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All posts by Michael Rogers

Below are all of Michael Rogers's postings, with the most recent are at the bottom of the page.

M
DAB updates
Tuesday 28 June 2011 9:28AM

NORTH DEVON DAB - Mike, I am pro-DAB-as-it-
could-be. The current hot issue is the Now Digital application to extend to North Devon, BUT with restricted coverage, as mapped in the Ofcom public consultation document. The Ofcom consultation ends tomorrow. Only if a substantial number of relays are added will 10C coverage, including BBC Radio Devon, in the hilly north of North Devon be assured. For commercial operators, the additional returns on such investment are unattractive. That may be why Government, BBC and commercial operators are conferring now. If agreement is reached and enough fill-in relays are included to genuinely equal current FM/AM coverage, that part of the DAB issue will be resolved. Other issues will remain, but we may be coerced into a brave new world which really only offers one significant advantage: more stations. DAB reception is interference-free if the signal is robust, as is FM now. Reduced audio quality (bitrates) might be acceptable in exchange for more stations IF coverage is genuinely at least equal to current FM/AM.

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Italian TV - Alan, see previous posts above and on
www.ukfree.tv/helpme.php?faqid=1107051174
Some channels have changed frequency; some are now encrypted some of the time. If she has a codice fiscale, the best option is to get a new Tivu box which, once activated with the codice, will receive all available channels all of the time.

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I have yet to look at the Ofcom documentation, but at first sight it looks as if they are now being more realistic about propagation and coverage at 225MHz. If we then accept the slightly inferior audio quality compared to FM (low bit-rates, DAB instead of DAB+), the main issues will be resolved. We will then need low-consumption DAB radios for battery use and more one-click memories. Hopefully, there will be enough remaining on FM/AM for the millions of existing radios to be saved from landfill.
I look forward to further information on these aspects!

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Nice to see a robust debate resurge! All make salient points. I would have been content with FM (and would welcome DRM on MW/LW one day...), but the theory of digital superiority will doubtless be imposed via DAB. As long as de-facto coverage and reception really is at least equal to FM now, at home on a portable and on the road, it will be worth it to receive the World Service and maybe one or two others! The sound-alike commercial stations may not all survive, so FM might have been good enough for the "survivors". Once implementation has been effected, lower running costs will comfort commercial operators. Should home reception not meet promises / expectations, I will relay the WS and local radio via micro-FM to save landfill from our many FM portables :-) Currently, there is a problem with "warbling" and cliff-edge silence when the DAB telescopic aerial is moved. I am not aware of plans to increase erp of existing DAB transmitters, without which "warbling" may be here to stay in less populated areas, as FM hiss and swish now. Maybe the DAB bird-song station was a discrete jibe... I will read the Ofcom online tome and sumit my comments in due time. Let?s be positive and hope for the best!

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True, but many have already bought DAB radios that are not compatible with DAB+. Asking them
(and manufacturers) to throw these together with many FM/AM radios into landfill would be a bridge too far. Even ivory tower residents muse on this! One has one?s doubts as to whether community radio will keep FM radios purring in all corners of the realm.

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High-power AM and FM stations are far more expensive to run than DAB with equivalent coverage. But the cost of decommissioning
the old and establishing the new must also be factored in. Low-power FM transmitters for community (and pirate) operators are, however, budget-friendly. If many low-power FM transmitters sprout up, Ofcom will need to spend extra bucks to monitor them all! The switch-off of major FM networks would, indeed, seem to be receding in view of commercial, political, technical and budget problems - and listener preferences.

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Interesting contrast! There are ... and then statistics! It all depends on the base-line and the difficulty of comparing like and unlike. It will certainly be expensive to set up and run the many additional DAB transmitters necessary for public satisfaction. Given the inglorious implementation of DSO in many areas, one might wonder how well the DAB promises (spelt : theoretical projections) will materialise. An intelligent compromise would seem indicated, but...

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"...evidence of unmet demand for local stations?" - By pirates, but even they might not find it so much fun when they will be able to get a licence for a song! There will probably be some interest in "community radio", akin to ethnic stations in urban centres - but sustainably and on a large scale? The suggestion of BBC in one band and commercial radio in the other is interesting
lateral thinking and might make best use of all available FM and DAB spectrum, but would probably only merit serious consideration if "they" had thought of it first... A variant would be national networks in one band and local and regional in the other.

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M
DAB updates
Thursday 7 July 2011 9:49AM

Block 10C, North Devon - This Ofcom plan does offer better hope of FM-equivalent coverage - except in areas including my own(!), even if the best option (Case 4, modified Network 3) were to be implemented. A big "if"! In table 2.1 do "VHF", "Airwave" and "Orange" refer to installing infill DAB relays on these existing masts? The current Now Digital proposal for 10C shows the lowest area coverage, with no indication that it would ever be improved as in this Ofcom plan. Unless wider coverage is subsidised by Government and/or the BBC for regional DAB, full implementation would seem commercially unattractive. I haven?t yet found the BBC DAB updates referred to by you, J. If commercial viability were to impede full implementation, amended legislation could allow the BBC to add local-SFN multiplexes to its existing national SFN installations. Where are the BBC updates listed, please?

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M
DAB updates
Thursday 7 July 2011 10:32AM

"A BBC input to the Ofcom consulation on the approach to planning DAB build-out, 14 June 2011" - I just found this, presumably the data referred to. Please confirm if there is anything else relevant online. I have yet to read it in detail to ascertain what is indicative and what definite. Along the coast, we receive the national SFN and commercial multiplexes from Wales, but a little inland there are big moth-holes in coverage :-)

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