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Topic Title: Analogue FM vs DAB vs DAB+ vs DRM+ vs Internet Radio
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Created On: 15 May 2013 02:53 PM
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 15 May 2013 02:53 PM
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The battle of the radio broadcast standards will definitely begin to play out in the next few years.

DAB looks like a certain loser (if I were a bookie I wouldn't be taking bets on that), as Analogue FM, DAB+, DRM+ and Internet Radio can all better and more cheaply foster their own niches here in the UK.

Unlike Betamax video players DAB receivers will still work on the Analogue FM band, so people will not have entirely wasted their money (altough their energy bills will be larger than they otherwise could be) as long as the cultural elite don't ram through their irrational programme to switch off all national Analogue FM broadcasts in 2015 or shortly afterwards.



"3. When DAB coverage is not possible, to use DRM as defined in ETSI ES 201 980 for digital radio broadcasting in the frequency bands currently used for analogue radio broadcasting;"

Read "not possible" as economically uncompetitive.

If this recommendation is agreed across Europe, it will effectively mean that all DAB broadcasts are likely to cease outside large conurbations as a combination of analogue FM and DRM+ (broadcast via the same transmitters) continues to reign supreme for in-vehicle listening.

Remember all mobile phone radios are Analogue FM receivers because of the low power requirements. DAB would be hopeless in mobile phones, from an energy consumption point of view.

The question is how will people will be able to receive DRM/DRM+ in the UK if the authorities don't allow these receiver capabilities to be added to the minimum vehicle and non-vehicle UK radio receiver specifications.

I found reference to above EBU document on the "Q&A Digital or FM" page on the following website

It also says that Norway is going to make a 3 or 4 digital channel DRM+ broadcast trial transmission in Trondheim on 94.0 MHz


James Arathoon

James Arathoon
 15 May 2013 10:23 PM
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I have at last found a mention of DRM+ in government reports at the Department of Culture Media and Sport. It does not mention the trial of DRM+ in Edinburgh.

"Role of other digital platforms: Digital radio action plan report"

see page 16

"4.3 Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) and DRM+
DRM was developed as a digital broadcasting technology for use in the bands of spectrum currently used for AM (short wave, medium wave and long wave) to complement the role of DAB. It has now been standardised in Europe, and it is likely that India and Russia will adopt DRM.

DRM is the replacement for SW/MW radio and provides better audio quality using low bit rates. A BBC consumer trial in 2007 found that whilst the service was more resilient than MW during the daytime, reception at night-time suffered from interference.

A version of DRM (known as DRM+) is also being developed for use in the VHS bands including the Band II frequencies currently used by FM radio. Trials of the DRM system are ongoing. DRM+ offers a 'multiplexed' version of the original DRM standard, principally as a candidate technology for the long term replacement of services in the FM bands.

There are no current plans to use DRM+ in the UK."

James Arathoon
 17 May 2013 01:57 AM
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Ofcom examines communications services across the UK in a new report

See full print version pdf at bottom of page, a quote from it is given below. I wouldn't describe the enthusiam for further DAB rollout as being overwhelming. They definitely put the ball firmly in hands of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The conclusion is if you want further roll out of DAB lots of public money will be needed, and even if you spend money on this people can get their digtial radio in the home in other ways.


3.53 Radio also provides access to news, political, educational, cultural and community programmes and is a valued source of entertainment. Digital radio offers benefits to consumers in terms of the number of channels available, the quality of the audio, improved station selection and enhanced features such as scrolling radio text and the potential (with compatible equipment) to pause or rewind live programming.

3.54 However, the most popular radio channels are also available via analogue radio, which provides near-ubiquitous service. Moreover, the availability of DAB digital radio is not necessarily required for most digital radio channels as they are available via digital-television platforms and the internet (although these do not provide access to services in as portable and mobile a manner as DAB)."

DAB digital radio does not have uniform coverage across the United Kingdom. In general England has much better coverage than other parts of the United Kingdom.

James Arathoon

James Arathoon
 17 May 2013 04:18 PM
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It's interesting that a number of DAB broadcasts are now lowering the bit rate and using mono rather than stereo. So much for 'high quality stereo reception'. - and I just love the 'motor boat' effect. Is that intentional or trying to emulate the fading effect of AM?
At least the radio DVB broadcasts are better quality.

 17 May 2013 09:31 PM
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I wonder if some enterprising HiFi company is going to start selling a Freeview radio receiver, to use as part of a high quality audio system.

It looks like DAB radio is suffering from the same problem as much Freeview TV - the bit rate has been lowered to the bare minimum to squeeze as many channels in as possible.

S P Barker BSc PhD MIET

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