DAB+ is relatively new to the UK and some of the UK’s national digital and local radio stations use this new technology. Although there are benefits to DAB+ some older radios don’t understand the new standard and you may not be able to receive DAB+ stations.
Some digital radios can be upgraded to receive DAB+ stations, but unfortunately many cannot and you may have to buy a replacement radio to receive Jazz FM, Fun Kids and Magic Chilled across the UK.
DAB Digital Radio launched in the UK in the 1990’s and most digital radio stations in the UK currently use this version of the DAB standard.
DAB+ (sometimes called DAB plus) is a newer version of DAB and has been used in some European countries for some time. DAB+ is more efficient than DAB, allowing more stations to be broadcast and in higher quality if desired by the broadcaster.
A radio which can only receive DAB will not be able to receive DAB+ stations. However, DAB+ sets are ‘backwards-compatible’ and will receive both DAB and DAB+ stations. The first services to use DAB+ have launched recently, both nationally and on small ‘trial’ multiplexes.
Although millions of digital radios have been sold the distinction between DAB and DAB+ has only been made clear recently on packaging and websites by some manufacturers. Many shops and online retailers continue to sell radios which cannot receive DAB+ stations.
As some radios won’t be able to receive DAB+ stations it’s unlikely that many services would switch to the newer DAB+ soon.
When purchasing a new radio it’s worth ensuring it supports FM, DAB and DAB+. The easiest way to check is to look for the Digital Radio Tick Mark. This logo only appears on radios which are ready for DAB+.