Australian radio joins the digital age
as several digital radio services are switched on now in
Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Digital
radio will offer new stations like Austereo’s Radar and
DMG’s Koffee and Novanation where you can listen to your
current preferred radio stations with digital sound feature.
There are many advantages to digital radio. First and
foremost, digital radio gives you enhanced audio quality
that is superior to FM. The digital Australian radio will be
interference free. Digital radios are going to be easier to
tune with listeners able to choose a station by name from a
menu. The digital broadcast will provide better reception,
additional details about advertised products, news items,
discussion topics, graphics, pictures and animation.
Another added feature such as pause and rewind will
be available on various digital receivers. Perhaps Australia’s digital
radio's most groundbreaking capability lies with its
data broadcasts. With an information feed sent along
with sound on a digital radio transmission,
listeners that have digital radios with LCD screens
can collect information such as what song's title,
what station they are tuned in, real-time news
feeds, contact numbers that correspond to the
advertisements the listener is hearing and much
more. Another feature of digital radios is their
onboard storage capability. This allows the listener
to pause live radio or rewind.
The Federal Government of Australia has not mandated
any digital radio requirement for regional areas
yet. Instead the government has opted to permit
radio broadcasters and stations to shift at their
own pace. However, they have indicated
previously that the government is willing to subsidize and
fund any bush rollout. They have urged broadcasters to
initiate trials of digital radio feeds in regional areas so
technical and other issues can be identified and resolved.
The bottom line for regional listeners is a greater longer
wait than their city cousins for the benefits of digital
radio. It is estimated that it could takes years before
digital radio is widespread and used throughout Australia.
Based on a set of 2005 guidelines, Australian radio
broadcasters are given six years from the beginning of
digital broadcasts in a locale.
This is to make certain that
the broadcast range of digital frequencies is extensive and
widespread as current analog transmissions. No switch-off
date has been given by the federal government for analog
broadcast signals. Digital radio is seen as a supplement
rather than a replacement. Unlike digital TV broadcasts,
there is no necessity for broadcasters to simulcast their
programming in both analog as well as digital. This enables
Australian radio stations to broadcast some content solely
To listen and avail to the features of digital radio,
consumers will have to upgrade to a new receiver. Digital
radios, capable of receiving the digital feed, will come in
various shapes and sizes, including MP3 devices, portable
players and hi-fi systems. PC radios on the other hand,
which plug into a computer or laptop and allow
receiver capabilities to be controlled from the
computer screen, will also be available.
Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) has
already started preparation on the digital radio deployment
in other regions throughout Australia. A regional trial of
digital radio will start later this year and CRA is working
hand in hand with the Federal Government to allot VHF Band
III spectrum for the test. Commercial digital radio
broadcast services are now on at optimum power in Adelaide,
Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.
Sydney is currently on
broadcasting in DAB+ at a low frequency power. It expected
that higher frequency broadcasts will begin from around the
30th of June 2009. Both ABC and SBS are expected to initiate
digital broadcast services starting June.