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Watchdog issues DABetamax warning

What You Hear isn't What You Get

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The Consumers Association has reminded punters they can take DAB radios back to the store for a refund - and put the stores on notice against misleading punters. The reminder follows Ofcom's decision to allow consumer electronics retail chains to fit signal digital radio boosters, to help them shift digital radio sets.

On the association's Which? website, Liz Payne reminds punters that What They Hear may not be What They Get when they take the radios home - so keep a receipt. She also nudged stores to be honest and transparent with potential buyers:

"We would also like to think that the stores with DAB repeaters installed will be courteous to their customers and point out that there is a DAB repeater installed and explain what this means," she says here.

Seems reasonable to anyone - but paranoia is unfortunately the default response of the DAB lobby. Step forward Global Radio's Nick Piggott, who reprints an angrygram he sent to Which? on his blog.

"I fear that you have been the victim of a scare campaign, orchestrated by one or two people."

Well, "orchestrated" implies a conspiracy - but only Nick appears to be able to see the unmarked black helicopters. But who can he mean?

"I’ll leave you to find the offending blog article for yourselves, as they aren’t worthy of linking to," he sniffs.

Oh.

The digital radio lobby group DRDB has a slightly more sane response. Tony Moretta points out to us via email:

"It’s actually in no-one’s interest – broadcaster, manufacturer or retailer - to misrepresent what a DAB radio can do as it will just result in the return of units, and hence our consistent message on air, online and in store to check postcode coverage."

"Their quote – that they would hope retailers would accept a return if the radio didn’t work as well at home – is a reasonable one that applies to anything like that."

Fair enough.

Bunker mentality

Back to DAB's most rabid anklebiter - Global's Nick - who has a few more conspiracy theories up his sleeve - all designed to silence the DAB success story.

"I believe that, until a few months ago, you would have been paying for the pleasure of reading Mr Goddard's musings in the form of reports from Enders."

Er, no.

"That now doesn't seem to the be case, and I wonder if that reflects the perceived quality of those reports?"

I'm not even sure what that means, as almost all coherency has been lost. But he signs off:

"I'm sure that your readers will have informed themselves, and I'm sure that they continue to judge for themselves the gap between reality and reporting on The Register."

Of course, Nick Piggott's right. DAB is a huge success, with enormous audiences glued to these new efficient, low power digital radio sets. With no one left listening, FM should have been turned off years ago. Commercial broadcasters are rejoicing - it's so very profitable.

Britain has proudly set a technical standard the rest of the world is eager to implement! And it's all been done by word-of-mouth, without the state broadcaster spending a penny on promoting this amazing new technology! (That's enough sarcasm - Ed) ®

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