How digital radio missed the boat
Posted August 23rd, 2012 by debritz
Expanding on my tweet about digital radio ... Three years ago, I was quite excited by the technology and rushed out to buy a digital radio.
But it didn't take long to realise that, at best, it's a "bridging" technology (and an expensive one at that). Streaming media over the internet, heard mostly on mobile device is the future. Why?
+ Why buy a digital radio to get, maybe, 20 or 30 extra stations that are still controlled by the same handful of Australian operators when you can have every radio station, commercial or public, professional or amateur, in the world?
+ Digital only works in metro areas in Australia, and it would be a waste of money to extend it further. No real point in putting it in cars unless you live inner-city.
+ Older listeners won't buy digital sets, they'll stick to their transistors.
+ Younger listeners all have iPhones or other smartphones; why would they want to carry around another device? And what's the incentive for manufacturers to put DAB+ capability into smartphones?
+ With better technology and faster wireless speeds, smartphones will soon reach digital quality (or near enough that few will notice or care about the difference).
+ Yes, it's a quality product, but so were 8-track cartridges and Beta videotapes, but there's something that's more user-friendly if not technically better right now. (Were cassettes better than 8-tracks, or VHS better than Beta? No, they were just more popular.)
+ It looks like a duck but it doesn't quack. It's dead, Jim.
Update: Following a Twitter conversation, I'm prepared to go further. It is morally and ethically wrong for the radio industry to push digital receivers on to people when they are already obsolete for everyone except those who don't have home internet access and/or a "smart" device, which is mainly the older audience who are quite happy with their current AM/FM radio thank you very much. To convince an elderly person with limited funds that they need to buy a DAB+ set when all they do is listen to talk radio on AM is obscene.