Buying Guide: Digital Radio
Digital radio has been available in Australia since mid-2009. This guide explains what it is, how it works and why you should take advantage of it, whether it's via a DAB digital radio, clock radio, iPod dock or portable AM and FM radio.
What Is Digital Radio And Will I Benefit?
In essence, digital radio is radio with much higher reception and sound quality. It doesn't replace the old analogue signal, but it does present another way to receive broadcasts.
Digital radio is the most significant upgrade since the introduction of FM to Australia in the 1970s. At present, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth all receive digital radio. Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) is planning to roll out the technology in more areas nationally, with a trial of digital radio services in regional areas, as well.
How Does It Work?
Australian radio utilises Digital Audio Broadcasting-Plus (DAB+) technology, which turns both sound and data into digital signals at transmission, and then decodes them using digital radio receivers.
AM and FM radio quality can degrade from interference caused by signals bouncing off walls, buildings and hills. Digital radio receivers, on the other hand, have built-in transmission filters and lock onto the strongest signal in an area to provide clear reception.
Get More With Digital Radio
- More music: Extra channels available mean more stations and variety.
- Better reception: Digital radio doesn't suffer the same interference issues as analogue radio, so you get consistent CD-quality sound.
- Name that song: Forget waiting for the DJ to tell you the title of that catchy tune. Digital radio can give you the name as it plays.
- Let's hear that again: Digital radios with onboard storage hold the last 15 minutes of play, allowing you to pause and rewind.
- Easy tuning: No more fiddling with dials. Digital radio gives you a menu of all available radio stations.
- The hits just keep coming: Digital radio stations can send news texts messages, album cover art, updates from sporting events, phone numbers for ads and much more.
How Do I Get Started?
Your old analogue radio will still play AM/FM stations, but to get digital radio you'll need a Digital (DAB+) Radio player; this could be a clock radio, iPod dock or portable radio. Once you have one, then all you need to do is plug it in and tune in.