DAB is an acronym for Digital Audio Broadcasting. Transmission works very similar to FM, where a transmitter broadcasts to the physical area around it. The difference is that FM carries an analogue signal with audio from just one radio station. A DAB transmitter carries a digital signal with audio from many radio stations combined or ‘multiplexed’ together. This means one transmitter can carry as many as twenty radio stations.
DAB is pronounced either by its letters D A B or as a single word “Dab”. The use of DAB+ (DAB Plus) refers to a more efficient audio compression technique which allows the transmitter to carry more radio stations at better quality.
Digital Audio Broadcasting can also broadcast to a wider area using fewer transmitters than FM. As it is digital, signals from adjoining transmitters are perfectly in sync. This means that where signals from adjoining transmitters meet, they combine to create a stronger signal in that middle area. The result is fewer transmitters, all working on the same frequency, covering a greater area. This is known as a ‘Single Frequency Network’.
For the listener, DAB offers several advantages including much greater listening choice and extremely easy-to-use radio receivers. These can show ‘now playing’ programme information on the screen via DLS (Dynamic Labelling System), or with ‘Slideshow’ (SLS), this same information can be presented graphically as an image. Another listener advantage is reception quality which is excellent as even with one bar of signal, you have perfect sound. Many listener surveys also show a preference for a cleaner digital sound.
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