Wednesday 11 June 2014

British motor journalist looks beyond DAB radio

DAB radio: dead on arrival?
Slowly, slowly we're seeing more digital radios in cars. But the glacial pace is allowing smarter alternatives to catch up, writes Nick Gibbs in the motor section of the British newspaper Telegraph. With still no switch-off date for analogue AM/FM radio announced and new technologies closing fast, there’s a serious concern that all the (predominantly taxpayers’) cash still being spent on broadening the network will be for nought.

But while digital take-up is still in take-off mode, another technology is moving much faster, and offering far more choice than the digital radio (there are just 14 national commercial stations, with no room for any more). Radio via the internet is still its infancy, especially in cars where 3G coverage for internet-enabled smartphones comes and goes. Still though, mainstream makers like Ford are working to bring internet radio to the dashboard, for example with an app on its touchscreen called RadioPlayer that offers all the UK stations.

Some in-car apps claim to giving access to 10,000 stations worldwide, but the revolution will come with 4G connectivity. And if 4G coverage looks a bit Spartan now, it soon won’t be. When communications regulator Ofcom announced the winners of the 4G licences last year, it promised 4G coverage for “almost the whole UK population” by the end of 2017.

If, when FM is finally switched off, we’re all listening to internet radio, the under-used digital network will become an expensive albatross around the Government’s neck, and the squawking about that will be hard to miss, believes Nick Gibbs.

Read the full story:

DAB Radio: Dead on arrival? in the Telegraph: