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All posts by Trevor Harris

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


In my previous post I argued that sky loosing BBC would have little impact on Sky numbers. I based this on what happened when ITV refused to be on Sky. Most Tv's have a Freeview tuner so it is easy enough to see BBC programs.

I guess there may be some people with Sky who do not watch Sky channels. That is certainly not true with me. I usually watch at least 3 premiership games a week and I am also keen F1 which take up several hours of viewing over 3 days. Of course there is the Ashes at the moment. I am very keen on HD so I can watch ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, Sky News and Five in HD. I also watch some output on Atlantic, and Watch. The grand children watch some of the Sky childrens channels as well. Pepper pig seems to be the fad at the moment.

So as far as I am concerned Sky is good value for me.

I have found that my BBC viewing has droped in the last few years. Antiques Roadshow, New tricks, and one or two dramas and thats it. As I have said before BBC1 is now 65% repeats and this is meant to be thier flagship channel. Even the peak viewing slots are often repeats. Most evenings I don't watch anything on BBC.

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@ Mike Dimmick

My point still stands. if the BBC want to have a sky and a freesat epg they have to go through Sky's adaptation hub. As I understand it the streams that Sky sends though the hub is fairly basic now and then stream. Freesat is more complicated in that they use it for controlling PVR function as well as now and the data. So as I understand it Freesat is more dependent on these streams. I must admit I am not up todate on what Freesat streams control so things might have changed.


As I understand it News International no longer exists. It was split into 2 companies 21st Centuary Fox and News Corp. I think 21st centuary Fox only has a 37% share in sky and Murdoch family has about 12% of that but I am not sure how it is split. So the argument that many people give for not having Sky because of Murdoch is a bit silly considering how small his interest is. Actually I guess your pension scheme probably has shares in Sky in any case.

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The latest RAJAR figures are out.
Rajar figures have to be read very carefully for 3 reasions. Firstly it is difficult to compare with previous figures because they keep changing thier interview techniques. R ajar do warn people of this. The second reason is that they do not give any statistical error probabilities. With such small changes error are significant. The third reason is that the raw data is not available to the public.

So given those caveats it does seem that FM listening has decreased. But it does not mean all those have switched to DAB. The DAB listening has slightly increased over the last year. What is suprising to even me is that the increase was so small for the following reason. The BBC has spent an awfull lot of tax payers money extending its DAB coverage to what they consider to be the same as FM. The BBC has also spent alot of money ramming down our throats at every opertunity that we should buy a DAB radio. Considering this I expected a much higher increase. It just goes to show that it is not coverage that is limiting DAB takeup. People just don't want it.

You talk about a switch off in 2018-2020. The plan infact was for 2015 and so it has already failed.

Internet radio is relativly small at the moment but I believe it will become the medium of choice. I have a digital radio but I always use the internet and the DAB tuner remains unused because of the poor sound quality.

That national block you refer to is for commercial use. Channel 4 bought it but had to give it back to ofcom because they couldn't find any stations that wanted it.

The expansion issue I refered to was that the DAB system has a limit on the spacial density of transmitters. As I understand it this limit has been reached in many areas.

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The Swedish issue

Firstly according to this report France has abandoned DAB+ and is now considering the cheaper DRM+ system.

Digital Radio Europe 2013: French Riviera DRM+ To Be Presented

You might like to read about the presses reaction to the Swedish announcement.

Digital Radio Europe 2013: DAB Proposal Facing Negative Press Opinion

The main point is that DAB+ is rubish and the people do not like being forced into buying DAB radios by threatening to switch off FM.

Actually the EBU recomend DAB+ or DRM+ and so the BBC is out on it's own with the obsolete DAB system.

DRM+ has lots of advantages over DAB+ but I am not so sure we need a dedicated radio system with the 3G and 4G netwoks now becoming available.

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@KMJ Derby

Yes you are right 3G is very patchy in some areas but that is fixable. In any case there is FM to fall back on. Of course most people would use their wifi system.

Mind you DRM on long/medium wave and DRM+ in Band 2 would be fairly attractive as they are much cheaper than DAB.

What ever happens it should be driven by consumer demand and not by the BBC or Government telling us how we should listen.

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Had a quick look at Ofcoms paper and checked it wasn't April Fools day. Although techncally interesting it still suffers from all the disadvantages of DAB. Of course only a small proportion of people have DAB radios and everyone has at least one FM radio.

In any case it has nothing to do with the Governments plan to force people to buy DAB radios by threatening to switch off national FM.

Interestingly Ruxandra Obreja is Chair of the DRM Consortium, and Head of Digital Radio Development ,BBC World Service, UK. So the BBC is very involved in the development of DRM.

Came acros this rather good Webinar….pdf

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Is there realy a demand for this. Previous attemps such us the Isle of Wight local tv failed.

I would have thought a connected tv app would be much better with programs and local news available on demand.

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Actually I do not believe the long medium and short wave frequencies have no future in broadcasting. Using DRM at these frequencies would be very attractive in that large areas can be covered with very few transmitters makeing it very cheap.

Your title that the end is nigh for analogue is just not true. The Government has never had any plans to close down FM. It has only proposed to close the BBC's main national stations.

DAB is dead long live FM.

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Why the end of analogue radio is not near.

Firstly as I said in my previous post there has never been any proposal to switch off FM transmisions in the UK. The proposal by the Governmant and the BBC is only to switch off the the BBC's national services. The FM band will continue to be used for broadcasting. There are no current plans to switch off FM. The talk of a switch off was to fool people into buying DAB radios makeing them believe that there FM radios would go silent.

The Governments proposal is to switch off the national stations when the proportion of listeners listening on FM drops to 50%. Well just think about that for a minute. If they were to do this 50% of listeners will loose thier radio service over night. Even the BBC would not want to loose half thier radio audiance in one go. It will also mean that millions of licence payers would be denied a radio service. Neither the BBC or the Government would be stupid enough to do this.

DAB is dead. Long Live FM.

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"Community radio stations (which are not profit making) will continue on FM. "

This assumes that the Government will be able to persuade commercial stations to move off FM. The only reason many commercial stations transmit on DAB is that they were bribed by Ofcom guaranteeing them an FM frequency if they are on DAB. Its very unlikely they would be profitable as DAB only stations. If the BBC were to leave FM this would release FM frequencies creating a big demand from commercial stations. Ofcom is unlikely to give these frequencies to non profit stations when they could make lots of money selling them to commercial operators.

"It will also mean that millions of licence payers would be denied a radio service"

FM is very popular in cars and is a very significant audiance so millions of listeners would be denied. FM has RDS which DAB does not support. As for Freeview or Satallite they are not portable . Not everyone has a TV in every room!!. Yes internet would be an option but if they did this DAB radio listening would still be low and not worth continuing. Just goes to show that DAB is redundant and a complete waist of money.

"I find it very strange that you are so set on other people not having a choice of stations to listen to, just because you are happy with the few stations you can get on FM."

Thats a bit sharp. I am not against choice but I am against the BBC forcing DAB down our throats when the majority don't want it. DAB was never designed increase choice. Choice has been achived by sacrificing quality. Back to mono with an audio quality lower than AM. I did not say I was happy with what you can get on FM. Infact most of my radio listening is on the Internet which gives me a massive choice and a very high quality on some stations. There are some stations which are broadcasting in the uncompressed FLAC format.

"Your position is somewhat selfish, money saved from FM transmission could be recycled into more content"

Ha Ha the money is more likely to end up in BBC executives pockets.

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