DAB radios buying guide

Digital Audio Broadcasting for DAB radio is the digital alternative to FM and AM radio broadcasts. Introduced in 1995, it offers digital advantages to all areas of your listening pleasure including, enhanced quality with less interference, an increase in available stations, automatic station tuning and live programme information.

With reception available to around 90 percent of the population of the UK, DAB radio is well established and can be found in traditional standalone radios, hand-sized portable models and also in iPod docks and hi-fi systems.

Types of DAB devices available:

  • DAB radio: This is the most common way of enjoying the radio in your kitchen, bedroom, office or living room. Many models can also be battery powered, so you can take them out with you into the garden or on days out.
  • Portable DAB radio: Unlike FM radios it's uncommon to find DAB radios integrated into portable devices, such as mobile phones or MP3 players. However, dedicated portable models are available so you can enjoy your radio on the move.
  • DAB clock radio: Wake up to the sounds of your favourite radio presenter with a DAB clock radio. While many DAB radios may include an alarm function, a dedicated clock radio can offer multiple alarms along with multiple snooze/nap features and a larger clock display.
  • iPod docks with DAB: Hybrid and crossover devices can offer the flexibility of DAB radio reception with an iPod dock. Some may be designed as portable speakers, while other devices are clock radios.
  • DAB micro systems: For greater versatility, more power and improved sound quality a micro hi-fi system is definitely worth considering. Designed to deliver enhanced sound quality, many models offer DAB reception.

Common DAB questions:

  • How do I know I can get DAB radio?

    The majority of people in the UK should be able to receive DAB radio. To find out exactly what's available in your area.

  • Can I use my DAB radio abroad?

    The broadcast standard used in the UK is DAB Band III, and a number of European countries also transmit at this band. However, a number of others use the less-popular DAB Band L, so if you're interested in using your DAB radio abroad, see specific information here.

  • Can I still use my existing FM/AM aerials?

    If you currently have an existing external or internal FM/AM radio aerial it's doubtful this will help your DAB reception. The advice is that it's worth trying, but don't expect it to work.

  • Will analogue radio be turned off?

    Eventually, but there's no imminent plan to turn off analogue FM/AM radio transmitters. It's suggested that national, regional and local stations will eventually become digital only, however this is unlikely to happen before 2015 and only progressively after this date.

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