Volkswagen to fit DAB radio as standard
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Volkswagen to fit DAB radio as standard

VW will be installing DAB Digital Radio as standard in all new cars from next year, with the new Beetle already equipped.

Vauxhall have also committed to the same timescale, with Ford saying the majority of new vehicles will include DAB by the end of 2013.

Ed Vaizey, MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries has welcomed the development: “This is fantastic news from Volkswagen and to be welcomed. People love listening to the radio in their cars and fitting digital means drivers and passengers will be able to enjoy the great range of stations on offer.”

VW, together with Ford and Vauxall, they represent 35% of annual new vehicles sold.

The vehicle industry has been asked by Government to prepare for a transition to digital radio, and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said it expects its members to include digital radio as standard in most vehicles by the end of 2013.

Radio listening in cars currently accounts for 20% of all listening, but digital radios are in fewer than 5% of cars today. In March 2012, 23% of new cars were fitted with digital radio as standard, compared with just 10% a year ago (CAP/SMMT).

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK says: “This announcement from VW confirms the increasing popularity of digital radio in-car and follows their research which showed high satisfaction from drivers with digital radio in their car. We would recommend that everyone in the radio industry gets digital radio in their car – it will transform your listening experience.”

VW says: “Digital radio not only offers listeners clear, crackle-free sound, but it also gives them a bigger choice of radio stations than is available through conventional FM or AM broadcasts alone. Listening options range from specialist music stations to comedy, current affairs and, of course, the all-important cricket coverage.”



0 9 89 18 May, 2012 Digital Radio News Friday, May 18th, 2012

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Roy Martin is Managing Editor and Founder of RadioToday. Follow him on Twitter @roymartin.

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9 comments

  1. Artiprod

    DAB in my Tiguan fantastic sound I highly recomend it only those who can’t afford it slag it off IMHO

    Reply
  2. Radio Geordie

    The strength of the DAB signals depends on four factors:
    1:  Where you live
    2:  Who owns the platform
    3:  Where the transmitters are
    4:  How strong the signal is.

    The BBC platform is the best for signal coverage as they have twice the number of transmitters than Digital One.

    If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where both regional & local platforms exist, again, the regional platforms usually have better coverage than the local platforms.  For the best coverage, both local and regional areas should be merged to get the best possible signal.

    Not surprisingly, its also about where you live.  A story a couple of weeks back proves it when a new transmitter was switched on so that now 99% of people who live inside the M25 should now be able to recieve DAB.  Fair enough if you live in London, but that’s only about a fifth of the population.  Why should the other four fifths of the population suffer.

    Despite the BBC having the best coverage area, even that is still prone to breaking up.

    As DAB uses VHF Band 3 (the old TV frequencies before they transferred to UHF), for DAB to cover the areas properly, they should be using the old band 3 TV transmitter network to carry the DAB signals.  Maybe they should also be using the same signal strength that the TV used to use.  As I understand it, the more power the signal has, the more likely the radio would be able to recieve it.

    Reply
    1. MB

      The other four-fifths of the population are not going to suffer. The BBC has committed to building another 174 transmitters across the UK by 2015 (to take the national indoor coverage up to 97.4%).

      Reply
  3. Radio Geordie

    In reply to MB:
    Yes I was aware of those additional BBC transmitters but that list won’t be complete until 2017.  Even then, there will still be black spots in their coverage.

    The point was that with the exception of the BBC, many areas have little or no DAB coverage.  In fact, there are parts of Scotland that probably never will have a DAB signal such as in a 50 square mile radius where the ratio is one man for every 100 sheep.

    It’s like many things.  If you live in London, all well and good.  Outside of London, tough shit.

    In addition to my comment:
    There were also a number of areas awarded DAB licences in 2008/9 which have still to launch.  With OFCOM’s lax approach, they may not launch for at least another year or two.  Its also not a surprise that many of the services which were supposed to be broadcast on those platforms have been withdrawn because of either lack of funds, or more through frustration at how long it was taking to get the licence activated.

    Ironic then that Ofcom hoped that DAB would offer the listener more choice.  Unfortunatley, many of these platforms will offer the same crap that’s already available in other areas.  Some choice – crap, crap and more crap.

    Reply

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