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Digital Radio Trial in Canberra – Who’ll be able to listen?

johnboy 5 May 2010 31

Smarthouse is full of excitement about the trial of digital radio in Canberra this July.

Throughout the digital radio trial, radio listeners in Canberra will be able to experience digital quality audio, robust transmission and significantly improved functionality. They will also receive more audio services, text and graphics on screen, and on some receivers, have the ability to pause and rewind.

But to listen to it we’ll need to buy new radios, to listen to the same mediocrity but with more flashing lights.

The real promise of digital is allowing more stations, which in turn (assuming the government doesn’t get greedy when pricing the spectrum) holds out the possibility of niche programming which might excite some genuine interest.

On the other hand we can get internet radio from all over the world right now, without having to buy more equipment.


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31 Responses to Digital Radio Trial in Canberra – Who’ll be able to listen?
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Demosthenes Demosthenes 4:25 pm 03 Dec 10

But yeah, bit disappointing that the only station worth listening to is SBS Chill (which is good but repeats a bit). Strangely the highest bit rate is SBS Chill at AAC 80Kb/s (bits, note bytes) which I would have thought was a bit low but honestly it sounds fine for some reason.

If they ever get any high bit rate stations going it will sound fantastic.

Demosthenes Demosthenes 4:23 pm 03 Dec 10

Just got one of these little Kogan beauties, does everything but pause and rewind. Handles everything else though including the obligatory iPod dock. I got it mainly because it has an Internet Radio alarm capability, which is REALLY nice in the mornings, and can plug in to external speakers, so I have an old pair of computer speakers under the bed that sound better than the in built speakers. Great for barbies too, overall very happy for $200.

http://www.kogan.com.au/shop/kogan-wi-fi-digital-radio-dab-iphone-docking-delux/

Holditz Holditz 12:27 pm 25 Nov 10

The ABC apparently are still not broadcasting in Canberra, if their Digital Radio page is anything to go by. The ABC refused to participate in the test broadcasts this year (according to City News I think), and it appears that they are still doing so. However, last time I retuned my Digital/Internet Radio I got not a few stations- so Digital Radio is up and running. But not Your ABC.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 12:11 pm 25 Nov 10

Any updates on this? The cricket season has started and I think Digital Radio and I could become quite close (one day).

bd84 bd84 10:05 pm 05 May 10

It will be interesting to see what we get out of the additional new stations. Also, how good transmission will be in the many valleys of the city.

thy_dungeonman thy_dungeonman 5:02 pm 05 May 10

It’s about time, we bought our mother a digital radio last mothers day (in Canberra) only to find that it’s not broadcast in Canberra (although the official launch was held at parliament house, go figure). So finally we shall now have a radio rather than a paperweight.

Spectra Spectra 4:15 pm 05 May 10

Pause/rewind don’t require digital transmission.

No, you’re quite right. But convenient, near-instantaneous and lossless (with respect to a lossy encoding, as you correctly noted) pause/rewind a rarity on analog services (yes, Tivo, you’re right, but how many people ever owned one compared to how many own a PVR these days?). I didn’t mean to imply this ability was predicated on a digital signal, just that it becomes more “the norm”. You are, however, technically correct – the best kind of correct 🙂

Devil_n_Disquiz Devil_n_Disquiz 3:21 pm 05 May 10
Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 2:51 pm 05 May 10

amarooresident3 said :

I understand ABC were broadcasting digital radio already. They were heavily spruiking it throughout the cricket season, where you could listen to live coverage of Shield games and other sports on seperate channnels.

Yes they are already transmitting in Digital, but only in selected areas. Sadly, Canberra isn’t one of them.

Grrrr Grrrr 2:45 pm 05 May 10

Spectra said :

Idiots
Something that I didn’t mention earlier in terms of benefits is that once you have a digital signal you can also do nice things that you can do with a PVR like pause, rewind, and lossless recording.

Lossless recording (of a waveform encoded with lossy compression) is a benefit, yes. There’s also other benefits like “now playing” info and EPG, etc.

Pause/rewind don’t require digital transmission.

The original Tivo only had analog inputs. For a while all DVD + HDD recorders (as opposed to the DVB PVRs with no DVD drive) initially only had analog inputs, either video or tuner.

p1 p1 2:40 pm 05 May 10

Thanks guys, that is more or less what I understood, but it is nice to have it confirmed. I am interested to know what the likely hood of this product to become mainstream is? Digital TV has taken for ever, and they keep putting back the turn off of analogue. Might just take for ever for uptake of this. The way it is, might be cheaper for me to get a dedicated mobile broadband connection for my car and just stream JJJ from the net…

Grrrr Grrrr 1:47 pm 05 May 10

I was a little ambiguous: The digital radio in the USA isn’t different just in name, it’s a whole different standard.

Spectra Spectra 1:44 pm 05 May 10

Idiots

I can’t decide if you’re trolling or not…I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are.

I have been wondering about that for some time. If it isn’t digital radio, what is it? SBS just using some of their TV signal to broadcast some jazz?

Yeah, that’s pretty much it. It’s certainly digital radio in the sense of being digitally transmitted sound without pictures, but it’s broadcast as part of the digital TV signal, not as “radio” from a licensing sense (or in terms of the equipment required to receive it).

Once you get Digital Radio you’ll loose local content.

Care to back up that assertion? Or were you just throwing it out there in the hope that everyone would believe you and nobody would think to ask “huh?”.

What is it about ABC’s adherance to AM band here in Canberra (and other capital cities)?

What, you mean like ABC Classic FM? JJJ? News Radio? Hardly what I’d call “adherance(sic) to AM”. Besides, AM has a rather significant advantage over FM in terms of range (obviously at the expense of quality) which, if you’re servicing a large region can be quite desirable.

Something that I didn’t mention earlier in terms of benefits is that once you have a digital signal you can also do nice things that you can do with a PVR like pause, rewind, and lossless recording. That, plus the improved quality, were what encouraged me to go to digital TV before any additional channels were available.

Grrrr Grrrr 1:43 pm 05 May 10

p1 said :

I have been wondering about that for some time. If it isn’t digital radio, what is it? SBS just using some of their TV signal to broadcast some jazz?

Exactly. It’s DVB – that’s the name of the standard. The “SBS Radio” on your set top box is a TV signal with sound but no picture. There are no devices out there that can receive DVB and have audio out, but no video.

On the other hand “Digital Radio” is a direct replacement for FM Radio. The standard we use here is called DAB+ (as opposed to “HD Radio” in the USA.)

One problem is that while in theory it offers better quality than FM (as alluded to by Smarthouse and Spectra) the radio stations are transmitting at such low bit rates that analogue FM is noticably better. IE, they’re transmitting at 64kbit(using AAC+.) It’s roughly comparable to 96kbit MP3s, which you may already know don’t sound that great. FM radio isn’t audiophile stuff either, but I estimate it to be as good as 128kbit streams. It’s nowhere near the often used “CD Quality” term.

Also, DAB+ radios are hard to come by. My brand new, not very cheap AVR only does analog radio.. Another problem is that cheaper/older DAB radios don’t work with newer DAB+.

Finally, the radios don’t even have digital audio out (EG coax or optical.) So my shiny new AVR has to take an analogue signal from the digital radio. Kindof dumb. Probably an attempt at preventing digital copying.

Thoroughly Smashed Thoroughly Smashed 1:40 pm 05 May 10

p1 said :

I think you’ll find Conan that the radio on digital TV is not digital radio.

I have been wondering about that for some time. If it isn’t digital radio, what is it? SBS just using some of their TV signal to broadcast some jazz?

What we’re talking about here is a standard called DAB+, short for Digital Audio Broadcasting. Broadcasting audio over digital TV bands is a different matter. For reference the ABC radio stations you can get on digital TV are also broadcast on DAB+.

BTW is it angry newbie month here, did I miss a memo?

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 1:27 pm 05 May 10

What is it about ABC’s adherance to AM band here in Canberra (and other capital cities)? On the Sunshine Coast, it been on FM for decades.

Rawhide Kid No 2 Rawhide Kid No 2 1:09 pm 05 May 10

Once you get Digital Radio you’ll loose local content.

p1 p1 1:04 pm 05 May 10

I think you’ll find Conan that the radio on digital TV is not digital radio.

I have been wondering about that for some time. If it isn’t digital radio, what is it? SBS just using some of their TV signal to broadcast some jazz?

H1NG0 H1NG0 12:58 pm 05 May 10

I’d be totally interested in this if they ran with the ABC stations. I would buy a digital radio tomorrow. Triple J ran a second channel on Digital Radio as well at one stage. I have no time for commercial radio so I guess I’ll wait a bit longer.

ConanOfCooma ConanOfCooma 12:51 pm 05 May 10

Idiots.

Have you never tuned in a digital set top box?

It’s quite painfully obvious, right there on your menus.

DIGITAL RADIO.

You can watch (listen) to it like a TV channel, and like it says above, some avtually have images!

OMFGWTFBBQ?!?

If you haven’t, or cannot, make the jump to digital TV, then it’s probably not worth the strain on your brain to attempt digital radio.

    johnboy johnboy 12:54 pm 05 May 10

    I think you’ll find Conan that the radio on digital TV is not digital radio.

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