Feeds

Consumer group slams Britain's digital radio switchover

Biased and unrealistic, Department told

New hybrid storage solutions

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.

Security for virtualized datacentres

Next page: Cheap and nasty

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.