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Digital radio trial extended

By johnboy - 28 August 2013 29

digital radio

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has the happy news for the glorious few digital radio listeners that your shiny new radio is going to keep working:

Digital radio trials in Canberra and Darwin have been extended until August 2014.

Without this extension these digital radio trials (and the services provided under them) would have ceased on 31 August 2013.

‘The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s extension of these digital radio trials will allow further testing of DAB+ digital radio technology,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

‘The extension further underscores our commitment to trialling new radiocommunications technologies.

‘Planning for the introduction of digital radio in regional Australia is still under development. The results of these trials are expected to continue to make a valuable contribution.

‘It is important to note, however, that trial licences confer no longer-term rights over the spectrum in question. The spectrum is only being provided for technology trials,’ Mr Chapman added.

The trials are being conducted by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), and the ABC and SBS are active participants in the Canberra trial. The range of services being broadcast on the trials are determined by CRA.

While generally the ACMA limits trials to a maximum duration of 12 months, it considered that the testing program outlined by CRA is likely to continue to inform future planning of digital radio services in regional Australia where the challenges present very differently to those in metropolitan topographics.

The main beneficiaries seeming to be ABC fans who don’t like the cricket.

[Photo by Highways Agency CC BY 2.0]

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29 Responses to
Digital radio trial extended
StrangeAttractor 12:11 pm 28 Aug 13

StrangeAttractor said :

I find it’s most useful when ABC newsradio on FM is broadcasting the bloody house of Reps all day, digital radio still has the newsfeed!

Actually, I forgot, this was in Sydney, we don’t have newsradio on digital in Canberra yet.

Grrrr 12:04 pm 28 Aug 13

DAB would be alright if it wasn’t for the lousy-sounding low bitrates. The broadcasters squeezing in as many channels as they can and don’t care about degrading the audio across them all. Great new technology, crippled to sound worse than analog FM. You get much higher bitrates from Internet radio stations.

On a related matter – each of the commercial TV stations in canberra now have 2 ‘shopping’ channels in their MUX. They devote about a third of their stream to crap that anyone with half a clue removes from their TV’s favourites/channels, so we don’t even see it in the list. Stop stealing bandwidth from decent shows, jerks!

ToastFliesRED 11:26 am 28 Aug 13

Video may have at least initially killed the radio star http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Killed_the_Radio_Star

but has radio (digital or not) been killed by podcasts and live internet radio feeds? Internet radio (at least for me) still suffers from lag but where reception is available I can listen to music streams of any specific genre or a podcast. it almost seems like audio cassettes being caught in the middle between vinyl and CDs but then again, whatever media people choose to access different media or news should be an option, hell if people still want to converse in Morse code then why not, why place restrictions as long as data/information is interoperable and available to all

Roundhead89 11:18 am 28 Aug 13

caf said :

puggy said :

…and Canberra, as ever, is considered a non-metro area.

I find that the situation is more nuanced – Canberra is a non-metro area when infrastructure is being rolled out to metro areaas, but is a metro area when pork is being doled out to non-metro areas.

Sorry to double post but old timers like me can remember before 1975 when we had only one commercial radio station – 2CA – while Hobart had three and even lowly Launceston had had two for many years. I always said it was because Tasmania had five marginal electorates and was constantly being pork barreled while here in Canberra we blindly voted Labor no matter what.

smiling politely 11:13 am 28 Aug 13

I enjoy being able to listen to ABC Jazz while I’m cleaning the kitchen in the evenings, pretending to much more urbane, cool and interesting than I actually am. In my defence, I am currently growing a beard. Beards make people more interesting, don’t they?

54-11 11:00 am 28 Aug 13

But 2CA has been off the air for the last day or two. Maybe they pre-empted the end of the trial?

caf 10:53 am 28 Aug 13

puggy said :

…and Canberra, as ever, is considered a non-metro area.

I find that the situation is more nuanced – Canberra is a non-metro area when infrastructure is being rolled out to metro areaas, but is a metro area when pork is being doled out to non-metro areas.

watto23 10:50 am 28 Aug 13

love my digital radio, especially in the car! Grandstand digital often has sporting events on, not covered by AM. That said, because its a trial we don’t get all the ABC digital stations either….

I recently got a new iPod dock and figured getting one with DAB+ as well made sense. Don’t mind a bit of SBS chill.

Be stuffed if i’d just buy a digital radio though for $100.

StrangeAttractor 10:35 am 28 Aug 13

I find it’s most useful when ABC newsradio on FM is broadcasting the bloody house of Reps all day, digital radio still has the newsfeed!

puggy 10:08 am 28 Aug 13

johnboy said :

I suspect the issue is that the government isn’t willing to accept the write down in what the operators will be willing to pay for the spectrum.

It’s been a while since I was in the loop, but as I understand there is still consternation about whether DAB+ or DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) is better for non-metro areas and Canberra, as ever, is considered a non-metro area. DRM is basically digital radio in the AM bad. i.e. Better coverage.

As an aside, they’ve been testing DAB here in Canberra since at least about 1993. One of my high school work experience gigs was making switch boxes for “test listeners” to switch between DAB and FM.

johnboy 10:05 am 28 Aug 13

DIG is also available as an audio channel on digital TV, and yes, great chill music.

Erg0 10:03 am 28 Aug 13

I actually think that ABC DIG Music has the best playlist of any Canberra station. It’s like Triple J for old farts.

johnboy 10:00 am 28 Aug 13

I suspect the issue is that the government isn’t willing to accept the write down in what the operators will be willing to pay for the spectrum.

OverLord 9:50 am 28 Aug 13

I must admit, I had no idea DAB even existed, but last weekend I bought a new sony clock/radio/iphone5 speaker dock and flipped out when I turned it on and the thing set it’s time AND date by itself. Brilliant!

Plus the ability to see the current song playing from the radio station, and listen to the Pop Asia channel is pretty fun.

Roundhead89 9:50 am 28 Aug 13

Isn’t this ridiculous, an extension to the “trial”. Look, blockheads. We’ve had the trial of digital radio, it works and the bugs have been ironed out. Make it permanent already and stop this nonsensical bureaucratic duck-shoving.

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