No improvement in sight to DAB quality



A week or so a ago I email Digital One regarding the uptake of the new AAC+HE audio standard which is being adopted in some countries over the next couple of years. AAC+ offers significantly better quality than MPEG Layer II. Here is the reply I got....

"Thank you for your query.

1. At present there are no plans for any radio station to use any other audio standard than MPEG Layer II in the UK. Ofcom has specifically restricted all DAB broadcasting in the UK to MPEG Layer II, including the new multiplex licences.

2. Other countries may introduce AAC+HE coding, in some cases alongside MPEG Layer II, but this will be locally determined.

3. If AAC+HE begins to achieve significant take-up in other countries then at some point we might expect to see some AAC+HE compatible radios on sale in the UK but only in products from manufacturers which are truly pan-European. It is worth pointing out that consumer electronics products are often country-specific versions - UK products have 13amp plugs for example. Manufacturers tend not to add unnecessary cost to products if there is no local market for it.

4. Radios which can receive AAC+HE are expected to be backwards compatible i.e.: they will also receive radio stations broadcast using MPEG Layer II. On that basis, even if radios that use AAC+HE are sold in the UK, they will also receive MPEG Layer II stations.

5. If in the future Ofcom allowed AAC+HE to be used in the UK, there is likely to be a further period of perhaps 5-8 years before a significant number of broadcasters offered new AAC+HE services. However, we would expect many stations, particularly the more popular ones, to continue to be available for some time beyond this in MPEG Layer II.

Kind regards
Hannah Larkin
Digital One

Cable Monkey

Prominent Member
That e-mail suggests to me there is an improvement in sight, all be it a few years down the line. As always the BBC will be early adopters, the big players will follow relatively quickly. They were never goint to simply switch MP2 off so to me there is no huge surprise. I also think the uptake will not be immediate anywhere else because they too have used MP2 up until now. Patience is the key here but I am confident Ofcom will not allow us to become totally isolated from other Northern European countries.


Established Member
Sounds like a standard line to limit damage to consumer confidence in the run-up to Christmas.

This is from a company that is now broadcasting 5 of its 8 stations in MONO on its multiplex. Digital One would do ANYTHING to squeeze in more stations and it won't be long before they start lobbying Ofcom to allow them to use it.

PS does anyone really believe that companies such as Sony and Panasonic are going to make one model for the UK and one for the rest of Europe when the European ones are backward-compatible with the UK broadcasts? Of course they're not, it's absolute nonsense to even suggest it. They will mass produce DAB radios built to one international specification, just like an FM radio.

The latest video from AVForums

⭐ Philips OLED908 TV & Musical Fidelity A1 amp reviews + a look at two home cinema speaker packages
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Top Bottom