Information Regarding Digital Radio
About DAB Digital Radio
Until now, analogue radio signals have been subject to numerous kinds of interference on their way from the transmitter to your radio. These problems were caused by mountains, high-rise buildings and weather conditions.
Digital radio, however, uses these effects as reflectors creating multipath reception conditions to optimise receiver sensitivity. Since digital radio always selects the strongest regional transmitter automatically, you'll always be at the focal point of incoming radio signals.
Commercial digital radio receivers have now been on the market since summer 1999. There are now over 150 different DAB digital radio receivers commercially available.
With no more than a simple whip antenna, digital radio users can enjoy pure undistorted sound quality.
Easy programme selection
Rather than searching wavebands as present, users can select all available stations or preferred formats from a simple text menu.
No need to retune on the move
Digital radio eliminates interference and the problem of multipath while in a car. It “blankets” wide geographical areas with an even, uninterrupted signal. Once full services are up and running, a driver will be able to cross an entire country staying tuned to the same station with no signal fade, without altering frequency.
Wide choice of receivers
It is possible to access digital radio services on a wide range of receiving equipment including fixed, mobile and portable radio receivers with displays or screens and even personal computers.
Frequently Asked Questions
We hope that you will find the answer to your questions here
• Why should I buy a DAB radio when I currently receive a good reception on my FM radio?
• Can I get DAB digital radio anywhere in the UK?
• Do I have to pay a subscription to receive DAB digital radio?
• What stations will I get in my area?
• Can I get local stations from other parts of the country?
• Can I take my DAB digital radio abroad and still listen to the same stations?
• Are digital radios easy to use?
• I have a digital display on my existing radio. Isn't this a DAB radio?
• How is DAB Digital radio is different to FM radio?
• How do I tune my DAB digital radio?
• Can I use my existing external TV/FM aerial for receiving DAB digital radio?
• What sort of aerial do I need?
• What is pause and rewind?
• How does installation for in-car products get arranged?
Why should I buy a DAB radio when I currently receive a good reception on my FM radio?
There are a number of digital-only stations available, which you cannot receive via your FM radio. You will also miss out on the benefit of one-touch tuning and text services. Lastly and perhaps most significantly the government is planning to withdraw analogue television services by 2012 and, although no date has yet been published for radio, the expectation is that analogue radio services will follow suite within five years.
Can I get DAB digital radio anywhere in the UK?
Currently about 85% of the UK population is covered. For more information on national commercial digital radio, visit our coverage finder.
Do I have to pay a subscription to receive DAB digital radio?
No. DAB digital radio is free-to-air. There is no subscription, unlike satellite radio.
What stations will I get in my area?
The stations you receive depend on transmitter coverage in your area - as for FM radio, national and local stations are available with local stations transmitting to a restricted area. In addition to existing FM or AM stations now broadcasting digital radio, new stations are being created constantly and some of these stations are unique to digital radio.
To find out whether there is coverage in your area: Click here
Can I get local stations from other parts of the country?
No. You can only receive local stations within their transmitter range.
Can I take my DAB digital radio abroad and still listen to the same stations?
No. DAB digital radio is a terrestrial technology, using land-based transmitters. You can only listen to stations when you are within their transmission range.
Are digital radios easy to use?
Yes, often more so than traditional analogue radios, because there no need to remember frequencies. You also don't have to worry about tuning in to stations in the same way. With digital radio, there's no need to twiddle dials to get the best reception. If your digital radio can pick a station up, it will be tuned in perfectly - and all you need to do is select it by station name to listen.
I have a digital display on my existing radio. Isn't this a DAB radio?
A digital display does not mean that a radio is a DAB digital radio. To receive DAB station and have all the other benefits of DAB (sound quality, ease of use, extra functions), your radio must be a true DAB digital radio, and should therefore have the DAB logo.
How is DAB Digital radio is different to FM radio?
DAB digital radio is different because, instead of being made up of analogue waves, the radio signal is transmitted digitally, as a series of 'zeros and ones'. You don't need a satellite dish to receive digital radio, just an aerial positioned in the correct place. Traditional FM analogue radio waves are sensitive to noise or distortion from electrical equipment or the atmosphere.
How do I tune my DAB digital radio?
DAB digital radios work by selecting the name of the station from a list displayed on the text screen - you don't need to remember any frequencies. DAB digital radios allow you to scroll through a list of available stations, select the station of your choice, press the select button and be instantly tuned in. The waves can bounce off tall buildings and hills and become interrupted or distorted.
As DAB digital radio uses digital signals, with plenty of extra information transmitted to allow the tuner to fill in any missing bits, the DAB signal does not suffer from the same problems as the FM signal. If you live in a weak signal area, you'll find that, even with all that extra information, the sound sometimes breaks up. If you live in a strong signal area, you'll find you have uninterrupted listening without 'drop-outs'.
A consortium of 12 partners, known as EUREKA-147, developed DAB digital radio; the system was originally called Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) and this is still used to distinguish a true DAB receiver from all other radio receivers. In 1994, Eureka-147 was adopted as a world standard and, today, most of the world has either implemented the standard or is currently testing it. The exceptions are the United States, which has embraced both satellite digital radio and High Definition radio, and Japan where cable is the chosen method of delivery for new radio formats.
Can I use my existing external TV/FM aerial for receiving DAB digital radio?
Your existing aerial may not work, but give it a try. Your FM or TV aerial is not concentrated in the DAB range, so the only advantage a TV or FM aerial may give you is if it's mounted high up on the roof of the house.
Some DAB stations can be received by plugging a standard FM or TV aerial into a DAB radio, but the best reception will always be via a dedicated DAB aerial.
What sort of aerial do I need?
Your Digital radio will come with an indoor aerial, either a ribbon dipole or a standard telescopic aerial.
The aerial supplied should work well if you're within DAB coverage area, however if you're listening in a basement, or your building is steel-framed, or reinforced concrete, you might need an external aerial. As a rule of thumb, if you already have poor FM or mobile phone reception, chances are you'll need an external aerial. But first, see if placing the radio near to a window improves reception.
To obtain the best results from an external aerial, either use a dipole (omni directional aerial - should work well for moderate to strong signal levels provided it is vertically polarised) or, in exceptional circumstances, a Yagi (which has a much higher gain than a dipole, but is directional - best suited where reception is poor and all transmitters are in the same direction). The Yagi aerial must be pointed at the transmitters.
All DAB dipole aerials must be vertically polarised. The higher the aerial is mounted, the better reception you will receive. You should find a qualified aerial installer in your local Yellow Pages, but make sure they understand you want a DAB aerial, not an FM or TV aerial.
What is pause and rewind?
How many times has your favourite radio station been interrupted by a phone call or a knock at the door?
Now with a single press of a button you can put your favourite station on hold.
After the interruption simply press the button and listen from the point at which you left. So you never miss a single word! Radio stations can effectively be put on hold for typically 20 minutes but can be up to 40 minutes depending on the station you are listening to.
How does installation for in-car products get arranged?
We have negotiated a nationwide installation contract to enable units purchased from our website to be fitted wherever you are in mainland UK. We instruct our installer when we ship the goods to you and they will then call you to arrange a convenient date and location for installation (e.g. either your home or office). Installation should then occur at the agreed time and date, within a week of the booking being made.