With its first channel broadcasting in 1995, DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) radio seems to be a late comer to the game in terms of broadcast radio. With FM as the looming giant of the broadcast industry, and satellite radio being the main alternative, it is unfortunate that people have overlooked this cheap and excellent alternative to the established trends. People just aren’t getting rid of their analogue radios as quickly as they should, but with the digital switchover on the TV front here in the UK, is it time to switch over to a portable DAB radio too?
UK readers will be the most familiar with this option though it has made little headway anywhere else. This is unusual, however, as the many boons to using DAB very quickly outweigh the benefits of FM. Firstly, Digital Broadcast Radio allows for more station density; in layman’s terms: close frequencies no longer interfere with eachother with this technology – meaning more stations and less interference. Secondly, users of DAB radios will no longer be forced to listen to the whining hiss that plagues many FM receivers. Among many other sound quality enhancements, this particular feature of DAB makes radio sound just like playing off a CD.
Last, and most importantly, it is important to point out the many features that digital broadcasting can supply to listeners beyond the music. Digital broadcasting allows information about the song, such as artist, genre, and recommended titles to be streamed directly with the music. Information can be given beyond the music as well, giving you traffic updates on your current route. Most impressively, The DAB radio can also be used, similar to TIVO, to pause and record broadcasts as they happen. Ended your trip just as your favourite song came on? Simply hit pause, and listen to it as soon as you return to your car. DAB radios are like DVRs for the good old wireless, it really is a revolution.
With these many features, it is a wonder that the DAB radio has not become a more widely used technology than the aging FM in the twenty years since its invention. As new advancements in the world of technology come to light, DAB has become a cheaper alternative as well, suggesting the FM’s days may be numbered. The digital switchover in radio has begun, get on board!