Terrestrial radio broadcasting must make the switchover from analogue to digital to keep up with consumer demand and expectations. Digital audio broadcasting (DAB), especially in its upgraded version DAB+, is a green technology that offers many benefits. Broadcasters can save up to 90% of their distribution costs while having up to five times more channels on air because DAB makes more efficient use of spectrum. At the same time it is crucial for broadcasters, and society as a whole, to keep a reliable and cheap network alongside the internet.
Consumers enjoy better sound, a wider choice of radio stations, easy tuning and new features like text information and other multimedia content. This comes without additional reception costs, and modern digital radio devices consume less energy than today's radios.
Industries will also benefit from digital radio, be it with the equipment of connected cars, or with new business models arising via the combination of broadcast and broadband. However industry seeks to have one European standard only - which is a strong reason to lobby for DAB+.
Governments see the advantages of digital radio in enhanced traffic security and as an emergency warning system. But public transport and any other logistical business can also benefit from the cheap distribution of real-time information via DAB+.
The EBU is a founding member of the European Digital Radio Alliance.
More information on digital radio technical recommendations can be found on the Digital Radio page on tech.ebu.ch.
With our digital radio initiative, we wish to:
Our Smart Radio initiative promotes free-to-air radio on all mobile devices, especially on smartphones. Started in Europe, the campaign calls for broadcast-equipped smartphones worldwide, and cooperates closely with the Universal Smart-Phone initiative, started in the UK.
Having FM and DAB/DAB+ chips implemented ensures a smooth transition from analogue to digital radio. It also promotes a complementary hybrid environment where broadcasters and broadband suppliers work together to deliver multimedia content to consumers; this includes new business models as well.
While the term 'digital radio' refers to all digital platforms that allow listeners to access radio services, in Europe it generally refers to two families of terrestrial broadcasting: digital audio broadcasting (DAB) family, which includes DAB and DAB+, and the digital radio mondiale (DRM) family, which includes DRM and DRM+.
Beside these, there are other digital systems not specifically designed for radio that can be used to transport audio (eg a TV satellite multiplex). Internet radio is also to be considered as part of a hybrid broadcast/broadband approach.
We launched Smart Radio (formerly known as Euro-Chip) together with the heads of public service radio in France, French-speaking Belgium, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom all signing the memorandum of understanding. Commercial broadcasters have also been part of the conversation from the outset. More are joining, and we are already in talks with carmakers, mobile phone and device manufacturers, chipset manufacturers and network operators.
WorldDAB is the global industry forum for digital radio, facilitating the adoption and implementation of broadcast digital radio based on DAB, DAB+ and DMB, the digital radio standards of choice for broadcasters across Europe, Asia Pacific and other regions.
RadioDNS provides the DNS lookup in a hybrid radio environment which enables additional services and applications to be built. The consortium promotes a set of open standards to enhance the listening experience.
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Speaking at the WorldDAB General Assembly, Dixon encouraged the audience to reflect on information sources in the 21st Century.
DAB+, hybrid radio and European digitalization strategies on the agenda at the European Radio Forum held at the invitation of Dr. Barbara Stanisławczyk-Żyła, President of the Board and Editor-in-Chief of Polskie Radio in Krakow on 6 October.