Feeds

Consumer group slams Britain's digital radio switchover

Biased and unrealistic, Department told

Security for virtualized datacentres

Exclusive A report out later today prepared for the government blasts the radio industry and government for "scaring" consumers into an unrealistic timetable for digital switchover, and recommends both an urgent and impartial examination of DAB costs and benefits, and new criteria for a digital switchover.

It's quite damning stuff.

2015 is far too early, says the Consumer Expert Group in its report for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport today entitled Digital Radio Switchover: what is in it for consumers? to start the switchover process. The Group advises that any switchover should only occur when analog radio listening has fallen to 30 per cent of total listening - the current trigger is 50 per cent of "digital" - and says there is far more to do than the radio industry or current policy appreciates.

Low cost DAB sets aren't the answer, the Group notes.

"Lower priced digital sets tend to come with lower sound quality and less functionality, both of which are cited as consumer benefits of digital radio. Rather than providing for a digital radio ‘upgrade’, such strategies will result in consumers ‘downgrading’ their listening experience by trading in good quality analogue radios for bottom of the range digital versions."

They're also hard to use.

A full cost-benefit analysis needs to be undertaken, the report recommends. The public has not been given "accurate and impartial" advice it adds. Audiophiles may take heart from the recommendation that "emphasis should not be placed on driving down costs unless the sound quality and functionality of cheaper DAB sets are at least equal to analogue". It's also asked that plans for future radio include DAB+, and that DAB sets should be future-proofed with DAB+ compatible chipsets "as a matter of urgency".

"Consumer benefits need to be clear and demonstrable," the report adds.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Cheap and nasty

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.