Originally posted by: ectophile
I can't seriously imagine the BBC telling all its listeners "Throw away all the new digital radios you've just bought.".
That's exactly what the cultural elite will have us do anyway by abandoning DAB for the improved DAB+ standard, which the older and the cheaper players won't be able to convert to.
This is what "which?" are saying at the moment
"What will happen if DAB+ replaces DAB?"
"If DAB was dropped in favour of DAB+, radios that can't be upgraded to receive the DAB+ signal would become obsolete. However, many newer DAB radios contain a multi-standard chip, so they are DAB+ compatible. Other models with a USB port or wi-fi connectivity may be upgradable in the future.
If DAB+ was adopted in the UK, it's likely that there'd be a period when the two digital systems would run alongside one another. This would allow some stations to be broadcast in the new format and some in the old, giving listeners time to switch to the new standard. We look for DAB+ compatibility in our digital radio tests."
So we are going to end up with two switch-offs that make hardware obsolete. The FM switch-off still officially set at 2015 and the evental switchover from DAB to DAB+.
"Is it worth buying a new digital radio?"
"Don't be put off buying a DAB radio
If you're planning to buy a new digital radio, don't let the news about DAB+ put you off. UK government [DigitalUK a public/private consortium to be correct] seems committed to a DAB, rather than DAB+ future and as a national digital radio switchover from FM to DAB is unlikely before 2015 at the earliest, any potential change to DAB+ looks to be even further off.
A multi-standard chip that's DAB and DAB+ compatible was introduced in 2009. Models fitted with this chip are future proofed for compatibility with DAB+ as well as being compatible with DAB. So DAB+ compatible models, or those that can be upgraded, are already available from many big players in the UK digital radio market, including Pure and Roberts."
So we currently have to buy bloated and energy inefficient hardware capable of meeting the specification for DAB and DAB+ to guarantee that our investment will not be obsolete a few years down the line. The broadcasters will have to modulate and transmit DAB and DAB+ signals in the switchover period which will eventually be needed.
Now the FM switch-off is still officially hanging over us and could currently come at anytime at all post 2015 (presumably after the next general election - as the policy it's not going to be a vote winner). In the meantime the Department of Culture Media and Sport and Ofcom are trying to say as little about it as they can get away with.
I think the cutural elite in this country have to decide exactly what they want to do before the next general election, otherwise a potentially new set of politicians will get bamboozeled by the civil service into the inevitibility of suddenly decommissioning 25 million analog car radios (on the FM band) with little or no warning.
I say take away DigitalUK's cultural monopoly on this and let car driving consumers decide, what they want in their cars the choices are DAB/DAB+ or DRM/DRM+ or continuing with Analog AM/FM.