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Car CD radios versus DAB radio: A comparison

Talk of radio following in the footsteps of television and making the switch to digital service has got some people thinking what this means for their car CD stereo. In the UK, for example, the government aims to complete the switch from AM/FM broadcasting to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) by 2015.

When this happens, all radio stations will cease to broadcast FM radio signals. You’ll no longer be able to pick up radio stations using the popular car CD radios. So, what are some of the reasons that necessitated this move?

Comparison of DAB and AM/FM broadcasting

Contrary to a common misconception, DAB does not necessarily represent an improvement to analogue FM services. The primary reason for its introduction is to alleviate congestion in radio broadcasting space. In fact, the audio quality of DAB is slightly inferior to that of CD.

This is largely because DAB compresses audio to maximise on efficiency, which mildly compromises on quality. Also, the technical audio specifications of DAB are actually slightly inferior to those of CD.

Nonetheless, DAB scores better overall on efficiency of the transmission. If you have ever switched on your car cd radio while on a long drive, you probably have experienced the characteristic, annoying FM signal interference and fluttering distortion that comes with listening FM radio on the move.

DAB excels at eliminating this inconvenience. It provides the best quality reception on the move. With a DAB radio, you won’t have to occasionally re-tune your radio in order to pick up clear radio station signals. DAB network transmitters transmit the same frequencies everywhere in the country.

Final word

DAB, as is, is not regarded the optimum solution to take radio broadcasting forward. In fact, a number of European countries such as Germany and Switzerland have rejected DAB altogether. In practice, this means a complete digital radio switchover seems unlikely.

That said, nonetheless, if you’re in places like the UK where the government is keen to complete the switch to DAB, you may need to install a DAB car radio to continue enjoying your favourite radio stations in your car. DAB car radios can be bought online at leading merchant and retails stores, such as Amazon.co.uk and Caraudiocentre.co.uk

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