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Old 20th June 2009, 02:33 PM   #1
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Thumbs down UK FM broadcasts to cease in 2015

Quote:
The UK Government published its final Digital Britain report today with a number of actions to secure DAB digital radio as the primary radio broadcast platform in the UK. It proposes all national radio stations will be transmitted on DAB-only within 6 years, signalling the end of national FM services in the UK.
Who do we write to to get this changed?
How do we create a protest?
How much will the sound quality deteriorate at the reception end if we allow this to happen?
How long before the local FM radio stations will be forced to move to DAB?
How much will the commercialisation of the DAB bandwidth force the broadcasters to reduce the quality of the DAB service to even worse than it is now?
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Old 20th June 2009, 04:41 PM   #2
Gopher is offline Gopher  United Kingdom
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Andrew

Much as I agree with your sentiments I feel I must point out the following:

1. Commercial radio stations are not in business to furnish you with high quality music. They're in business to make money through advertising.

2. The Advertisers don't give a monkey whether their advert is in hi fidelity or not, t sells the same number of products.

3. Have you actually listened to FM radio recently? It's 99% garbage. Ultra compressed beatbox muzak. How much worse can it get??
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Old 20th June 2009, 05:15 PM   #3
Colin is offline Colin  United Kingdom
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Hm, given that they need to get a certain percentage of the audience onto digital before FM closes, I think it's going to take a lot longer than 2015. It's not like TV, where most homes have two or three sets at most. FM radios are all over - in the car, the caravan, on your mobile phone. DAB penetration so far is feeble, despite all the Beeb's advertising.

And a number of commercial players have moved away from DAB this year. That's going to be an entertaining U-turn.

I like FM (R3 anyway) but compared to internet radio it is limited (and some of the streams are good quality). I also happen to use and like DAB, but my two DAB sets are for bedroom and kitchen use. It's not hi-fi.

Where DAB manufacturers have got it right is in making their sets easy to use, with presets and in some cases built in recording facilities.

I suspect someone will come up with a gadget to stream digital radio and internet sound to existing FM receivers. (I now await with interest for someone to tell me it's already out there.)
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Old 21st June 2009, 09:40 AM   #4
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gopher
.............
3. Have you actually listened to FM radio recently?.............
Quote:
Originally posted by Colin
................ I also happen to use and like DAB, but my two DAB sets are for bedroom and kitchen use. It's not hi-fi............
if I am not actively playing/listening to music then I am usually listening to FM, probably averaging 5hrs a day.

Dab is so easily compressed to fit more channels into the bandwidth that as it becomes compulsory the quality will drop further.
It's already not High Fidelity. How much worse can/will it get?
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Old 21st June 2009, 10:55 AM   #5
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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Looks like the Beeb are trying to avoid writing off their investment in DAB by forcing everyone to buy rubbish nobody wants. But, as pointed out, there are lots of radios out there and there has been a precedent for forcing retraction - remember the R4 long wave campaign? Time for a R3 on VHF campaign...
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Old 21st June 2009, 12:20 PM   #6
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Read "Turning Off the Television" Jock Given, UNSW Press 2003

http://www.amazon.com/Turning-Off-Te.../dp/0868405000

It discusses in great detail the debates surrounding conversion of analogue broadcast formats to digital, specifically in Australia but the issues are universal.

Disclaimer: Jock is an old friend of mine. More importantly he is also a professor specialising in communications policy.
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Old 23rd June 2009, 07:20 AM   #7
owen is offline owen  United Kingdom
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DAB was fine as a mass market medium, but WiFi radio has/is replacing it rapidly within those homes who already have a wifi hotspot.

The streams can be very good quality, and gone are the 'frequency' issues of dear old analog. However, it does not address the portability issues , or the 'proposed' broadband taxation here in the UK which will both keep uptake low.

Many homes now are able to recieve 'digital' radio - through thier set top boxes (or satellite recievers, or more modern TV's) - they just arent used in that way yet.

I have a dab radio, and at best, it is suitable for the kitchen. HiFi it isnt even on high qulity streams. I've even (out of interest) fed the digital out into my dac.

Appalling, would be the nicest thing I could say about it.

People are getting used to higher quality portable sound (Thanks Apple ) they will want thier 'radio' to do likewise...


just my 2 cents



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Old 23rd June 2009, 09:00 AM   #8
Colin is offline Colin  United Kingdom
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I've listened to Radio Barton via the interweb and thought the quality very good. I think it was 320kb or thereabouts. In fact it was streaming an opera from the New York Met the same evening as Radio 3 so I fed it through my receiver and couldn't tell the difference. I have yet to try the same experiment with my Naim tuner.

So yes, DAB is beginning to feel like an interim technology, in much the same way these low energy bulbs are a stopgap until LEDs take over.

btw, I've never understood the complaints about FM. Even here in the hills it's always been good. But the usual 3 priorities apply - aerial, aerial, aerial.
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Old 23rd June 2009, 09:19 AM   #9
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I think the crucial thing isn't the sound quality, which will be good enough for most people, but the fact that DAB isn't a World standard.

The DAB format has been pushed VERY hard by the BBC with a lot of leaning on the government, largely because they chose the wrong format a long time ago and must to continue to back it. Commercially it is a disaster, with many of the license holders pulling out.

So where does that leave people like the car industry? Fitting different radios for the UK against Europe, Japan, USA? Your radio no longer works when you go on holiday to France, who use a different frequency range, or Italy who'll be using DAB+?

Germany have announced switching it off.

French cars would pick up only non-public comms frequencies when they come to the UK (which won't be any more legal than listening in to vhf above 106 without a license is now)?

So I reckon that cars may ignore DAB completely and go for building in a 3g internet connection which will give the driver all the other advantages of mobile online services.

We have had VHF as world transmission standard for over fifty years, and not just for entertainment - comms, navigation beacons, emergency services, the lot. The whole world has agreed the standard and their frequencies and a consumer set, a ship or aircraft radio, or a Nav set will work anywhere.
DAB will stop at the Isle of Wight
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Old 23rd June 2009, 09:39 AM   #10
Colin is offline Colin  United Kingdom
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Excellent point. The Govt/Beeb's Fortress Britain mentality strikes again.
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