The cartoon will tell us we should be embracing the future, rather than clinging to the past...
Too bloody right! So - remind me - why are we persisting with DAB?
In the last month the BBC quietly switched off AM radio transmitters to see if anyone noticed - and it seems not a lot of people did. Four local radio stations had their medium-wave transmissions axed in the last few weeks. Essex and Hereford are now back on while Nottingham and Kent remain absent in the interest of seeing if …
"with the power-hungry, large and inadequate"
You might want to have a look around a bit before posting nonsense like that.
(Hint: Here is a very good portable DAB receiver that I've used and like: http://www.tesco.com/direct/pure-one-mi-portable-dabfm-radio-black/208-6060.prd?pageLevel=&skuId=208-6060 , Note: Other even cheaper options are also available.)
Are you serious? DAB is ridiculously power-hungry and there's nothing can be done about that, so in the end it doesn't matter what size it is, as far as I'm concerned if you can't get a day's use out of it on a single charge (and without a massive battery you can't) then it's not portable.
As an example of just how power-hungry DAB actually is, my Cowon D2 will give me about 70 hours FM listening on a single charge, or 40-50 hours of MP3s depending on bitrate (most of my stuff is 320kb/s), but the most I've ever squeezed out of it for (128kb/s MP2!) DAB is... wait for it... 6 hours.
You some kind of shill for the DAB lobby?
Lets face it, DAB radios are still currently large (unlike an FM radio that can be small enough to be built into headphones, mp3 players etc.), power hungry (DAB radio power consumption about 40x that of an FM radio)
and the quality is shitty, (as the people pushing it are more about how many channels you can fit into the available frequency space than the quality of those channels, more money that way).
If you dispute this, please indicate your matchbox sized or smaller DAB radio of choice that runs for 40+ hours on a single AAA battery. Or any DAB receiver that runs on a watch battery.
If I wanted to listen to digital radio at home, I would use the internet based digital radio option, rather than buying a crappy DAB radio.
If I wanted to listen to the radio in my car (like almost all radio listeners do), then I guess I'll use the FM radio that has been built into almost every car on the road today. The cheap, reliable FM radio that doesn't require multiple digital decode circuits constantly running to handle the station shifts as I travel around.
Assuming the DAB lobby pushing their inadequate technology doesn't manage to bribe enough MPs / Celebrity shills to get FM turned off of course.
Some great math being used to "prove" DAB is popular, like only counting "kitchen" style radio sales, rather than including all the FM decodes built into phones, tablets, mp3 players and (or course) cars.
Or counting people listening to radio (at home only of course) on their PC's/Tablets as "Digital radio" listeners, thus implying they are using DAB and we should turn off FM to get more of the DAB they want to them...
The trouble is that people here talk of DAB being poor when really it's the implementation that is causing the problems. I used to use a Robi DAB radio, about 4 cm long that got its power from my iPhone. Worked brilliantly and power drain not too onerous but could be better. So to fix DAB I think we need:
- Increase the power levels so they're not an order of magnitude below the FM broadcasts. It's a SFN right? What's the problem?!?
- Switch to DAB+
- Remove whichever law it is that says all DAB/+ radios have to be mono and look like they're from the 60's
- Give us a decent selection of portable/personal radios at reasonable prices
- Build DAB/+ receivers into mobile phones. Apparently the Korean version of my Galaxy Note has DAB built-in? Why not the UK version FFS?
- Do whatever it takes to get prices down to reasonable levels. If I can get a cheap MP3 player free with my daily paper I don't see why a personal DAB radio needs to cost upwards of £40
My understanding is that DAB+ uses some form of AAC. Surely the power drain should be little more than that required to play my stored music?
These things are not insurmountable and considering the amount of money spent so far on DAB I cannot understand why they don't want to see it through to something that will actually work. Bear in mind most radio is listened to on the move so Internet radio is not a credible substitute.
"[...]- Build DAB/+ receivers into mobile phones. Apparently the Korean version of my Galaxy Note has DAB built-in? Why not the UK version FFS?[...]"
I've got a Huawei with FM analogue and a Dell Streak (which does have a FM tuner but requires some pissing about to activate [ http://www.pocketables.com/2010/10/easily-access-dell-streaks-hidden-fm-radio-with-streak-radio-app.html ] and I somehow do not see myself buying a mobile phone just for the current DAB standard. It will have to be a lot better than that to attract my attention. I thought the current implementation was the apple of Liebour's eye, but it seems that the coalition is similarly clueless as the last government.
"You some kind of shill for the DAB lobby [...]"
What an excellent post, and thank you for saying the things that I am currently too lazy to yell. It is very important that more people expose the current standard for what it is, risible. If we do not make a noise then it will happen, and we will be stuck with it for too long. If a good standard is adopted (better compression, better transmission strength) as a result of consumer power it will be used. As it is my current DAB lies unused, because the reception is poor so that I either don't receive, or I receive an over compressed sound punctuated by a squelching noise.... ....in fact it is more noise than reception, and I find it difficult to believe what I hear when people claim that with DAB you either receive it or you do not.
(Hint: Here is a very good portable DAB receiver that I've used and like: http://www.tesco.com/direct/pure-one-mi-portable-dabfm-radio-black/208-6060.prd?pageLevel=&skuId=208-6060 , Note: Other even cheaper options are also available.)
Heh, I have that exact radio too. The FM mode is noticeably less muffled sounding than DAB mode. I'm about 11 miles as the crow flies from my local transmitter and it's more or less flat ground. Also, Radio 1 in DAB appears to lag R1 analogue by a significant fraction of a second.
I like the extra stations, particularly Radio 6 music which sounds great on iPlayer, just saying if they're serious about DAB they really need to fix the problems first.
""with the power-hungry, large and inadequate""
The one you highlight is 10cm*16cm*4cm and weighs 250g
Quotes from reviewers "Need to buy battery pack or use on mains all time." , "Lack of opportunity to use 'normal' batteries may be a drawback for some people", "Cost of battery pack if wantind a portable radio (costs more than the radio itself!)", "The only failing is the price of the battery if you want it portable"
The damn thing is £30 and then you need to buy a mains adaptor
It''ll be no substitute for the Roberts' FM radio I use walking in the hills which lasts 8 hours+ on ONE AAA rechargeable and is the size of a box of matches.
Amazing how many luddites there are here considering it is an IT site, of course DAB is more expensive and more power hungry than FM radio (as was FM than AM in its early years), it is a newer technology and it takes time for these things to evolve.
In my opinion DAB works well these days. The more people who adopt it the better, and the more likely there will be ever more improvements to the hardware and the service.
Don't you luddites worry yourselves too much, this article was about a trial of AM being switched off, not your beloved FM, you'll still have that for quite a few years more, and maybe by then you'll have evolved enough to accept some new technology.
As for quality, no it is not as good as getting a 'perfect' FM signal, but very few really have that anyway, and DAB beats a poor FM signal any day.
DAB may work well - so what ? - it's clearly got major drawbacks esp. in portable use - it provides some advantages and some drawbacks - I don't see that as a major improvement and a reason to throw away vast amounts of equipment AND force people to spend/change what many/most are perfectly happy with.
That's not being a Luddite that's just common sense
You are amazed that many people don't see the benefit in switching to an overpriced, lower quality, less portable and more power-hungry technology that offers very few additional benefits?
I personally don't see why we should have to switch to something that is crap in the hope it gets better.
Here's an idea, make it better, and then everyone wouldn't mind switching.
Make the technology small and cheap and energy efficient enough that people could include it in car radios and so on for very little additional cost. Then travel back in time and do that 10 years ago so we might be willing to switch now.
Alternatively, make it small and cheap now, and then lets wait 10 years and see how it looks.
Don't make it large, expensive and power hungry, then remove your only benefit by (deliberately) making it low quality on top, and expect people to go "Yeah, lets switch to that"
The only ones who will befit from switching off FM is those who will get to sell off the frequency space to this allegedly huge number of commercial stations just waiting in the wings.
Assuming of course any commercial radio station can afford to fund itself once the same advertising cash is split between however may additional stations we end up with.
it is a newer technology and it takes time for these things to evolve
That's just it though - it's NOT new technology. It's old, inefficient technology with a technical spec marooned in the late 80's.
Just because someone can see a technology's failings when you can't doesn't make them a luddite.
"why are we persisting with DAB?"
Sadly some of us aren't. Not that we have a better solution but because we can't get DAB in the first place
I would love to be able to use DAB to get some of the stuff available there and if they switch off Long Wave as well then I am stuffed. No more TMS for me!
I have no problem with moving to digital, if only they would let me receive it.
"Yes I could listen or watchto everything on my PC but that would use up a lot my limited monthly bandwidth."
Watch? I thought we were talking radio here, aren't we? And yes I know some people have very limited monthly download limits that even streaming audio can use up but that's your choice, you get what you pay for. And why on your PC, you do know that you can get Internet radio devices that link directly to your wi-fi don't you?
"Yes I could listen or watchto everything on my PC but that would use up a lot my limited monthly bandwidth.
Why shouldn't I just be able to switch on my radio and listen for free?"
A point well made indeed, and that is the point of the Beeb receiving licence fee money plus the government top up, paid for out of your taxes.
(1) Broadband required.
(2) Tech savvy required to maintain a computer. -- I expect many readers dread family tech support phone calls.
(3) How do you listen to a talk by that nice Mr. Reith in your drawing room while the servants in the kitchen have the Dales and Jimmy in his den freaks out that awful rock and roll? Most homes have more than one radio in different places.
"Interesting how someone with no access to the Internet was able to post this.
(Hint: Digital radio is not only available via DAB, most stations are also available via the Internet.)"
It was 10:24 on a Thursday, like me they were probably at work
"[...]why are we persisting with DAB?"
Aside from the piss poor quality of the chosen standard, I cannot even receive it where I am. Then there is the question of all of those analogue sets vs the few digital sets that have been bought; yes, I have one of the latter, my mobile phones have the former, my internet enabled amp has the former, my bedside alarm has it, the Hi-Fi in my kitchen has the former, my car does... ...and they want to foist a poorly conceived standard upon us without first making obvious noises about assessing our standard vs the continental one? Perhaps they want a similar difference as that which exists on our rail network; second best.
So, please tell me, how many new power stations will be needed just for the DAB 'historical' radios?
Just how much carbon dioxide will be produced to replace almost every car radio in the land?
What is the point of the downgrade anyway?
How big a battery mountain are they aiming to create via this new landscape remodelling exercise?
Or have the proposers not heard digital radio, (like most of the population)?
My parents are out in the sticks in Herefordshire and switched all their radios to DAB about 5 years ago (before I did) - not a hiccup. The anti-DAB clan are amazingly vocal on El Reg, but it works perfectly well for me whenever I've travelled around the country.
> Where precisely?
I'm pleased for your parents, that they can receive DAB well, living out in the sticks as they do.
I live in a heavily populated area round Wokingham & Bracknell. Sadly, the DAB reception here is utterly crap for the multiplex carrying the national BBC stations. The nearest transmitter of said multiplex is at Hemdean, about 20 miles away. We have one DAB radio in the house. It almost works properly if placed in an upstairs room next to the window. Needless to say I have no intention of buying any more, and I will be highly annoyed with any politician who renders useless the various VHF FM radios we posses by turning off the signal.
My wife's DAB radio gets used for about a minute a day on average while she vacuums the bedroom. Fussy large and no great shakes, hence the limited use. My father returned the DAB radio he bought a couple of years back, one week's use two set of batteries and not a lot else to show for his trouble.
Do they even sell them these d
Back in 2000 we only had a handful of stations and the transmission bit rate for each station was fairly high, now only Radio 3 is at 192k despite the BBC stating this was the lowest acceptable bit rate for DAB TX back in 2003 (see page 34 of this PDF version of the BBC R&D white paper WHP061 http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/whp/whp-pdf-files/WHP061.pdf for more details. Classic fm is the next best at 160k but that's under the limit. Worse is the fact that the treasury is millions of pounds worse off because they didn't auction the analogue national licences whn they came up for renewal because they expected there to be an impending DAB switchover, so there wouldn't be any bidders for a shortened licence term. All ballcocks of course, DAB switchover will be 2020 if they're lucky.
I started out with cats' whisker/galena diodes and miles of wire; it's a bit more complex to build an FM radio from first principles and a hell of a lot more complex to build a DAB receiver.
But it can't raise too much spectrum, so it's got to be financial; those transmitters, the power they use, and the circuits they need cost a few bob... what, with all that saving, and putting the talent on salary, they should be able to save enough to give me a refund on my license.
They have to save money on AM radio transmission in order to be able to use that money for other purposes. Your TV licence fee is frozen at the moment, and inflation is eating into how much content and distribution the collected licence money is able to buy. In addition, the government have top-sliced the licence fee to fund their pet local TV project and their rural broadband scheme, transferred paying for the World Service and BBC Monitoring to the licence fee (they were previously funded by the Foreign Office), and from 2013, the majority of S4C's funding.
The BBC estimated in 2010, when the freeze was announced, that it would amount to a 16% cut in funding over the six years to the end of the current Charter. I think inflation has actually been higher than the figures used for that projection, so there will be effectively a bigger shortfall.
"Your TV licence fee is frozen at the moment, and inflation is eating into how much content and distribution the collected licence money is able to buy."
They are being encouraged to cut back due to the current fiscal climate; before the current fiscal catastrophe occurred they allowed their imagination to run away with them (and thus with our money) and have more radio stations and television channels than any public service broadcaster that I can bring to mind, and more than most commercial companies come to that.
Yes, they need to save money, no, plunging into the current DAB standard is not the answer; the answer is to cut back on their pool of millionaire 'stars', on excessively paid presenters and anchors (tax dodges and all), on the excessive tiers of management and related expenses, and on some of the many radio stations they've created. Then they can think about DAB.
I suppose that the 3 and 4 TV channels will have to remain, though it should be noted that they have restricted broadcasting hours. For obvious reasons that preceded the current fiscal constraints.
For the while they will not be given any more of our money; that is to say, licence fee payers have recently been very vocal, given the many scandals coming out of the Beeb, and I do not include Savile. The salaries they pay to, e.g., the DG, to Wossie, to presenters on news programmes, the clip which made it appear that the Queen had flounced out of a session in a temper, the competitions which never were with prizewinning contestants who never were, news programmes that do not research original source material and come out with risible conclusions, and on it goes; that's before the current loss of faith in Auntie over Savile et al., and the arrests go on as this morning's headlines demonstrate.
"@Neil Barnes: What century do you live in where you need to pay for a radio license?"
Neil is essentially correct in that the BBC run some stations on AM. However, the amount of money the Beeb saves axing AM would be small enough that it'll be barely noticeably - it might pay the salary for a few window-watching middle managers or the fees for lawyers to protect them from FOI requests or Saville victims attempting to sue them.
Oddly enough, when I was born, a radio licence was necessary. It cost ten bob.
These days it is subsumed into the TV licence, and even that's changed now.
For the record: I worked in various bits of the BBC, but mostly in an engineering field, for thirty-two years. I kind of like the BBC and what it used to stand for. Mind you, I do wish they'd go back to the engineers that invented DAB and be reminded that it's critical for its correct reception that the receiver be *moving* between adjacent cells... if you're stationary and in a boundary area or a poor signal area, you'll get nothing; that's the nature of the beast. Beyond that, and given that it is intended to be listened to in a moving vehicle - always a paragon of good acoustic practice! - there's little wrong with it beyond the decisions to provide insufficient bits for the signal, a change made entirely in the interests of getting more channels in the space. It's not that DAB is bad per se; it's that it's not being used the way it was designed to be.
But then, when the BBC no longer believes in engineering excellence...
It's unlikely to be affected - Economy 7 relies on this, as do the UK nuclear sub fleet (as a means of verification that the UK has or hasn't survived a nuclear strike). Apparently there are only a few spare valves left to generate the signal, so it may expire naturally by mid-century.
I heard the BBC had reduced R4 LW power by half.
I know it has been much worse at dawn and dusk than it was and there is interference more often. But is this the season, more chargers or the BBC reducing power?
There is a problem with CE mark and lack of policing:
1) The EMC limits are too high
2) They are not properly tested in terms of radiation from the house wiring
3) Radiation from Lighting wiring is worse as often it's loops, not "Twin and earth"
4) It's self certified, so often the product doesn't really meet CE
5) The capacitors in CFL /LED lamps "dry out" with age and the interference rises due to heat from lamp
6) Powerline/Homeplug adaptors are not realistically tested. All basically would fail CE if "real life" testing used.
7) Individual models of TV or charger can lack filter components (deliberately or accidentally), but neighbour has no idea why the Radio is poor or who to complain to.
8) Ofcom (and Comreg in Ireland) are trying/have offloaded Spectrum protection/complains to others and it's nearly impossible to get them to investigate. Even though it's one of their primary roles and ordinary Domestic reception is protected by Wireless Telegraphy Acts, EMC directives signed into law, EU and International Treaty.
You have no "absolute" right to have a newspaper delivered every day. You do have an Internationally agreed right to receive Broadcast without jamming, even from another country if it's not on a frequency allocated to your more local national transmitter.
Mines the one with a Spectrum Analyser in the pocket
1) Isn't AM actually "long wave"?
2) Submarine communications are around 50 kHz. I don't think the BBC is involved and many people have the required numbers of meters in their garden to span the antenna for that...
About the submarines: "Journalist and historian Professor Peter Hennessy claimed in his book, Secret State: Whitehall and the cold war 1945 to 1970, that he had been reliably informed that the test a commander of a British nuclear-missile submarine was to use to determine whether the UK has been the target of a nuclear attack (in which case he had sealed orders which may authorise him to fire his nuclear missiles in retaliation), was to listen for the broadcast of Today on Radio 4's frequencies." (source)
I presume LW would be easier to pick up from a random spot in the Earth's oceans than VHF...
"Frequency bands are Long Wave, Medium Wave, Short Wave and then VHF - for radio."
No, frequency bands are Low Frequency, Medium Frequency, High Frequency, Very High Frequency and Ultra High Frequency. Long Wave, Medium Wave and Short Wave are wavebands.
And no you can't apply audio frequency modulation to low frequency carriers because you wouldn't be able to get enough bandwidth (in the correct sense of the word).
We can huff and puff as much as we want, but at the end of the day if they have switched off several stations, and only a couple of people have noticed what difference does it make if they switch the whole lot off. We aren't going to see masses of radios ditched and replaced largely because no-one will notice that the only thing on that band is polish radio stations.
What I don't agree with is ditching FM. DAB does not have good enough coverage
Even in the areas marked as having coverage have massive holes in them
Far more people are always affected and object than the number that complain officially.
Besides will the BBC tell honestly how many complain? Will they have a dedicated freephone number advertised in the local "freeish" papers, A clear link on website with Form. a dedicated email address etc?
Will there be a well publicised consultation.
Or is the procedure and information gathering designed to give the answer they want?
Answers on back of a stamp.
Yes, DAB needs about x6 more TX sites and double the number of multiplexs or half the channels. 256K MP2 is fine.
Currently online streaming is higher quality than DAB. Current DAB suits a 2" loudspeaker. With enough TX and Muxs so as to have coverage and Quality DAB could be OK. DAB currently is a waste of spectrum and electricity.
Where else will we get the footie then?
Don't say DAB. You can buy an AM/FMradio is really small and a single AA battery lasts for hours. Now compare that to DAB portables? you count the battery life in minutes not hours.
don't say on your mobile. Just you try getting a commentary in a stadium with say 60,00+ others all trying to do the same. Unless you put a cell tower in the middle of the pitch it ain't gonna work.
The BBC might like to take a little walk along to Old Trafford on match days and try it out for themselves. mind you they'd probably fall into the Ship Canal first.
Actually if you are streaming at 100kbps approx (can be more or less) then one mast can reliably manage about 30 to 90 connections at best. It's not actually possible at all as there are only usually 3 sets of 3 channels and so the masts would interfere if more than about 20 (generously). Can't see how you can have more than 2,000 users no matter how much money you throw at Mobile.
FM level of coverage needs about x6 as many DAB TX. AM level of coverage maybe x20 (lots of small fill in due to it being 200MHz Band III)
I think power of receivers is the only argument against the change.
The switch from analogue to digital TV has gone smoothly and, if my mum is anything to go by, people are generally happy with the result (time-shifting has become easier). The same would be true for radio. Of course, people would complain but then they always do.
AM does propagate further and require less power to receive than FM or DAB. Partly because of that there is more money in FM because it allows for a better carve up of the audience (radio is often very local) but there are limits on the number of stations that can run nationwide for the few stations that don't have identikit programming.
Anyway, FM propagation has its own problems: reception of the German version of Radio 4 varies from dreadful to shitty in my flat; it's not on LW and MW receivers are almost non-existent do DAB really is the only choice. I never listen to any of the other stations but then I never watch any of the hundreds of TV channels that are available either (more of the same old shit just at different times and in different languages).
As a society we have embraced digital broadcasting. DAB, or at least DAB+, is a good solution for radio. I suspect that, er, reception would improve if say mobile phones started supporting it instead of / as well as FM so that we could listen to it on speakerphone without having to plug a headset in.
The alternative, of course, given the popularity of radio of DVB-T might simply to extend that.
No, the primary argument is making hundreds of millions of FM radios - in cars, homes, phones, building sites - needlessly obsolescent overnight, for no benefit whatsoever.
The switch to digital TV made sense because it gave a massive improvement in quality, TV is mostly a full-attention medium where people care about quality, the devices were renewing anyway (CRT to LCD) and most households have only one or two of them. Radio is entirely different. DAB quality improvement is hotly debated; radio is for most people a background medium in a noisy environment, the devices don't require any upgrade and many households have lots of them. I count about 7 in mine, of which 4 are in active use (two cars, one phone, one wind-up portable).
DAB does have its place (where it works) for fixed installations for audiophiles. Fine, let them have it. But for 95% of users its completely unnecessary and because of the power and quality issues, a retrograde step.
... and don't even get me started on the death of truly local radio due to the bigger advertising regions.
"DAB does have its place (where it works) for fixed installations for audiophiles. Fine, let them have it."
No, no, no! DAB is shunned by audiophiles and anyone with ears because it sounds awful. The stereo image is destroyed. It is totally unsuitable for anything except speech and highly compressed pop music.
And digital tv is no great improvement either. If there's a bit of interference the picture and sound disintegrate or drop out completely. All that happened with analogue was that you got a bit of noise.
> IIRC, Radio 5 was given Radio 1's AM slot when Radio 1 went FM-only.
Not quite. Radio 1's frequencies (1053 kHz and 1089 kHz or 275/285m) were given to what is now Talk Sport (was Talk Radio).
693 kHz and 909 kHz were previously used by BBC Radio 2
Radio 1 was much later to the FM only party than the other national BBC radio station. That is why it is up at 97-99 MHz (was an old police radio band?), rather than in the much lower chunk that is Radios 2 (88-91 MHz) , 3 (90-93 MHz), and 4 (92-95 MHz).
Radio 5 got Radio 2's old AM slot. I know this as the radio I listen to in my bedroom is 25+ years old and still has the little stickers on it when they shuffled the channel numbers around back in the 1970s or 80s.
I listen to huge amounts of Radio 5. Especially for the sport. That selection of old radios - from bedside clock radio to car stereo via a tiny pocket sized radio for walking around town. It would cost me a lot of cash and endless batteries to replace that little lot. Not very "Green" is it?
And don't say I should be using my mobile phone's data connection instead. That is plain daft. Why would I want to pay to eat up my data quota on the phone? Or risk flattening the battery of my phone while listening to the radio? That is not progress or convenient.
I have introduced a problem into my house now. As noted above, there is something wrong with CE testing. I have a nice new 50" Plasma from Panasonic. And the moment I fire up that screen, it adds a nasty buzz to my AM radios. Frustrating as I prefer the Radio commentary to live footie matches.
Long live AM Radio!!
that would be mostly people driving around in their cars.
And sensible people wouldn’t use a mobile while mobile to report the problem - even if they just happened to know the phone number to ring an complain. And anyway they probably had their channel hijacked by a traffic report about a cow on the road in darkest Lincolnshire 200 miles away.
Yep - car listening. I listen to Radio 5, Radio Wales and Radio 4. Signals are generally consistent wherever I go, unlike FM.
FM for decent music only - but not BBC as Radio 1/2 are generally crap.
I certainly wouldn't bother shelling out for any DAB capability for my car.
I wonder if the 'kill it and see if they notice' test is already being applied to FM as well?
For a few hours every 1-2 months the Radio 3 FM signal from Wrotham (Kent) inexplicably reduces by 15-20 dB causing noticeable degradation of signal. If one reports this (and manages to get a reply) it is said to be due to engineering work or an un-determined fault.
Why does it take the BBC/Arquiva hours to notice the problem?
Why do they make it so hard to report? One has to plough through pages of 'Why do I have a poor signal' web-based troubleshooting script before one can tell them it is their equipment at fault.
Perhaps the thinking is: Make it hard enough to report the problem and most people will give up, so only a tiny minority complain, so it obviously isn't affecting most people and can be switched off.
Lots of money saved, and quality down the pan.
And with those being in the Kw to Mw ranges (I'd doubt less than 10s of Kw) that would save some on the electricity bill.
But IIRC it's behind the *rest* of Europe and not compatible, so taking your new (DAB) radio abroad will be useless.
Perhaps the BBC should accept that it's ability to *force* a new technology on people is over and
When I'm at home in Glasgow city centre, I don't care about AM at all, and never listen to it (except Radio 5 in the car that is...).
But when out in the Scottish countryside, and up North, it is often the only reliable reception you can get. LW Radio 4 is often the *only* BBC radio station that can be received!
DAB is essentially a tuner and an MP2 decoder. Hardware costing £5 should be able to pick it up). It's too bad that the UK chose to adopt DAB given how poor the codec is. The brave / smart thing to do would be to legislate that all DAB receivers must be DAB+ compatible and for digital radio switchover allow DAB+ stations to intermingle with DAB stations. Over time DAB+ would naturally take over and the old format could be junked.
Was there really any other codec choice at the time DAB was first planned and implemented? What they should have done was lobbied for DAB/DAB+ capable radios as soon as DAB+ came along. It didn't help that they never persuaded the car makers to fit DAB or DAB+ by default in new vehicles.
Or my favourite approach: the BBC *denies*, quite truthfully, that The Archers is to be moved to DAB/+. All of middle England refuses to believe them and after a quiet and well-mannered protest outside BH ("What do we want? A return to the status quo ante! When do we want it? As soon as conveniently practicable, thank you!") stops off at Curry's to pick up a new DAB radio.
"They would just use it to have slightly lower quality and twice as many stations to reduce the costs."
What's wrong with that? One of the main complaints of DAB is its expensive (for broadcasters) and I expect commercial stations would be all over an improvement that allowed them to place more stations in a mux without any perceptible loss in quality.
This in turn would drive consumer demand because there are a better choice of stations and the sound quality is better and there are less drop outs.
I bought a new fangled Kenwood DAB car head unit with a usb socket that can take a flash drive this week. Was having trouble with analogue reception unless i wanted to listen to BBC radio or Kiss etc only about 4 channels I could get on FM without very bad interferance. The radio came with a new antenna which stuck on the corner of the windscreen but found I was losing reception on the DAB stations on my drive home over the south downs and didnt like the look of it a bit messy. I bought a splitter device that goes behind the head unit for 20 quid and converts the existing car aerial into a DAB one and the signal is much better just cut out a couple of times right in the vallys bits or near big hills. I have noticed some stations have very low bit rate though, one station last night Absolute Rock I think had a 60kbps bit rate which seemed to make the talking sound way too deep and harsh like speaking into a mic thats too close.
Much prefer DAB now as cant seem to get anologue reception very easily, my old sony radio alarm clock is waking me up with horrible static buzzing now because I cant find anything on that either well except for Radio 4 but I dont trust that to wake me up ;)
Lots of places need the "Whip" up for FM. The AM is convenient and gives coverage to small number of places not reached by AM.
1) Old AM Valve Portable Radio using replicated battery packs: 60 to 400 hours and 6p to 12p per hour depending on model. The 1953 to 1960 models only used 25mA @ 1.4V per filament and 6.5mA to 9mA HT depending on model
2) Decent 1965 to 2000+ AM/FM portable transistor or IC set: 60 to 250 hours and typically 1p to 8p per hour depending on Model and loudness.
3) DAB sets : 4 hours (4 x AA some current models) to allegedly 120 (latest Roberts using expensive Alkaline D cells) 5p to 75p per hour. (Lower price assuming cheap supermarket Alkaline, not Energizer/Duracell/Panasonic and Roberts are truthful about consumption).
"... if i like the track it even tells me who is playing."
That information comes up on the dash display of my antiquated Opel Zafira from its crappy old FM unit. Many of the stations round these parts alternate the track info and station ident while they're playing music.
If you want to cheerlead for DAB, at least pick something that cannot be done with FM rather than something that's perfectly possible but just isn't done due to local implementation.
Maybe the Beeb could save money by getting rid of local Beeb radio stations instead?"
Isn't that already in the cost cutting proposals? Not so much getting rid of "local" radio but amalgamating them into "regional" radio instead. On the other hand, they've been doing that for years after about 7pm.
I have one of these Pure portables http://www.pure.com/products/product.asp?Product=vl-60799 when out-and-about. It's rechargeable and I certainly get a day's use out of it. Use it in the car via the phone socket and works along the M4 corridor from Bridgend to Newport but can't vouch for the Intercity to Paddington!
I rarely listen to AM stations and the bedroom radio is a Pure DAB and I have a small DAB in the kitchen. Nation Radio and Nation 80's are not on the FreeSat and a lot of the 80's / 90's stations are only available on DAB.
the two questions to ask are (a) is the BBC going to save much money by switching off some or all of their AM transmission but (b) is there anything sensible that can be done with the FM spectrum?
I'm just not convinced that DAB is sufficiently better than FM to justify trashing all the FM radios that are about and in service. I'm all for progress, but only when it is going to make things better. The move to digital TV is better because we get more channels, better reception, the EPG, etc, but for radio, you just need it to work and for the signal to degrade nicely.
If they want to get rid of AM, that's fine by me. I used to play around with it as a kid when I got my first radio purely because i was fascinated to see what you could get (talk stations and some foreign ones) but I've never used it seriously.
First off, I like DAB. Have a receiver I bought a few years back in the kitchen, and it's great for listening to while I'm cooking.
The only other place I listen to radio is in the car. Herein lies the problem: I don't have a DAB in the car. I am unwilling to go out and buy another radio when FM suits me fine for this. When I'm driving, I don't much care what I'm listening to (within reason). It's just background noise to stop me getting bored on the motorway.
As for AM, I haven't listened to it since I built my first crystal set as a kid. However, I would hate to see it turned off, purely because I want top be able to teach my kids to build a crystal set. It was a fantastic learning experience with an immediately useful result. You wired it up, and you could listen to the radio. Something you built yourself was picking up professionally produced content, and it inspired me to learn HOW it did so. It was probably the first moment I was truly excited to learn, and inspired a lifelong love of electronics.
An animated character called 'D-Love'?!
After that hideous robotic thing that invaded my TV during the digital switchover this might be the tipping point.
Why do people think 'cheeky, loveable, cute, funny, SAFE' children's characters are a suitable marketing ploy or that ANY sane adult will appreciate them ... ?
T-- --obl-- ---h --- --- is ---- --ro-
Oh bugger this *changes back to FM*
I said, the problem with DAB is that, from personal experience, living near to a tree reduces the number of DAB stations from 30-ish to 0. Also, having walls in your house stops the signal. Even thin walls; and if you're round the back of the house even just thinking particularly hard stops the broadcast.
Now you can accuse me of being Too Northern (I live within clear sight of the Cheviots) to get modern radio, but if you're in direct line of sight of a transmitter and simply covering your (extremely expensive and battery gobbling) radio's antenna with your HAND can stop you getting radio signal, then it is hardly a stable and equally provisional service to venerable FM is it now?
"How do you listen to a talk by that nice Mr. Reith in your drawing room while the servants in the kitchen have the Dales and Jimmy in his den freaks out that awful rock and roll?"
You have more than one computer, just like, as you suggest, you have more than one radio.
I have a DAB radio alarm clock tuned to Planet Rock. 50% of the time it wakes me up with the buzzer instead of the radio as it's failed to get a signal. Neither the clock nor the bit of wire out of the back is ever moved. In a moving vehicle I could understand it but my house hasn't budged an inch!
1) 3rd floor flat (top floor), with views across the city in all directions, and DAB was still patchy. My radio alarm clock only picked up signals in the kitchen, which isn't very good for waking me up. The chances of it working down in the street below in a car?
2) Non-synchronised from different devices. When cleaning the house at the weekend (I moved from the flat long ago) the other half and I put on a few radios round the place, all on the same station. If you are folding towels mid way between radios it still sounds normal. DAB can have differences in the seconds range. Not so good for multiple sources.
Can they give up trying to push DAB till they get it working properly.
The sheer waste of FM kit would be incredible, if they bring this in then everyone should take all their kit down to the tip at the same time as the neighbours do it, just to hammer home the message. That should get the greenies upset.
Also there are too many vehicles with kit effectively bonded into the dashboard as an anti-theft measure, i.e. not using radios that just fit into a DIN socket. Even some motorcycles have this and I've tried radio rebroadcasters. They're no good in North London where Ofcom dont give a monkeys about pirate stations and other interference. Where I live we get air traffic control on the little radio in the bathroom cutting over radio 4, I complained to Ofcom and they said they only deal with effects on installations with a fixed antenna, so that's all the portables stuffed.
The standard is no longer applicable and should be changed to join the rest of the world and the buying power that gives, espeically for vehicle based OEM kits. Some better sets that would allow scheduled recording and series link would also be nice for a bit of time shifting but I appreciate that's getting off this issue.
Lastly some staff in our office in New York recently lost their homes due to a spot of rain and wind. A couple of them had emergency kits with things like a battery FM radio to receive essential information on and found them helpful. Now technology might improve so that future digital sets don't require so much power but that's a way off yet. We may think that "it wouldn't happen here" but they thought the same. Given future predicted power supply issues, as well as the risk of adverse weather I'd hate for my wind up radio to be no longer of use when I needed it in the cold and the dark.
I see most of you contributors are from England,
here in Aberdeen we have very poor DAB reception. I have a desk type radio and I live near the centre of Aberdeen the reception on a few channels can only be had right up close to my Kitchen window. I also have a portable DAB radio, I thought it would be good while walking the dog, due to lack of reception I have to hold this in my hand away from my body to make it work. So the conclusion to this discussion for me would be please keep am going or even move my 5Live to FM..I would hate to lose it.
My FM radio cost £15 complete with headphones; it's rechargeable and has subsidiary functions including phone, messaging etc and fits in trouser pocket. I can't wait to ditch it in order to spend £60 on a non-rechargeable brick with worse sound and none of those other facilities. Progress is progress, especially if some cretinous politician deems it such.
"Most homes have more than one radio in different places."
Really? Mine has ... zero, unless you count the one fitted to the car. I can't even remember the last time I listened to actual radio (as opposed to online audio streams) ... but I'm pretty sure it would be in the car, needing to check traffic news. As for DAB: never tried it, never really wanted to beyond the standard geek curiosity about new tech.
Glad to hear the BBC getting rid of legacy budget-drains, though, and hopefully freeing up spectrum for better applications in the process.
AM on medium and long wavebands can at least be received here.
Just a few miles from the FM transmitter, but reception is very weak and without an external amplified aerial, totally unusable.
Internet radio? Yes, use it all the time, but not all BBC stations are available on my Soundbridge internet radio other than by using its presets to pick them up via FM with an amplified aerial several times the size of the Soundbridge itself.
DAB? Do they really expect me to put money into a vastly-expensive DAB radio when the rest of the world has gone for largely-incompatible DAB+ ?
If they cut out AM and FM transmissions, the answer, as far as I'm concerned, is that there'll be no replacement of radios and we'll find other means of getting news and entertainment from elsewhere. Goodbye, BBC! And I'm sure I'll be far from the only one.
says here merseyside was one.. and 600 people complained..
Oh and , I'm with the DAB+ why are we bothering with stupid DAB tech camp.. People didn't need to get forced to watch colour tv, they didn't have to compromise with other issues ( except cost of new equipment), why do we have to have this issue with DAB?
I've tried rebroadcasting devices with my car radio, they're hopeless, so a DAB would effectively mean a new car, like that's going to happen.