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  • FIRST POST
    MSE Lawrence
    DAB radio under 15. DAB Alarm clock under 20
    • #1
    • 29th Jan 08, 3:42 PM
    DAB radio under 15. DAB Alarm clock under 20 29th Jan 08 at 3:42 PM
    What's the deal?

    DAB radios are no-need to tune, easy to use sets often with a larger range of channels than AM/FM. When they became mainstream a few years ago they were over 100 each, now the price has shot down to 15.

    Where to get the cheapest?
    • The Cheapest: Technika mono DAB/FM 14.97 in-store/online exc. postage.

      Tesco has a limited supply of this new budget set, which packs in a digital FM tuner and 20 channel preset capacity (10 DAB/10 FM). It's unlikely to deafen or particularly awe you with its small mono speaker, and thus has limited appeal to die-hard music fans, though you could plug stereo speakers in. It will run on batteries as well as the mains.

      In-store: It's available in-store at larger Tescos, so locate your store and call to see if it's in before wasting a trip.

      On-line: You can order from Tesco Direct, though then there's a 4.85 delivery fee. Alternatively if you're buying something else, and the total is over 25 then you can do a 'Reserve and Collect' at most main (non-express) Tescos so there's no delivery fee.
    • Including wake-up call: Technika DAB Alarm Clock 19.99 in-store/online exc. postage.

      This compact alarm clock from Tesco features 10 presets and all the alarm clock functions you need to get to work on time. It's 19.99 if you can find one in-store.

      In-store: As above, locate your store and call before wasting a trip.

      On-line: Again, 'Reserve and Collect' is available on orders over 25, so you'll have to add something worth 5.01 to get it. Otherwise there's a 4.85 delivery charge for buying from Tesco Direct.
    • The Name Brand: Sony XDRS50 Portable DAB radio 29.99 delivered

      This small-but-smart Sony set's reduced from 55 at Amazon. It's a simple unit with 10 presets, which'll run off the mains or batteries. If you use batteries though, be warned they'll run out a fair bit quicker than they would in an FM portable.
    Seen a better DAB deal? Post below and I'll add it in.

    Why get DAB?

    DAB is an easy to use system, where you don't need to tune (you just scroll through the stations) and offers a different range of channels to normal FM radio.

    Pros
    • Ease of use.

      All of the stations appear in text on the (usually quite large) screen and all sets will auto-scan for stations. This makes it ideal for elderly people (Martin bought one for his Gran) or the technologically challenged; you no longer need to remember any numbers, just scroll.
    • More potential choice.

      Whilst it's quite close-run in some areas, DAB offers a wider choice of stations for many people in the UK, especially outside of the M25.
    • Access to DAB only/regional stations.

      Some of the BBCs best radio stations exist only on DAB, BBC 6 Music for example (additional note from Martin... he's very young is our Lawrence!). Also, Channel 4's set to launch C4 radio soon, promising since it'll be headed up by ex-radio 2 controller Jim Moir.
    • Access to more info.

      DAB has the capacity to send more info to sets, which is displayed on the radio's screen. Thus, you can get the headlines, or find out what's playing at a glance (depending on the station).
    Cons
    • Sound quality.

      If you have good reception FM can offer higher quality sound than DAB as most UK DAB stations broadcast a low (128kbps) bitrate MP2 signal. FM transmitters (or 'exciters') broadcast 'transparently', meaning that if you were to get perfect reception (which is nigh on impossible), you'd hear exactly what was coming from the studio (after other processing etc).

      Yet if the station you listen to is usually on Medium Wave (e.g. BBC Radio 5) the reception should be much improved.
    • FM's healthy.

      Unlike analogue TV, FM radio signals aren't on their way out just yet; in fact, FM broadcasts aren't even up for review until 2012, and it'll be a fair few years after that before they'll be stopped. Some sets support both FM and DAB to give you the best of both.
    • New DAB?

      There's a new DAB+ format in the pipeline, which isn't backwards compatible with the current one, meaning it may become obsolete.

      Devout optimists claim it'll come out in three years time, but judging by DAB's slow ascendancy and take-up, it'll probably take a whole lot longer.
    • Station closures.

      GCap, the commercial radio operator, has just pulled two of its DAB stations, stating that DAB 'was not an economically viable growth platform' for it.

      However, this doesn't really spell the end of the format as a whole as some doom-mongerers have decided. The BBC and Channel 4 amongst others are strongly investing in the DAB format.
    -Lawrence


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    Last edited by Former MSE Dan; 12-03-2008 at 12:10 PM.
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