DAB radio for it which worked pretty well, I thought. Bizarrely, it had an option where it could turn itself on with a timer and record things onto an SD card. I never had the nerve to try this for fear that it would manage to flatten the battery, but you have to admit that this is clearly a feature that the world has been crying out for. Cunningly, it named the files MP3 despite them being MP2 just to confuse people nicely.

    Unfortunately, the new car, in common with every car I looked at this time, it didn't have an ISO slot so I am forced to listen to 5 Live on AM.

    So, if FM and AM were ever switched off, imagine the percentage of cars that are going to be able to have DAB radios even if their owners are willing to fork out the distinctly non-trivial sums for them.

    (yes, I know that ludicrousness is the real world but I prefer ludicrosity, so there).

  15. Luther Blissett

    hehe, Wooly Bullies

    One two one two three four.

    Dab told Eddy about a thing she saw.

    Had two big aerials and a wooly flaw.

    Wooly bullyies, wooly bullies.

    Wooly bullies, wooly bullies, wooly bullies.

    Eddy told Dab, "Let's don't take no chance.

    Let's not be £70m, don't come here for finance."

    Wooly bullies, wooly bullies

    Wooly bullies, wooly bullies, wooly bullies.

    Dab told Eddy, "That's the thing to do.

    Need someone really to pull the wool over yo' eyes"."

    Wooly bullyies, wooly bullies.

    Wooly bullies, wooly bullies, wooly bullies.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do we have here then?

    So DAB needs now unstated but indubitably large sums ("gotta eat too, guv" sayeth all the top brass in the industry), of course from the taxpayer because it can't be funded from their business models, to effectively destroy prior investments in the technology it replaces without actually being better.

    DAB, even DAB+, is already technically outdated and doesn't really bring much more over "analogue" FM. Rolling it out, in fact, would be entirely stupid from an operational point of view because it needs upgrading, badly, but cannot be upgraded gracefully after deployment. Frankly, I don't care that it works for no matter how many people. It just doesn't bring enough extra to actually switch over. That makes it a solution in search of a problem. As evidenced by the movable goalposts.

    Quite honestly, for the government to spend anything at all on DAB or even DAB+ would be plain irresponsible. Even if there was an actually better digital audio broadcasting technology there still would be nary a business case. A national free, even if comparatively low bandwidth*, mobile data internetwork would be more cost effective and quite probably easier to upgrade over time, as well as more versatile. But then some pundit or bigwig will cry piracy again. How depressing**.

    * Enough for, say, smooth delivery of a 128kbit mp3 stream for every end station.

    ** Obligatory cross-referencing pun intended, yes.

  17. mark fernandes
    FAIL

    Raising money

    Couldn't Doesn't Always Broadcast(DAB) just get a business loan from one of our

    successfully bonused-to-the-gunwhales banks?

    No? Oh well, cap in hand to the tax-payer then...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Freeview

    What's wrong with the radio stations being broadcast as part of the Freeview service?

    Since Freeview is being rolled out nationally won't it's coverage eventually be as good as FM radio (but not the quality, obviously).

    And if we have a system that is being already being paid for why do we need to pay for another one that does essentially the same?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Radio on Freeview - not in Scotland

      Ah, you've not heard about Scotland then?

      It was decided a few months ago to remove all the BBC radio channels from Freeview in Scotland and give the bandwidth to the single BBC Alba tv channel.....

    2. GettinSadda
      Thumb Down

      What's wrong with Freeview?

      Well, if you live in Scotland you will soon lose radio on Freeview to make way for BBC Alba

      1. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        The comments on Freeview in Scotland are close - but not quite accurate enough

        In Scotland, BBC ALBA (a TV channel) will be broadcast during its normal television broadcast hours (not all day) where, at the moment, BBC Radio Scotland is being broadcast - to very few listeners.

        BBC Radio Scotland will still be available on FM, AM, DAB and online - the four other means already preferred by the overwhelming majority of listeners.

    3. Phil Endecott

      Re: What's wrong with the radio stations being broadcast as part of the Freeview service?

      > What's wrong with the radio stations being broadcast as part of the Freeview service?

      My recollection is that DVB-T ("Freeview") won't work well in a moving vehicle due to doppler shift and other effects. In contrast, DAB was designed with moving-vehicle reception as a main use-case. There is a DVB variant, DVB-H, that is designed for mobile reception, but deploying that would probably be no cheaper than DAB.

      1. Vic

        Not quite...

        > DVB-T ("Freeview") won't work well in a moving vehicle due to doppler shift and other effects.

        Doppler shift won't worry it.

        The difficulty you have is that you need a signal. This means getting yourself a reasonably-sized TV aerial, and pointing it at the transmitter (since they are directional).

        That doesn't work too well on a car...

        Vic.

  19. Christopher Slater-Walker

    My kitchen

    I have an old Sony FM radio/cassette/CD player in the kitchen. It stopped playing CDs years ago but I keep it just so I can have my favourite radio stations on when I'm cooking. Reception is not perfect but it is more than acceptable.

    Now under those reception conditions, I suspect that DAB will be (a) worse due to the usual "bubbling mud" problem; (b) worse in terms of overall sound quality; and (c) definitely more expensive in terms of up-front equipment and running costs. So it's going to take a lot to convince me to switch to DAB. I'm certainly not going to go to the expense and effort of putting up an external aerial just to listen to what I can already get.

    When I'm relaxing at home, I get radio through my Freesat box, at high quality and with plenty of choice.

    In the same way, I'm not changing the radio in my car (which is a unique-fit type) just to hear what I can already hear.

    FM reception degrades gracefully under worsening reception conditions; DAB just stops working. It has nothing to recommend it under my own circumstances.

  20. Cameron Colley

    It's not being used because it's not designed to be used.

    DAB does nothing that FM doesn't, there's no fancy new features or other selling points -- because it's a shit system designed to do nothing more than make OFCOM money.

    DAB isn't being adopted because it was designed to shove as many channels into as thin a slot in the spectrum as possible -- so that OFCOM can sell more spectrum and make more of a profit.

  21. lou

    DVB-T2

    DVB-T2 in could be the answer. It offers lots of modes that offer good robustness and coverage is already very good.

    Scrapping DAB and DAB+ would be mildly painful, but in the long run a harmonised broadcast system would be much more sane and would allow pan-european reception too.

    The sooner DAB dies and is replaced the better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Alternatives

      We need a Sirius/XM Europe and complimentary to that, DRM/DRM+ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Radio_Mondiale) to allow us to interleave digital radio on the current frequency bands, closedown DAB, resell the spectrum, get drunk and forget it ever happened.

  22. Dazed and Confused

    The problem with...

    During most peoples life times it has been a good idea to upgrade their analogue equipment once. When most things moved from AM to FM. The problem with any digital technology is that it is likely to be obsolete before you've ever managed to get home from the shop. Unless someone finds a way to keep broadcasting last weeks technology while also broadcasting this weeks flavour they are constantly going to be having this battle.

    DAB is suffering from being an early technology. But will punters accept throwing away their new DAB kit to buy DAB+ today? Probably not going to be a popular move. Tomorrow someone will come up with a better CODEC and we'll have proponents of DAB++, given a few weeks DAB+++ will be posited as the answer to everything... but for how long?

    Do we want to live in a throw away society?

    Manufactures would obviously love us too, but...

  23. s. pam
    FAIL

    Fuck DAB, use Satellite radio if anything

    This is a place where the 'mericans got it right, they use satellite radio. You pay if you want to get all the good channels (debate amongst yourselves!!!) but Analogue will never die. Now if the EU mandated it, the French would ignore it, the Germans would deliver DAB+++ and the UK would sit and mumble.

    But still with MPEG 1 codecs and 6db losses/5-10 miles given our subsoil strata in Blighty, it'd not work!

    But we'll get fucked again for more money. Epic Fail inbound!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      +1

      Yup, every car has satnav these days, so satellite radio is definitely the most sensible automotive solution. DAB is very 1980s.

    2. Marky W
      Headmaster

      Tsk

      That would be 'merkins'.

      1. Scorchio!!
        Happy

        Re: Tsk

        >That would be 'merkins'.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkin

        :-)

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Re: Tsk

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkin_(disambiguation)

          Sometimes words have multiple meanings. The fact that a slang term for an American is also the name of a pubic wig is sometimes, not always, apt.

          The main difference is you are unlikely to be shot by a pubic wig.

  24. Gordon861

    Drop It

    The public has spoken, they don't want DAB, it's old, expensive and doesn't work properly!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Ummmmmm...

    Reading through these posts I have a strange sense of deja vu.

    ISDN anyone?

    1. unitron
      FAIL

      Being a 'merkin...

      ...I'm thinking more along the lines of our 5 different versions of AM Stereo, and, going further back, SQ, QS, and CD-4 4 channel quadraphonic hi-fi's.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      AC@16:13

      ISDN#

      Good one. I'd forgotten that.

      That said it was a pretty clever solution (No peak bandwidth but *solid* all the time).

      Could the internet have exploded at a rock solid 155kbs? We'll never know.

      ISDN's failures would seem more a regulation and national telco's failure rather than a technology fail. DAB looks to have *all* 3.

      I still like the VHS/Betamax analogy because it's more consumer based and media consumption (what people *could* view and what they *wanted* to view) was a pretty big part of the success and fail balances.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      mixed opinion on that, actually

      You might see ISDN as a typical telco take on this newfangled data thing. But it does have upsides, if only people understood what they were dealing with.

      Over here (and that's very much not BT) a single BRI costs just a bit over a single POTS line and can handle up to two voice channels simultaneously and up to eight numbers assigned to it for a small surcharge (the first four don't cost extra). That's just peachy for, say, a bunch of otherwise unrelated housemates, or a small office, or something. Using it is actually cheaper than two POTS lines nevermind one for each tenant. And it's useful as a fall-back data line. Or as a dial-on-demand setup before the advent of xDSL. Or an easy way to give the fax, the garden shed, or say the home office a different number. Maybe get a separate statement for each number, simplifying billing for the customer. That sort of thing.

      But as a telco, it's not the extra capabilities you're selling it for. You don't even sell it as "two lines". It simplifies your own infrastructure as it plugs pretty directly into the switch. And with two data channels you might see more revenue as well as better copper line utilisation. Trust BT to overprice the thing so that it doesn't see much uptake at all.

      As "two lines" ISDN to the home never had a solid business case so it was pretty silly to try and have people pay through the nose for the possibilities of services they didn't understand nevermind thought they needed. They just need a phone, one that works.

      Other than telco blundering, ISDN isn't quite dead. Besides that BRI, a PRI (the 30 usable channels variant) is what you get if you need more than a few voice channels. That's ISDN too. And, hm, GSM has copied a bunch of its signalling. So at least parts of it see a lot of use.

      The technology works pretty well, but the supposed killer app wasn't and the marketing was worse. It also doesn't try and supplant POTS nor claims it needs blank cheques to make that happen. So it's not half as bad as DAB, if you must compare.

  26. batfastad
    Linux

    Power

    Over the winter I had a pocket-sized LW radio tuned in to Radio 4 for most of every night of the cricket test matches and ODIs. All it needed was a single pair of AAA batteries.

    Are there any DAB units that can boast such low power consumption?

    That's one problem with DAB. Another is that they're trying to sell DAB on the basis of improved audio quality. Yes in theory the audio quality is better than that of analogue (even though they've chopped the quality back a bit in the past few years). However when I try a listening test of DAB vs analogue in my back garden then analogue wins by miles, even LW. And my postcode is listed in a "green" area.

    I just wish there was a more open approach to streaming technologies for internet radio. Most mass-market/commercial radio stations seem to fall into the trap of needing some sort of closed-source client or plugin technology: Flash, RealPlayer, Quicktime and god knows what else. Internet radio could destroy DAB (at home/work at least) if a standard format for exposing and connecting to streams was adopted... typing in a subdomain/URL to access a stream directly would be ideal. Could use DNS SRV/TXT records to expose a list of stations available at a particular (sub)domain so all the user has to do is input a simple URL and the radio retrieves the list of channels. Spotify could expose yer customised playlists as internet radio channels. There's plenty of possibilities... but instead I'm stuck with stupid BBC stupid iPlayer stupid Flash stupid plugin to listen to their radio online.

    1. Vic

      Not going to happen...

      > typing in a subdomain/URL to access a stream directly would be ideal.

      Pretty much all Internet streams can already be accessed in such a fashion. But the broadcasters frequently hide those URLs in the baggage they insist you use (Wireshark help here :-)

      > Could use DNS SRV/TXT records to expose a list of stations available at a particular

      > (sub)domain

      But the broadcasters don't *want* you to get that info. Then you'd be able simply to tune in and listen, rather than clicking through a couple of pages of advertising before you get your stream...

      > instead I'm stuck with stupid BBC stupid iPlayer stupid Flash stupid plugin

      get_iplayer is your friend.

      Vic.

      1. batfastad
        Jobs Horns

        Brilliant

        Yes there are work arounds for when you're listening at a computer.

        But what about the potential market for portable internet radios that aren't computers?

        Forcing people to look at online advertising becomes a bit irrelevent in that situation. A small internet radio device connecting to the internet via WiFi would likely use similar/more power than DAB but alot less than a full-blown computer.

        My point is that it would be great if there was a standard for station discovery that all broadcasters adhere to... if they want people to listen using portable internet radios of course.

        Until the stream data is presented in a standard format, internet radio will remain tied to computers. And while internet radio remains tied to computers, there's no impetus to agree a standard for radio stream discovery. Though there is this... http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2974 but I've not heard the BBC etc announcing support for it.

        And I believe that's a real shame as internet radio is a clear improvement over the current DAB fiasco and would happily co-exist with analogue.

        1. batfastad
          Linux

          title

          Just to add... DAB should then be shut down and the extra dosh used to get basic ADSL to rural areas.

  27. Tom 38 Silver badge
    WTF?

    What the cock is wrong with FM?

    How many bloody radio stations do we need anyway?

    1. Jeff Deacon

      + 1

      If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  28. Timfy67
    FAIL

    Coverage...

    My problem with DAB is that they use the same terminology as the phone companies... ie 99% coverage of the population, NOT the country.

    Over here in Ireland for instance, that means that the phone companies smugly quote 99% coverage, when probably only some 50% of the actual land mass is covered. It'll be the same with DAB radio in the UK

  29. Martin Usher
    WTF?

    Flat Broke?

    The UK isn't the only government to run up debt, its been quite the thing over the last few decades. The current vogue for "we're flat broke so we can't do X, Y & Z" is really ideological, its part of a long term trend to privatize anything that's profitable and socialize anything that makes a loss. (See "The Shock Doctrine" to see how this works.) This is just another example of this process -- you'll notice that the DAB technology is proprietary so there's a pecuniary interest in pushing it. Its also expensive to implement the broadcasting part so, obviously, the taxpayer has to fund it. Overall, what you get is the consumer being shafted both ways -- you're forced to use products by mandate and you get to pay for it every which way. Modern business - don't ya love it?

  30. Dale 3

    Flash

    Maybe they can update DAB to use a Flash-style codec. That way I can be prompted to update my radio every time I switch it on.

  31. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Ummmmmm

    That's not really fair - some people have got a DAB radio to work!

  32. Sandtreader
    Flame

    You know something is BAD when...

    You know something is bad when even geeks - especially geeks - don't want it. This particular geek spends far too much of his time picking apart digital TV standards and might be expected to be drooling over digital audio - but no, practically the only time I listen to radio is in the car, and only my hyper-local radio station, Atlantic FM, which has publicly said it could not survive the move to a regional mux because it couldn't target its advertising so well.

    I don't think the government has any clue about the s**tstorm that will be kicked up if the World In General understood that every radio they own - on their phone, car, van, boat, stereo, ghetto blaster, site radio, shop etc. etc. - is going to instantly become unusable, and half their favourite local stations will go bust.

    This is *not* like TV: With digital switchover there was a definite benefit in range of channels and quality of transmission, EPG and recorder support. Most people only have one or two TVs and it was a simple retrofit with a set-top box, and TV is a largely fixed receiver service. DAB is the opposite of all of those things!

  33. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Too Power Hungry

    The battery in the 1960's transistor radio in my bathroom lasts about 3 years. The batteries in the DAB radio last about 6 weeks before needing re-charging. It's a real pain.

    Now - before you all tell me it's easy to just re-charge - it''s not. The power fails half way through my shower. Being an old git, by the time I've finished grumbling, drying off, finding my cleanest dirty shirt (thanks, Kris) and rushing for the door I've forgotten about the radio - and the next morning is groundhog day all over again. It can take weeks for me to remember to charge the battery.

    The advantage of the 1960s radio is that it necessitates a trip to Maplin to buy the PP6 battery and the joy of buying solder tools, wire, die-cast boxes, BC108s, .......... aaahhh, food for the soul.

    1. Scorchio!!
      Thumb Up

      Re: Too Power Hungry

      Well yes, my analogue FM radios are similarly economical with my rechargeable batteries. Interestingly it you can buy a radio that is powered by the water flow through the shower, but I can't see the sense in that, not even on Sunday mornin' comin' down. ;-)

  34. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    The future is internet radio. Everywhere.

    Just make it happen.

    Unfortunately, OFCOM can't make anything useful happen. Ever.

  35. Grivas Bo Diddly Harm
    Coat

    POP POP TOCK TOCK WUMBLE TOCK

    Just listening to my DAB radio in the kitchen.

    What a waste of money that was.

    Oy you! Get your hands off my wallet. I'm fed up to here with being fleeced by every bastard who feels they have a right to my money...

  36. EWI
    Dead Vulture

    If it were Rupert Murdoch behind DAB...

    Would it be reported in the same way here?

    1. SkippyBing

      No

      Because Rupert Murdoch tends to back winners, you do the maths...

      1. Jim Morrow

        backing winners

        >>> Because Rupert Murdoch tends to back winners

        er, no. the dirty digger tends to back stuff that makes him money or increases his power. this means he crushes the competition, even when it has a better offering. just like microsoft.

        murdoch backs things that tend to win. this is not the same as backing winners.

        1. Vic

          I feel dirty now :-(

          > [M]urdoch backs things that tend to win

          It disturbs me to say anything in support of that man, but this almost certainly needs saying.

          The reason that Murdoch wins so often is that he takes a different tack to most modern management.

          The current trend is to be *extremely* reactive to what is going on. If a project doesn't show a return in n months, it gets canned.

          Murdoch takes a very much longer view. His original Sky anaolgue satellite network was a money sink for *years*, and the rest of the industry scoffed at him. He won, because the long view was so very profitable.

          When he set up Sky Digital, once again he poured money into an open sewer for years, and once again the industry scoffed at him. He won.

          More companies would be as successful as Murdoch's companies if they weren't so infested with short-termist management.

          Vic.

  37. David 45

    A con

    DAB was the biggest con. trick ever pulled on the great British wireless-listening public. I was an early adopter on the strength of the blurb. We were promised near-CD quality but what do we get? More and more stations shoe-horned in at ever-decreasing bit-rates with one actually in MONO, for goodness' sake!

    There was also talk of user-adjustable compression initially, which I looked forward to with relish. Anything to get rid of the current butchering and processing of the audio before it enters the transmission chain. What ever happened to that?

    Not to mention the extremely variable transmission coverage.

  38. Chad H.

    Hybrid radio

    The hybrid radio as described sounds pointless... If I've got Internet radio, then I don't need FM or DAB.

    Seems the solution is mobile "broadband", have the networks' license rewritten to allow free data usage for what we now call radio stations. More choice, if done by 3G should have plenty of bandwidth and the choice of every station in the world....

    Who am I kidding... That would be too simple.

  39. Chad H.

    At least one of then got it right.

    Dab isn't a result, it's the way you get the result. I bought a DAB radio 5 years ago to listen to the world service, and spent hours trying to find the exact spot in the room the signal was good enough to be listensble...but once I had it, I listened.

    If DAB wants to seriously win, content is king. Offer new channels with content you can't get elsewhere, high bandwidth orchestra quality stuff, low bandwidth for talks- not just more of the same but not as good.

    1. Jon 52

      it already wins on content

      I like content on digital radio and made me go out and get a digital radio (when I don't listen online).

      however this is placed in my kitchen plugged in (I had to struggle to find a location to get anything, Icould put my old FM anywhere)

      reception is the problem, the digital cliff is too much, you either get it perfectly or move an inch and get nothing.

      The good thing about my portable FM i take jogging is I can always hear a whole ong all the way through (yes I may get an odd hiss evreynow and then but at least it is not 10sec of silence) and the batteries never need replacing.

  40. Zebo-the-Fat
    Thumb Down

    Pay for it twice!

    "Bowie saw promise in IP-delivery for high-quality streaming that neither FM nor DAB were able to deliver, and commercial targeted 1:1 advertising of the type Spotify had used."

    So... we have to pay extra for a radio that works badly, pay extra for batteries to feed the greedy thing, then be insulted with mindless adverts spoiling the programs!

    I NEVER listen to any radio program that has adverts, they drive me crazy! TV I record and fast forward through the adds.

  41. Pigeon

    uh?

    I lissen all ur comments. I used to have a fm aerial on the roof, to get good vhf reception.

    I've moved, and have a portable dab/fm receiver. There were one or two times when I resorted to the fm button, and just decided not to bother after all. The dab is fine. And I don't have to remember 93.4 MHz, or whatever it was (is that not a service supplied by dab?).

    I don't know anything about external aerials for dab, and where to point them, but the coordinates of tm transmitters were conveniently listed in the fm radio manual I once had. Maybe a uhf tele antenna would work.

    So. I getting am poor reception. Glasshopper. Get a roof aerial you plonker. Its a broadcast.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      How is that better than your internet?

      Using an external aerial on your roof means that you have to plug your radio in.

      Or you could use your internet connection over WiFi and get even more choice - but this time, it's portable and doesn't have to be left plugged in! Plus the codec and bitrate is better, so the sound quality is higher.

      You are far more likely to have good internet and WiFi connection than good DAB reception.

      Also, if you've got poor internet, you probably don't have DAB at all.

      - You also missed out a key point. You Moved House. Had you tried DAB at your old house, you probably would have had nothing at all, even with the external aerial. This is admitted as they currently claim to have 90% of FM coverage. Not 90% of population coverage.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    agreeing with post #1

    Yes, scrap it.

    Too expensive for content providers + too expensive (and complicated) for users = scrap it.

  43. Sampler

    Content

    Lots of rants on here about the technical abilities of DAB (or lack of) but not a word about there's fuck all worth listening to on the existing radio channels why would anyone want to shell out a fair bit on a device so they can flick through the rest of the channels that were deemed not good enough to be put on real spectrum?

    Radio listeners have been turning off in droves for years and it's only going to continue, DAB may well help some of those along..

  44. TonyHoyle

    DAB is too late

    Internet radio is perfectly viable (esp. in the home) right now, and has a much better long term future. It's FM's natural successor. I can even stream spotify in the car for most journeys these days*.. give it a few years and that kind of stuff will be the norm.

    I'm reminded of the LS120 100mb floppies that came out *just* as USB keys and writable CDs made floppies obsolete. It's not that the technology doesn't work, it's just that it's too late... the world has moved on.

    * I've travelled halfway down the country without a break - it's not quite viable as consumer tech yet but it's not far off.

  45. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Joke

    @Ummmmmm

    It - Still - Does - Nothing

    Does - Audio - Badly

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Ummmmmm

      So to conclude,

      Dead And Buried

  46. P. Lee

    DAB just not required

    except for vendors.

    Oi government! Stop sucking up to the corporates.

    FM is more than fine for lo-fi environments such as cars and kitchens where radios are typically used.

    I know there's no money in pushing fm, that's one reason why we like it. The other is graceful degradation. Another is we already have the infrastucture.

  47. Simon B
    FAIL

    Ever tried going mobile with DAB!

    DAB is shit, fuck it off! Ever tried going mobile with DAB!

  48. Andy 97
    FAIL

    Broadcasting is a hugely expensive thing to do

    As someone that has started and run three FM radio stations I can say with some authority that unless you have a cast-iron business model, i.e. it will generate money by simply letting the needles 'wag', forget it!

  49. Brian0735
    FAIL

    DAB is a waste of air space!

    The service provided on DAB in my area does not have any local stations.

    Of the stations that can be heard there are only two I would care to listen to but the audio quality is considerately worse than the FM transmissions.

  50. davenewman
    FAIL

    Even the radio engineers don't bother to monitor DAB

    Here in Belfast the DAB signals for Radio Ulster and other local stations frequently disappear or are too distorted to understand. It usually takes hours until someone fixes it (or even a whole weekend a few weeks ago).

    I bet the technicians don't even monitor the DAB broadcasts.

  51. Cunningly Linguistic
    FAIL

    DAB = Death of radio as we know it.

    Once FM is switched off, and people won't pay the absurd amounts charged for DAB replacements the radio listening public's numbers severely decline.

    The audience figures go down, the advertising spending goes down, the number of radio stations go down until eventually all that can be received is the BBC stations.

    The BBC decides it's on a hiding to nothing and so withdraws funding from DAB stations' budgets.

    Everyone goes over to DVB and/or PMPs.

    Poor Whispering Bob retires and the decent music content on the airwaves dies the death.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Useless load of Jodrell that DAB is

    But some say it's good in your car? Thing about most cars is they're a bit well ..er...mobile.

    If you take your shiny new DAB kit over to say Germany ..zut alors it doesn't work.

    Because nobody else on the planet uses the same cruddy DAB that the UK is imposing.

    Feckwits. I hope the lack of cash kills this DAB stone dead.

    I hear Ford are to install DAB from next year. Why don't they offer a Focus with a steam engine it's just as up to date as DAB.

    Internet Radio is the future...that and Garlic Bread of course.

    1. Vic

      Internet Radio

      > Internet Radio is the future...

      Of course, the way to kill many birds with one stone would be to set up IPv6 transmitters along the road.

      Multicast[1] the content over UDP, and you don't even need the player devices to transmit anything back.

      So you get Internet radio availability, IPv6 rollout, and multicast all rolled into one Govt. push.

      Change of codec coming up? Just open up another multicast address. IPv6 isn't exactly short of them.

      Vic.

      [1] technically, it would be more akin to broadcast, but that has a specific meaning in IP.

  53. Dave 17
    FAIL

    Scrap DAB, use DVB-T

    Here's an idea, scrab DAB and build DVB-T (or DVB-T2) radios - a simple two line 40 character display will suffice with auto tuning.

    Filter out the video channels and leave just the radio based ones.

    Most of that can be handled by a handful of integrated chips.

    No real reason why it wouldn't cost much more than a budget set top box.

    This way you get your £30-40 radio for the kitchen, but on the way scrap an entire infrastructure and transmission chain.

    Cheaper for operators.

    Cheaper for listeners.

    1. relpy
      Stop

      Why filter out the video?

      I want to see the pictures on my 2 line 40 character display in Matrix style. Apparently you get used to it...

  54. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    It would seem DAB is the Betamax to DAB+'s VHS

    Except DAB+ is *better* than DAB.

    And U&K broadcasters won't admit they got hit with "Early adopter" syndrome. Sure all the receivers would have to be junked but is the modern digital broadcast chain *that* inflexible it could not be upgraded?

    I note similarities to the enthusiasm for satellite Vs terrestrial TV in UK and the continent.

    UK. Broadcaster develop repeater-station-in-a-suitcase and set up little shed around UK giving c95% coverage?

    European broadcasters dream of spewing their dubbed US soaps across the whole continent and buy satellites *despite* the regulatory situation being completely fragmented as there is *no* "FCC" for the whole of Europe.

    Britards. These people do not *deserve* your money. Why should they have it?

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    My Roberts Uno Logic DAB/FM is brilliant

    it's DAB+ of course, as I bought it in Switzerland where I'm listening to lots of high quality AAC streaming, comes across from Italy too 'classica', 'pop+', 'retedue'. The NiMH batteries easily cope with the decoding. When I return to the UK I suppose I can use FM.

    I asked Robertsradio.co.uk if I could eventually flash (DOWNGRADE!) it to UK DAB and they told me that

    "There are no software upgrades available for multi format use. Sets will either be DAB Band 111 format used in the UK or DAB+ used in Australia and Switzerland"

    meanwhile a comment on the EU Sirius/XM.

    A worldspace 1492MHz based twin satellite system was nearly offered end 2009, ground fill-in repeaters were installed in Sweden, Italy, Germany & Austria, a deal was done to have worldspace car-radios in all FIATs (& Alfas etc) but the company went bust days before launch. Credit crunch? Need some Ubuntu style billionaire to finance the rollout. There's even a spare AfriStar satellite in a garage in Toulouse somewhere...

    references? FCC Authorizes WORLDSPACE Subsidiary to Launch AfriStar-2 Satellite http://www2.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/01-04-2006/0004242750&EDATE

    and http://www.kingofalltrades.com/2009/12/06/sirius-liberty-worldspace-saga-continues/

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    (802.11p) I forgot to mention although I use DAB+ at home

    I actually listen to LBC via their 3G Android app on my drive to & fro to work along the shores of Lago Maggiore. The 20 minute drive gets me on average 19 minutes of 3G streamed radio, could choose NPR or KQED but the early breakfast show with Steve Allen is often more entertaining. *If* LTE ever gets rolled out into the sticks then I'd have better than 0.95 availability, 3G is just about usable - but I don't want anybody else power-sharing my BTS erp!

    Future INTERNET CAR RADIO - lots of widespread EU & USA automotive 4.95 GHz infrastructure is being planned around 802.11p, it's possible to get a retunable 802.11a 5GHz miniPCI wifi card for around €50 from Latvia! and a triple band mag-mount GPS/802.11g/802.11p antenna for another €50 and have a MacMini in-car car-radio type infotainment. start planning now!

  57. Harry

    "coverage is now 86 per cent "

    I'm supposedly one of that 86 percent.

    If I'm typical, then there's a very good reason why people aren't going for DAB, and that's because it very often sounds worse than prehistoric Radio Luxembourg on a very bad day. At least Luxembourg only faded out, it didn't give constant bubbling noises and other annoying defects.

    It's probably not DAB's fault though. Somehow, I suspect it has more to do with trying to squeeze twenty stations on a bandwidth that's only adequate for ten.

    So maybe the best thing for all parties would be for half the stations to drop out of DAB altogether, leaving the others to each have their proper share of the bandwidth.

    Failing that, just wait until there is a better, internationally agreed standard.

  58. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

    Degrade FM

    If they degrade FM then it will make DAB sound better by comparison.

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