Cumulative world DAB sales reach 93 million | radioinfo

Cumulative world DAB sales reach 93 million

Monday 05 October, 2020

WorldDAB’s latest market report reveals that by the end of Q2 2020, over 93 million consumer and automotive DAB/DAB+ receivers had been sold in Europe and Asia Pacific – up from 82 million one year earlier.

Available to download as a detailed, multi-page infographic here, the new data published by WorldDAB gives a comprehensive overview of DAB receiver sales, road and population coverage, household penetration and the number of national stations on DAB/DAB+ compared to FM. The report covers Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.

DAB is now firmly established as the core future platform for radio in Europe – a position underlined by a number of recent regulatory initiatives and the growing popularity of consumer and automotive DAB+ receivers worldwide.

On a pan-European level, the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), adopted in December 2018, requires all new car radios in the EU to be capable of receiving digital terrestrial radio from 21 December 2020. 

Several EU countries – including Germany, the UK and Italy – have already introduced regulations to implement the EECC directive into national legislation, while other countries – including France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Greece, Czech Republic, Poland and Malta – have initiated procedures to implement the EECC into national legislation.

 Key findings from the WorldDAB report include:

  • In Switzerland, 71% of radio listening is on digital platforms (39% on DAB+) and plans have been announced for digital switchover between 2022 and 2023
  • In Germany, 25% of households own at least one DAB receiver – and a second national multiplex is launching today
  • In Italy, following the introduction of rules requiring all receivers to have DAB+ from 1st January 2020, sales of consumer DAB+ radios almost tripled in the first half of the year
  • In the UK, 65% of households have at least one DAB receiver – and France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Denmark are all showing positive signs of growth
  • In Norway, 100% of listening to national stations is on digital. Total radio reach in July 2020 at 2.8 million listeners is an all-time high
  • In Australia, 75% of new cars are now sold with DAB+, up from 60% in 2018
DAB is also seeing significant activity across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The infographic details the rollout status in 24 emerging markets including information on trials and population coverage.

“In spite of the pandemic, 2020 has been a strong year for DAB+ radio. The EECC takes effect from the end of this year, and interest in DAB+ is growing beyond the borders of Europe, including parts of Africa and the Middle East”, commented WorldDAB President Patrick Hannon. “Most recently, Switzerland revealed its plan for the phase-off of FM services. Germany is launching its second national multiplex today, and France will be launching national DAB+ services in 2021.”

To download the latest infographic, click here.


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6 October 2020 - 12:30pm
It is interesting that the Australian receiver sales have stagnated.

I note that all the Pure brand digital radios and there was a wide range are now in clearance. A search for the UK and Australian websites is now fruitless. I am not surprised at this because of the huge mark ups the Australian retailers are putting on. There have been 92 million DAB+ radios made there is the volume production that Asia requires. Some EU countries are making DAB+ compulsory, so why are they so expensive.

I suggest the following reasons;
The ACMA has not run the website program set for portable reception of DAB+ signals using values set by the European Broadcasting Union to find the real coverage black holes and then filled them with low powered repeaters. Reception must be as reliable as FM.

The ABC/SBS is busily promoting listening on line, mobile and on TV instead of using a DAB+ digital radio.

40 % of our population is in regional and remote areas where DAB+ has the smallest coverage area. DRM using the vacant old TV channels 0 - 2 will give much greater coverage and all of each broadcasters' programs can be carried on one transmitter per site. Currently there is no radio coverage at all to remote areas when not listening via the VAST fixed satellite system. High Frequency (SW) DRM can cover those areas with crystal clear stereo sound.

There are now single chip digital radio decoders which can decode DAB+ and DRM so no separate radios are required.

It needs to be remembered that digital broadcasting is the cheapest way of providing programs to large numbers of listeners compared to streaming for broadcasters and listeners.
Anthony The Koala
6 October 2020 - 6:18pm
During the nascent growth of 5G, the speed of IP transmissions will be faster than the current NBN. However as demand increases for consumption of media via IP streams, whether audio and/or video streaming, the data rate speeds may deteriorate unless there the telecommunication providers increase the 5G capacity.

Consuming media via portable devices such as smart phones have parallels to the introduction of car radios (smaller valves) and the transistor radio. Portability of radios and smartphones means media can be consumed anywhere: the beach, the home, the car, the workplace and public transport. There are issues where consumption of media is not possible when commuting in car and rail tunnels. As discussed on this site, that problem is solved by installing translators rebroadcasting the signals in the tunnel from the outside. This may well apply for the re-transmission of IP streams via 5G (or 3G or 4G).

The distinction between broadcast and IP streaming is that there is no need to update the infrastructure of an AM/FM/DAB+ transmitter as demand increases. In contrast, as demand increases for consumption of media via IP streams, requires an increase in the number of IP servers. So broadcasting by conventional AM/FM/DAB+ is certainly cheaper than providing IP streams. It is true that AM/FM/DAB+ as well as FTA broadcasters provide IP streams of their FTA broadcasts. BUT other media services are exclusively served via IP streams - audio-on-demand (AOD) from podcasts and VOD from Stan, Netflix, Disney and Kayo to name a few.

The advantage of IP streams of broadcasts compared to RF transmisions is that one is not bound by the geographic and physical boundaries of the broadcaster's and consumer's geographic and physical areas. People outside Australia may well listen to broadcasts outside their geographic area which is not available by conventional means of broadcasting.

Nevertheless, the claims of faster speeds from 5G compared to the NBN may well be true especially at the nascent stage. In the future, many more people will be consuming their media via IP streams. Then will the telecommunications provider increase the capacity of the 5G service by installing more servers in order to maintain the guaranteed speed of the 5G service?
Thus increasing IP servers to maintain the quality of the 'promised' speed of the 5G service may well result in increasing costs for the telecommunications provider. The issue of economies of scale of producing IP servers for the telecommunications providers is another topic.

The other issue to consider is the consumption of media via IP streams. When comparing the price of low speed of dial-up internet to today's high speed internet, today's data plans are cheaper. BUT constant demand for high quality audio, HD and 4K video streaming costs money. A 200GB capacity per month plan may well be used before the month is out.

Consequently, when one is wanting to consume media from FTA broadcasters in the consumer's geographic area, it makes sense to consume the media from conventional AM (MW), FM (VHF) and DAB+(VHF) transmissions compared to IP reception. But this is for FTA broadcasts only.

When it comes to regional broadcasting, the current policy has been that in consideration of allocation of frequency spectrum and consultation with the ACMA, the broadcaster will convert to FM rather than DRM+ even with DRM+'s greater coverage, 'high' quality signal, text broadcasting and facility to inform the listener of emergencies.

The article's WorldDAB+ report on consumption of DAB+ does not inform us on whether the high percentage of DAB+ use was due to policy or consumer demand.

In another comment I made on this side, there is policy instability and variability in the implementation of digital broadcasting. These are: a compulsory analogue switch off in Norway of its NRK and major commercial services, the implementation of DRM+ on India's All Air India, the non-concrete policies of whether to broadcast in digital, to the withdrawal of DAB+ broadcasts in Canada and NZ. RNZ's DRM+ service is limited to Tonga even if RNZ's DRM signal has been received in Spain.

The motivations of each country's policy to implement a digital service such as DAB+, DRM+ and HD (US) and compulsory installation of DAB+ receivers in cars may well be a mixture of political and economic decisions.

AM and FM radios are ubiquitous and cheap. DAB+ transmissions may be possible in regional areas. DAB+ receivers are becoming ubiquitous. But as Mr St. John in comments on this site has said that DAB+ is more suitable in cities than rural areas.

Ultimately, Australia's no DRM+ policy does not depend on the ACMA. The ACMA may well be taking submissions from various parties on digital broadcasting as it did in 2019. But the determination of any policy submissions is based within the scope of the laws administered by the ACMA. Such laws are made by our Parliament.

To change the policy of not implementing DRM+ to implementing a DRM+ policy should be directed to and lobbied to the Members of Parliament who make the laws.

Thank you,
Anthony of critical Belfield.
9 October 2020 - 1:48am
I should make the following comments
Firstly 5G at high speeds requires repeaters every 900 m, it will not penetrate buildings or terrain and is attenuated by trees particularly when wet. As far as 4G goes you must travel outside of Sydney Metropolitan area. The coverage area of a base station is around 10 km radius.

The cost of serving every listener simultaneously with radio programs is much more expensive than broadcast not only for the broadcaster but also for the listener. People think that listening on phones is free with unlimited data caps, but if large audiences do it the telcos have to increase bandwidth both in the air and between all the base stations and the radio stations. This will cause charges to rise.
Phone sound without headphones on is appalling unless bluetoothed to another sound system. Most radio listening happens in the daily commute, where the sound systems are much better.

From the end of this year all new cars in Europe must be capable of digital reception. It does not define what digital terrestrial system is required, but there are single chip processors capable of DAB+/DRM.

As far as Norway goes, the switchover was 3 years ago and now ratings have not only equalled the old FM but are now accelerating upwards and this is using DAB+ not the internet.
Forget Canada, that was the much inferior DAB using 1.4 GHz band. There is now none of these broadcasts because of poor propagation. DAB+ gives much more program choice and much more protection against transmission errors.

India has 36 high powered DRM transmitters in the medium frequency band on air, 4 are pure DRM the others transmit an hour of DRM only per day the rest of the time is a simulcast. They are now installing 6 x 2 megawatt MF DRM transmitters to increase the coverage from 600 million people to the rest of their 1300 million people. They have a small commercial radio coverage and are now going to offer DRM+ to commercial broadcasters.

The ABC has an 10 kW experimental licence for DRM+ for the Upper Murray Region. The closest major town is Wodonga Victoria

The politicians won't change the laws unless the broadcasters push them to do it.
Anthony The Koala
10 October 2020 - 12:11pm
Dear Mr St. John,
Thank you for informing us about the practicalities of RF versus IP streams and that broadcasting via RF is more economical for the broadcaster and the consumer who don't have to pay for data rates. I said something similar where a 200GB monthly limit may be 'gobbled up' before the month's end especially when consuming HD and 4k media.

When it comes to the policy in modes of broadcast transmission whether AM, FM, DAB+ or DRM+, we both concluded that a change in policy requires amendment of the legislation via our Members of Parliament. Your emphasis was that the laws "....won't change the laws unless the broadcasters push them to do it..."

When you mentioned that there are ICs which process the DAB+ and DRM signals, it reminds me of two things, software defined radio (SDR) and whether people who possess a DAB+ receiver may well have DRM+ functionality but being disabled.

One, I came across SDR by accident after purchasing a USB DVB dongle for my computer. The dongle could process TV signals. The 'accident' came by playing around with the supplied software. With the software I could be able to change the frequency away from the standard DVB TV and FM radio frequencies and was able to listen to for example LPON non-English speaking radio services on 154MHz as an example.

I later discovered from downloading free SDR software that one could demodulate any kind of signal whether AM, SSB, DSB, FM, DAB+ to name a few. The software could process/filter the AM (MW) frequencies and the resulting signal is noise-reduced. You could even choose the bandwidth of the AM (MW) frequency. One qualification was that one needed to purchase a PCB which translates down to 500kHz as the USB dongle's minimum frequency was 30MHz.

Given that signal processing of any kind of signal can be performed by SDR, one wonders why such receivers are not available on the marketplace in the form of a mantelpiece or tabletop or hi-fi unit or car. Not just SDR for DAB+ and DRM+ but for AM (MF) and FM (VHF) (88Mhz-108MHz).

Two, you mentioned that modern DAB+ and DRM+ receivers are controlled by software. I have Sangean and Pure receivers at home. Different brands, BUT same operational functionality and display. Methinks that the well-known brands even other branded radios have the same IC processing the DAB+ signals.

While I would never tweak inside my DAB+ radio, I'd like to know whether the radio listener is being cheated of the radio's potential to receive DRM+ signals but have been disabled and if they are enabled, the manufacturer can leverage the price of these receivers and market them as AM/FM/DAB+/DRM+ when in fact the DRM+ section is a simple switch from DAB+.

Thank you again Mr St. John,
Anthony of curious Belfield

13 October 2020 - 6:43pm
A UK company Frontier Silicon has produced DAB+ chips and modules for many manufacturers including Pure. I don't think they are SDR but the tasks are done in specially designed chips.

Another reason why they appear to the the same is that all the broadcasters are producing signals to an Australian/European standard specification. Unfortunately many receivers in Australia are only capable of a single line of scrolling text and are incapable of displaying images and Journaline text. I don't know if they will respond to the Emergency Warning Functionality either. If they do they cannot display maps and detailed instructions because the screen is incapable of it.

You are learning of the advantages of SDRs. Most Infotainment systems in cars are also SDRs as well and there are an increasing numbers of SDR receivers for enthusiasts.

With SDRs, there is a warning required, and that is particularly for automotive and long distance reception that there must be a tuned filter between the antenna and any RF Amplifier and the Analog to Digital Converter. This is to prevent interference from other strong signals either within the band or well out of the band for example sparking sources such as lightning, lighting and switchmode power supplies which are in virtually any mains powered modern piece of equipment.
Anthony The Koala
16 October 2020 - 7:46am
Dear Mr St. John,
Thank you for alerting the reader to "Frontier Silicon", the major manufacturer of ICs for DAB+

The range of ICs available to manufacturers allow for DAB,DAB+ and FM with:
Fancy graphical display:
Standard one line display:

This IC handles FM, DAB, DAB+ as well as IP streaming radio:

Unfortunately, on examination of their product flyers, their offering of ICs do not include DRM+.

When looking at the block diagrams especially for the radio-only ICs, I thought why not include a network IP connection in order for broadcasters audience measurement. In previous reports for this site, IP radio delivered to smart phones could measure audience by the broadcaster, how long the person listened to a particular station and how often.

But it appears than broadcasters should lobby the IC manufacturer for networking if they want more reliable audience measurement than a diary.

Thank you,
Anthony of researching Belfield

Similarly, none of their ICs have functionality emergency broadcast reception as in DRM+.

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