A everyone is talking about the digital future in the car. What is often forgotten: It already exists - in the radio sector. With so-called digital audio broadcasting, or DAB for short, the new era was ushered in more than 15 years ago, and the beginning was promising: DAB promised not only better sound than analogue FM radio, but also in addition to Audio signal also loads of data services. Incidentally, the station density should get a boost.
But nothing came of the brave new world - DAB cannot hold a candle to FM even today. There are several reasons for the failure: On the one hand, the special car radios were too expensive for a long time, and on the other hand, DAB with its island-like broadcasting areas did not ensure optimal reception. The standard became finally uninteresting because of the meager program selection. Audi, BMW, Mercedes or VW stayed on their DAB devices.
More data services possible with Digital Radio Plus
That may change now, because it has been around since summer 2011 further developed DAB +. The successor does not have any reception problems, and more data services are possible. And the plus version also basically implements nationwide reception, which has always remained a dream, even with DAB. So you can always enjoy the same station on the trip from Munich to Hamburg as soon as the last gaps in the network are filled.
The radio stations have taken a liking to the new standard. The public broadcasters are almost finished with the changeover, the private broadcasters are just following suit. There is also movement on the part of the device industry. More and more car radios at reasonable prices from 180 euros are released with DAB +.
Manufacturers do not upgrade DAB +
themselves Audi, BMW, Mercedes and VW are involved in the concert and already adapted their devices in summer 2010 - to the chagrin of some customers. Anyone who bought a car shortly before that was given the old DAB standard and is now disadvantaged. Because DAB + cannot be retrofitted by the manufacturers, corresponding solutions are only available on the free market.
Kufatec, for example (kufatec.de), will soon be offering retrofitting for the DAB factory radios from Mercedes, BMW and Audi . Price: around 350 euros. The MediaDAB from Dietz (dietz.biz) is similarly expensiveRadio controls are equipped on the steering wheel, can be installed. There are even retrofit solutions for VHF devices - DAB + is already more successful than DAB.