So digital radio is coming to the masses, but just how improved will our digital listening experience really be, and will it truly justify the price tag of a brand new digital receiver for the house and car?
Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) is already out there, whether you like it or not. First generation receivers that would currently set you back around eight hundred quid will soon be replaced by cheaper, feistier second generation kit developed by the Japanese electronic giants, we are told.
The CD-quality sound DAB heralds should not be confused with the current streaming analogue audio currently available from a range of commercial radio link-sites across the Internet.
High-quality digital radio across the Internet will inevitably become widely available as and when the broadband consumer network to carry it is in place. But if you'll excuse the pun, this still remains a pipe dream for the foreseeable future. The BBC however, has already invested massively in wireless DAB -- the type that requires a receiver -- boasting 60 per cent coverage of the UK population to date. Virgin is also heavily committed to developing a DAB service, so the ball is most definitely rolling.
One thing is for certain: personal, microprocessor-controlled intelligent receivers, boasting zero multipath interference, text feeds, global positioning and seamless mobile tuning are on their way. If you're looking for hiss-free techno with textual guides to the nearest rave off the M25, or crystal clear arias with English subtitles, DAB is for you.
More to follow.