DAB Digital Radio has a new evangelist. The spirit of Barry White has been reborn in the form of D Love, and this soul brother will soon be spreading his love for digital radio across your television screens and through your radio.
Whether or not you enjoy seeing a 70s throwback extolling the virtues of digital radio is down to personal taste. You may love his smooth talking pearls of wisdom or you find you want to drop him in a bear pit alongside those pesky meerkats, but if you enjoy listening to the radio in your car you can’t ignore his advice.
The chances are you’re already familiar with digital radio. There’s also a good chance you already have one in your home (42% of households now own a DAB radio) but what about your car? And why should you care?
Quite simply, if you do nothing you’ll eventually have no radio to listen to. Plans are afoot to switch off the FM and AM transmitters across the country. Then you’ll only have sweet silence to listen to on your drive into work, or at the very least you may have to change the CDs you’ve had stashed in the glovebox for the last few years. Especially if they’ve all turned into Queen’s Greatest Hits (as eventually happens to all CDs left in cars).
What you might not realise is that you’re missing out on a treat with DAB radio. The first car I sampled with a DAB system was the Volvo V60 T6 and I was massively impressed. The choice of stations is huge and the chances are you’ll find a new station that plays more of the music you love and less of the music you don’t. The sound is clearer, too, with less interference.
Admittedly there are parts of the country that still get poor digital coverage but the BBC is committed to making sure that all motorways and A-roads are covered and the target is for 97% of the UK population to have a digital radio signal by 2015.
Of the 30 million cars on our roads only 5% are believed to have any form of digital radio. New cars are doing better with 26% featuring digital radio as standard. and that number is growing. Some manufacturers, like Volkswagen, BMW, Ford and Vauxhall are already fitting or are planning to fit digital radios across their range but that leaves a lot of new and old cars that don’t have a digital radio.
If you’re lucky enough to be ordering a new car then it would be worth adding DAB, if it’s available. When the analogue signal is eventually switched off it will push people towards cars with DAB so if your car has a DAB stereo it’s bound to be more attractive to potential buyers.
Of course, you don’t have to get a new car to enjoy DAB. You could go the whole hog and replace your existing car stereo with an integrated DAB system, either by calling an an independent specialist or by talking to your local car dealer.
Alternatively you could fit an add-on system, such as the Alpine EZI-DAB below. These types of DAB receiver are less complex and could even be fitted by yourself if you’re feeling brave enough.
An even cheaper alternative is to install a digital radio app onto your smartphone. Then simply plug your phone into your car stereo’s AUX socket (if it’s got one) and you’re done.
Whatever your choice, if you want to carry on listening to the radio in your car you’re going to have to do something soon. The government will make a decision about the future of radio in 2013 but the expectation is that the analogue signal will be switched off some time in 2015. That’s not really much time, is it?
DAB/ IPOD CONTROL ADD ON INCLUDES INTERNAL GLASS AERIAL