Keep up to date with all the latest digital radio developments.
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DAB+ uses an advanced and technically robust transmission system and operates in Australia in VHF Band III. DAB+ uses higher frequencies than analogue radio (e.g. AM/FM) and requires broadcasters to install new transmission equipment and listeners to purchase DAB+ enabled devices.
DAB+ is the most established and widely adopted standard for broadcasting digital radio. It has been adopted across Europe, South Africa, Arab States and planning is currently underway in the Asia-Pacific region.
DAB+ only stations often have a niche format, catering to a broad range of preferences, including chill, contemporary hits, country, rock, dance, sport, racing, news, talk, childrens, 80’s, 90’s, jazz and foreign language content.
DAB+ digital radio was launched by all commercial and public service broadcasters in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in August 2009.
Low power DAB+ test transmissions commenced in Canberra in July 2010 and Darwin in August 2010 and will transition to permanent services soon.
To check, type your postcode or suburb into the search function on digitalradioplus.com.au.
Digital radio is free. Listeners simply need to buy a DAB+ enabled radio to listen.
Only DAB+ digital radios will receive DAB+ digital radio stations broadcast in Australia. When buying a new digital radio, check that the product packaging states that it is a DAB+ digital radio, or look for the blue digital radio cross logo.
Like any product range, digital radio prices vary depending on the features and capabilities.
Entry-level models start from $29. There are now over 200 DAB+ radio models available.
More than 800 stores throughout Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra* and Darwin* stock digital radios including:
There are a large selection of models including DAB+ clock radios, with docks, WiFi and DAB+ combinations, HiFi components, micro and mini systems, portable players, handheld MP3 and MP4 players with DAB+, USBs, and digital radio for your car. Plus, there are digital radios with small screens showcasing DAB+ features such as album art, presenter photos, weather, news and sports results.
Below are just some of the manufacturers making DAB+ digital radios:
DAB+ digital radios come in a range of different models. To ensure your radio receives digital radio services in Australia, it must be DAB+ enabled. Most DAB+ digital radios can also receive analogue FM, and some AM. However, where DAB+ coverage is available, you’ll always be able to hear your favourite AM and FM stations simulcast on DAB+ in digital quality sound.
There are no plans at this stage to switch off AM and FM radio services in Australia. As there are an estimated five radio devices per home, listeners must be given time to change their radios before any decision is made to switch off AM/FM services. In addition, planning needs to continue for the switch on of DAB+ services to the regional centres in the rest of Australia.
No, digital radio is broadcast free-to-air over the airwaves via DAB+ technology. Internet-only radio services are streamed over the telecommunications networks and incur a streaming cost which varies depending on the internet service provider package.
Free-to-air broadcast radio stations also stream their current radio stations, plus any new digital services on the industry’s RadioApp and stations’ apps over the internet as well as broadcast, so the content can be accessed on both DAB+ and streaming platforms.
Generally, latency is a part of digital systems and also applies to digital TV and internet streaming. Approximately 3-4 seconds of latency for DAB+ digital radio is unavoidable, resulting from system implementation delays. There is a trade-off between reducing these delays and the likelihood of errors being transmitted. CRA has worked closely with broadcasters to minimise the delays. Buffering delays may also be experienced in digital receivers; these are not related to the actual DAB+ broadcasts.
Just like AM and FM, digital radio is planned by the Government into specific licence areas. Generally digital reception is very good, however some postcodes and suburbs covering large regions may contain areas that do not receive optimal reception because of building or terrain shielding. Repeaters have been installed to fill known blackspot areas.
CRA requests that listeners advise any coverage issues by emailing their street name, suburb, state and postcode to firstname.lastname@example.org. This feedback will help to determine areas that require future coverage improvements.
Digital radio is available as standard or option in the majority of new vehicles. All leading vehicle manufacturers support DAB+, with most making it available across all models. A range of after-market radios from Alpine, JVC Kenwood, Kogan, Pioneer, Sony and Pure that can be self-installed or professionally fitted are also available for vehicles.
CRA continues to work with the vehicle industry to have DAB+ digital radio factory fitted in as many brands and models as possible.
Commercial Radio Australia has started planning the rollout of DAB+ digital radio to regional Australia. Permanent commercial radio digital radio services will be switched on in Canberra and Darwin in early 2019, followed by Hobart in mid-2019.
Commercial radio broadcasters have been asked to identify the next phase of regional priority centres and those priority markets for rollout within the next five years are; Newcastle, Dubbo, Albury, Lithgow, Sale, Bathurst, Cooma, Goulburn, Warragul, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Bundaberg, Mandurah and Murwillumbah.