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What is DAB?

DAB, Digital Audio Broadcasting, is the new sound broadcasting transmission system that is being adopted across Europe with the ultimate intention of it replacing FM. Find out how it started here.

DAB works by broadcasting a data stream instead of an analogue audio signal. Because it is data DAB can carry text, pictures or any other digital data in addition to digitally encoded audio. The result is a DAB listener can receive multiple radio stations plus text / pictures associated with those stations from just one transmitter. See how broadcasters supply this content here.

DAB is a robust and proven standard. In Norway, they are replacing their network of 1,200 FM transmitters, used to carry one national public radio station, with just 700 DAB transmitters carrying several stations. The cost savings for broadcasters are significant.

In less than 10 years DAB has become commonplace, particularly in the United Kingdom and Denmark, where in addition to Norway they expect to convert fully before the end of this decade. Europe’s largest radio market, Germany, commercially launched DAB in August 2011. Elsewhere Australia launched DAB in the latter half of 2009 and already the number of people listening via DAB is approaching 10%. More on DAB worldwide.

Ireland is a perfect market for DAB broadcasting. We have effectively run out of available FM spectrum and listeners are particularly underserved outside of Dublin. DAB will reduce transmission costs for all broadcasters. Also by giving station brands an opportunity to expand nationally at reasonable cost DAB will allow expansion of the radio market to the benefit of broadcasters and listeners.

All the necessary legislation for a national DAB network is already in place and digital broadcasting is a key element of the BAI work-plan for the next two years.

Find out about the benefits for broadcasters or for a demo of how a DAB radio works watch our video below.