Sunday, July 4, 2010

Going Digital

In 2015 the UK goes digital on the airwaves, problem being of course that no-one is really ready for it, particularly motorists. Most people know about the change to tv's a lot of people have bought digital tv's or use Sky/Virgin to get their signals anyway. However in 2015 the fm/am radio signals will be switched off and unless you have a digital radio receiver you wont be able to get any radio channels at all. This will be a particular problem for motorists, though there are plans to have all new cars from 2013 fitted with digital radio's. For the rest of us, well we'll have to shell out for either a new radio, not as easy as it could be as many cars use a propriety style to match the interior as Ford do, so a new radio would look out of place. Or you have to buy an adaptor that fits onto the windscreem bit like a sat nav assembly.
Even then your problems are just beginning. You're out of pocket and you discover that picking up a digital signal in a car is tricky as the network is patchy to say the least, you move around, you lose the signal, even moving a few metres, never mind a few miles.
This was of course a Labour idea, they planned to sell off the fm frequencies to telecom companies and so have landed the new government with a problem, something I doubt they'll do anything about, it'll be one of those done and dusted things that Labour used as part of their scorched earth strategy. Oh yes and the new transmitters required? Guess who pays for many of them out of the license fee, yep, that would be us, stiffed with the bill for Labour's plans again.

I foresee the rise of pirate radio again.

10 annotations:

DerekP said...

"I foresee the rise of pirate radio again."

Good.

James Higham said...

As if we didn't have enough problems.

tris said...

Why don't the Tories just cancel it?

It's a bloody idiotic idea to begin with, left in the hands of the BBC it will probably be a mess, as the tv is. I can hardly get a picture at all.

Like everything else here...a complete b***s up.

Oh to be Norwegian.

English Pensioner said...

I needed a new radio for my study and thought that I'd try one of these newfangled DAB radios and I'm not impressed.
The reception is far worse than for my old FM radio, and not a patch on the one that is part of my Hi-Fi system. It is subject to far more interference, just like the digital TV channels.
The controls are awful, although of course this might just be a problem of this particular model. Whereas with my Sony FM radio I can select a station by simply pressing a button to go up or down a few selections, (and have my most used stations close together so generally only a couple of clicks is necessary, on this new DAB radio, I have to push the "select station button", and then click my way from No 1 until I reach the one required. No simple move up or down a station!
And if/when the radio spectrum is vacated, what is it going to be used for? It is below the aircraft band, which as far as I know is staying put, and it is unlikely to be wanted by telecoms companies. The days when it might have been wanted for mobile communications have long gone, so why all this trouble and cost? After all, there's nothing in it for British manufacturers, all the radios are being made in the Far East, so why help their economies?

John R said...

There are only two choices:

1 Cancel the whole stupid idea, save money, eliminate disruption etc. Carry on as we are.

or

2 See the effective end of broadcast in-car radio entertainment...have these numpties never heard of FM connected MP3 players to provide music, talkshow podcasts, audio books etc in a car? or even CDs, cassettes etc?

I really cannot see many people spending a small fortune to replace a perfectly good FM radio with a non-functional pile of digital crap just because Sir Humphrey and his mates at the Beeb says so.

Epic fail - as with any government mandated technology standard.

Woman on a Raft said...

I will be sorry to lose the car radio as it is the one time I really like to be able to have that sense of being in touch.

However, I've been meaning to learn Italian and I've got the CDs, so without the distraction of shouting at R4, I will have no excuse for failing to practice.

I expect I'll have more blogging time when they switch the telly off too.

It will be strange; like going back to a time before BBC Radio, let alone TV, existed, but with a cinema-equivalent in my home.

Mrs Rigby said...

If the DAB is as reliable as that of mobile phones there'll be a lot of disgruntled people. Never really understood the need to 'change' from FM etc, apart from it being 'because they could'.

Furor Teutonicus said...

I used to have an old valve radio, an Eddystone. Apparently it was standard kit in Lancaster bombers at one time.

On that, from Wirral, I could get Moscow, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm,... in fact if you look at all those old radios you will see all those names on the control panel, and you actualy COULD receive them. When the weather was right, I could even pick up Canada and the U.S North West coast stations.

Then I got a bog standard, but high quality FM/AM/SW transistorised gubbins.

You had to be bloody lucky to get radio MANCHESTER, let alone Ankara, Sofia, and all the others.

Digital? No bloody thank you. Every "advance" they offer us is a step backwards in radio as far as I have experienced.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Of course, perhaps that is the dictatorships idea?

They don't want no one listening to no damn subversive foreign news, they may start getting all uppity about how crap their OWN dictatorship is.

John R said...

@Furor T..."They don't want no one listening to no damn subversive foreign news"

For now anyway, they've forgotten about t'internet. There's more nasty, uncontrolled foreign news and views pouring out of the PC than ever came out of the radio, FM, AM or otherwise. Unless they try the Chinese/Aussie Great Firewall trick then it's pretty hard to stop as well.

So in a few years it'll be cheerio to the BBC in the car and at home (not spending oodles on outdated, UK-only, broken technology) and hello to streaming everything - via a VPN if they make it difficult.

They lose again.