Why DAB is the future of radios [s]

Recently I got the chance to look a bit at DAB radio category, from Tesco, and asked myself if they are worth the money. DAB stands for Digital Audio Broadcasting or digital radio and it is meant to be the future of radio consumption.

Although it may take some years to overtake FM radios, DAB is promising to deliver more quality, more information about what you are listening and you can squeeze in more channels than with FM. The main reasons you don’t see DAB radios everywhere is due to the smaller number of DAB stations (about 1000+ in the entire World) and a smaller number of such radios. The good thing is that in UK alone there are about 12 million DABv1 radio users, which is a sizeable amount.

Since most like to have a wide range of channel choices, in Norway, for example, the rural areas received 21 channels in 2006. Up until then they had received only 6 channels over FM. One of the things that makes this technology interesting is the sound quality for which you need to have at least 196kbps or even 256 kbps (uses MP2 audio compression format which is meant to offer CD sound quality).

Yes, I know about the fact that sound is poor in several situations, and this is because the nice guys at the radio stations offer stereo with only 128kbps and mono with as low as 64kbps. One thing to note is that DAB, as a concept, can offer much more, but radio stations have to be more customer focused and offer the quality we all demand.

In the World about 40 countries have digital radio stations and I am glad that Romania has two such stations in Bucharest.

Is there any hype about DAB? Honestly, you won’t hear about it each day, but some of the Hi-Fi systems come with DAB+ (next gen) embedded, which is a sign that manufacturers want to push more in this direction. About 67% of people who listed to digital radio in UK are doing this through DAB radios and the rest are listening via TV or internet. As an aside note, BBC is the most listened digital radio and 25% of cars in UK have DAB enabled radios installed.

The guys as Tesco did not looked at the fact that not too many countries use this radio and are selling a few of these. Not all are top notch and, from the reviews I could read here and there, it seems that the Pure One Elite Portable Stereo DAB/FM Radio is among the most liked ones. See the Quora posts on this.

The Pure One Elite allows you to save and rewind the broadcast to listen to it when you can. The teletext offers some extra info, like time, soundtrack and so on. Although DAB radios are not cheaper than FM radios, the digital in their word tells a lot, since it can carry a lot more information and, of course, freedom of choice.

Check below the quick review of the above mentioned DAB radio and tell me what is your experience with your DAB radio. Mostly I see that UK is really heavy into this types of radios. And yes, it deserves the price it asks, given the fact that the prices start from 40 GBP.

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