Skip to main content
Topic: The Sunday Times article on digital radio (Read 4675 times) previous topic - next topic
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

The Sunday Times article on digital radio

In The Sunday Times yesterday (UK newspaper) there was an article about the state of DAB digital radio in the UK. If you're subscribed, you can read it here:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2103-1045071,00.html

I won't post it here, but it's reproduced in the newsgroup alt.radio.digital here (see post 5).

The article includes a few quotes from something I wrote nearly two years ago:

Regulation in digital broadcasting - Dr David J M Robinson

It seems, finally, the message is getting across that 128kbps JS mp2 (or worse!) isn't enough for the 21st century replacement for FM! Unfortunately, that's basically what you'll find on DAB in the UK at the moment - most of it transcoded! Hopefully things will change.

EDIT: You can hear some samples here:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....howtopic=19964&

Cheers,
David.

The Sunday Times article on digital radio

Reply #1
The googlegroups link doesn't work.

ff123

Edit:  oops.  Nevermind.

The Sunday Times article on digital radio

Reply #2
Quote
The googlegroups link doesn't work.

ff123

Edit:  oops.  Nevermind.

It's OK - I noticed as soon as I posted and edited it to link to the thread instead. I think this gets you straight to the article... http://groups.google.com/groups?q=g:thl332...erlin.de&rnum=5

Cheers,
David.

The Sunday Times article on digital radio

Reply #3
I certainly couldn't prove it, but I'm sure Radio 1 sometimes stream concerts (and other off-site communications) using DAB technology back to base before sending it out on the FM signal. The artifacting I've heard is annoying and really noticeble on speech, just like a low bit-rate mp3.    I'm hearing this more and more often ..
daefeatures.co.uk

The Sunday Times article on digital radio

Reply #4
Ah, that's you David I didn't realise when I read it.

Some digital radio is awful, doesn't the BBC go down to 48kbit/s? I have a big issue with how they advertise 'digital quality' as if this fact automatically makes it sound great. If that was the case, this website wouldn't be here

The Sunday Times article on digital radio

Reply #5
Quote
I certainly couldn't prove it, but I'm sure Radio 1 sometimes stream concerts (and other off-site communications) using DAB technology back to base before sending it out on the FM signal. The artifacting I've heard is annoying and really noticeble on speech, just like a low bit-rate mp3.    I'm hearing this more and more often ..

I think they send audio over satellite, certainly all the OB vans are equipped for this. Satellite time and bandwidth, however, is limited and costly so they compress it before sending.

EDIT: A bit OT, but TV is the same. Analogue is bad enough as on the first showing of a new series from America, you can see the mpeg4 artifacts from where they transmitted the programme by satellite. Digital is worse as it gets recompressed before going to the viewer, some is unwatchable.

Sometimes subsequent showings are fine, as they've had the time to prepare proper copies on tape to post over the water

The Sunday Times article on digital radio

Reply #6
Quote
I certainly couldn't prove it, but I'm sure Radio 1 sometimes stream concerts (and other off-site communications) using DAB technology back to base before sending it out on the FM signal. The artifacting I've heard is annoying and really noticeble on speech, just like a low bit-rate mp3.    I'm hearing this more and more often ..

It's usually a dual-ISDN link, using hardware layer II or layer III encoders.

Important programmes get 4xISDN giving 256kbps. Those judged less important (or where the links just aren't available) get 128kbps. So yes, it sounds just like DAB. Speech links sometimes use 64kbps mono, which can sound quite nasty. It depends on the encoder.

Cheers,
David.

The Sunday Times article on digital radio

Reply #7
Quote
EDIT: A bit OT, but TV is the same. Analogue is bad enough as on the first showing of a new series from America, you can see the mpeg4 artifacts from where they transmitted the programme by satellite. Digital is worse as it gets recompressed before going to the viewer, some is unwatchable.

TV is worse in a way, because there's no good alternative.

For radio, DAB sucks, but you can use FreeView or DSat to get 192kbps feeds of BBC Radios 1-4. There's still FM too, which can be very good with a good aerial. Also, few people realise you can get good old analogue FM via cable - this is never advertised (no money to be made), but it's excellent!

Whereas, for TV, as far as I can tell, there isn't a version available without artifacts. As you say, so much stuff has already been MPEG encoded that there's no hope. Even for "clean" material, both FreeView and Sky are using real-time encoding at low-ish bitrates (though I've no personal experience of Sky). Channel Five on FreeView used to be an exception (it usually looked like a good DVD), but that's got worse since the TopUp TV pre-launch grabbed some bandwidth.

Yes, you can always watch TV on analogue, but it's not widescreen, and it's PAL composite, rather than nice clean digital component. We don't have HDTV, which is a shame - but even the SDTV we do have could be better.

Interestingly, there's a report on the effects of next generation display devices on MPEG coding, which suggests the broadcasters are simply going to have to increase bitrates, or increase resolution, or loose viewers. That might make them sit up and take notice!

See
http://www.svt.se/svtinfo/inenglish/dev/sv...dexga_final.pdf
http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/whp/whp025.html

Cheers,
David.
P.S. sorry this has gone OT - mods can move it to the video section if they want.


The Sunday Times article on digital radio

Reply #9
w00t!  you tell 'em!

no digital radio down in Oz yet.  nothing good on anyway  (don't have a radio anymore, after a defective alternator cooked my car radio)


The Sunday Times article on digital radio

Reply #11
Quote
Did you read yesterdays paper? A few people supported your view in the letters page...

Thanks - I didn't see it in print, but I've found the on-line version...
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2088-1061768,00.html

The only person defending audio quality on DAB is someone employed by the Digital Radio Development Bureau! Though his last paragraph effectively says "DAB - it's better than nothing!" 

Cheers,
David.

 
SimplePortal 1.0.0 RC1 © 2008-2019