What is digital radio? If you wondering the same thing, you’re not alone.
Unlike the bombardment of television commercials announcing the arrival of digital television, the new availability of digital radio, as of today, might better be described as a ‘soft launch’.
What happens next?
Most existing AM and FM stations will be simulcast in digital and there are several digital-only stations, including Radar (which plays unsigned Australian artists), Novanation (dance music) and Koffee (“chill music”). The ABC is simulcasting its internet stations Dig, Dig Country and Dig Jazz.
The digital spectrum will also make it easier to provide so-called “event radio”, such as one-off sports matches, music specials or even a temporary station, such as Pink Radio, which is running during Pink’s Australian tour.
But the obvious benefits are better sound and a raft of new gadgets and interfaces for the technically inclined to play with. For example, Digital radios offer the ability to rewind a show five minutes or more. You can also pause the radio.
What are the downsides? The starting price for the new digital-capable radios is $150 and fully featured sets cost $300 or more. Also, some commentators believe the internet’s ability to stream radio will render digital radios obsolete.
So, are you excited by the launch of digital radio today?