What to Look for When Buying a Digital Radio

Radio lovers can now enjoy an even better listening experience as this perennial medium goes digital.  Digital radio offer listeners an exciting range of new features including:

  • Interference-free reception and clearer sound
  • A wider range of stations – not only listen to the stations you know and love, but also enjoy up to 22 additional digital-only stations covering a variety of music and entertainment genres such as comedy, country, jazz and dance.
  • Easier to find stations as you tune your digital radio by station name rather than frequency.

Digital radio is a completely free service.  To tune in, all you need is a digital receiver or device containing a DAB+ chip such as a clock radio, iPod dock, portable radio or media device.  Digital receivers range from around $70 for a basic digital radio to upwards of $300 for a device for more functionality.  The more advanced features offered by digital radios are similar to digital set top boxes and personal video recorders.
If you are thinking about buying a digital radio, here are some of the features you should look for: DAB+ Logo If you are shopping online you may have noticed that there are many different types of digital radios available.  Only DAB+ enabled devices can receive digital radio in Australia.  When shopping for a digital radio, look for devices with a DAB+ logo. Electronic Program Guide (EPG) If you want the ability to scroll through and see the program schedule of your selected radio station, your device will need an Electronic Program Guide.  In general, EPGs are only included on digital radios with a recording function. Recording Function Look for a digital radio with a recording function if you would like to record programs to listen to whenever you choose.  Digital radios with this function will either have an internal memory or a memory card slot.  Check the memory capacity and find out the maximum number of programs that can be saved, since some devices will over-write previously recorded material. Pause and Rewind Radios with rewind and pause functions let you go 10 to 15 minutes back in a program, depending on the broadcast’s bit rate.  Devices with this capability will in the future allow users to download music directly to the radio’s internal memory and Electronic Program Guides. Intellitext Intellitext is a scrolling text display that tells you about the broadcast you are listing to.  If you want to be able to see useful information such as the title and artist of a song or scores and refereeing decisions during a sporting match, look for a digital radio with this feature. Presets If you want to be able to save your favourite stations so you can access them at a single touch, find a device that includes preset buttons otherwise you may be stuck having to access your favourites via a menu. Stereo Sound If you prefer to listen to the radio in stereo sound, go for a device that has two speakers or one that you can easily connect to your hi-fi.

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