Death of DAB?

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infocus
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Joined: Jul 18 2003

Whilst looking for something else, I came across this page on which the most obvious news is Finland discontinuing using the DAB system. According to this page, Canada has already scrapped DAB (that WAS a surprise!), and except in the UK and Denmark it doesn't appear to be going anywhere. The site is very scathing about the UK approach generally: eg, quote "At this rate the only countries that will end up implementing DAB will be the ones that had a large hand in developing the DAB system, which would pretty much prove the point that they're only sticking with DAB because of pride. Indeed, for countries that have sold few DAB radios (which is every country other than in the UK -- where it has been very heavily advertised on TV by the BBC) there is actually no good reason whatsoever to use DAB, ...... Basically, any country that only uses DAB (other than the UK, which is now basically a lost cause due to the BBC's, the Radio Authority's (now under Ofcom), and the Government's incompetence) is just cutting off its own nose to spite its face."

I've heard quite a few comments about dissatisfaction with DAB recently, and in that light, the page linked to ( here ) seems to give a very well reasoned (and damning) argument to say that in the UK we are being heavily short changed. For just one short example, quote: "The vast majority of DAB receivers in the market today are mono portable radios with a small speaker. Therefore, any "market research" that tries to suggest that the audio quality on DAB is good enough can safely be disregarded, because these devices are incapable of producing hi-fi sound, and the results do not represent an accurate picture of "normal" radio listening." Which brings up an interesting point, the only DAB receivers normally seen on sale are these "portable" receivers - just where are all the car and hi-fi sets that DAB was originally envisaged for? Could it be that manufacturers see it not worth putting in too much effort developing something that they realistically see as never going much beyond the UK?

Elsewhere on the original link are given RAJAR listening figures for the digital radio stations. I wasn't expecting them to have high figures..... but was still surprised how miniscule they are, so long after the introduction of the services! The one figure they never give is average audience ("reach" gives much more impressive numbers.....), but it's possible to work it out - and doing the sums for 1xtra gives an average figure of just over 6,500!

How the BBC can then say that it won't spend money on HDTV transmission - " It would be hard to justify the necessary investment of licence fee to initially serve a small number of consumers " - when it is so obviously doing just that for what appears to be (from the RAJAR figures) such a small, and now declining, number of digital radio listeners, even years after the introduction of the services, is totally beyond me. The above quote comes from a lecture by Andy Quested on behalf of the BBC at the Sweet HD festival in Edinburgh last year. Perhaps if anybody on these boards should know Mr Quested, they may like to see what his take is on this? I, for one, do not feel my licence fee to be being well spent.