Old Technologies

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Plutonius, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    Norway is reported to be starting the shutdown of their FM broadcast network next week. Norway's parliament voted to eliminate FM broadcasting after being told they would have a greater choice of stations and a clearer sound with a switch to digital. Sweden is eliminating their FM broadcast in the future and even the UK is considering it.

    I have a digital radio in my car that picks up both FM and digital radio. The digital radio does sound much better but, similar to digital broadcast TV, the broadcast range is much shorter. Seeing as the car radio can get both FM and digital broadcast, why are the governments mandating an end to FM ?

    An estimated two million cars in Norway only have FM radio and would require the owners to spend money in order to receive broadcast. What real reasons could the government have to force this change ?
  2. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    The problem is range, the expensive digital transmitters are super expensive !
  3. aaronvan Suspended


    Dec 21, 2011
    República Cascadia
    I saw that. Sounds like a pointless exercise in government regulation although I'm sure the transition will take years. Norway does have a long history of digital radio development. Anyway, I wonder what digital modulation they use over there?
  4. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    To free up radio frequency spectrum, which is inherently finite in nature - especially at frequencies that are useful for radio communications.

    Traditional FM radio broadcasting is quite "wasteful" of spectrum. You have to separate non-digital broadcast stations quite far apart on the band - which is why you typically only have a dozen or so radio stations available at any one time.

    Purely digital broadcasts can be packed much, much closer together. Which is why you can fit hundreds, and sometimes many thousands of simultaneous cellular phone calls in roughly the same sized slice of spectrum.

    The advent of mobile phone technology, as well as wi-fi and other communications protocols, has made radio spectrum in general much more valuable as a public good. So good for Norway for taking this step.
  5. NeilHD macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2014
    UK was going to turn off FM, too. Not sure if that's still going ahead or not. DAB coverage is limited and most cars - even new ones - don't come with it.
  6. Plutonius thread starter macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    The FM band is from 88 MHz to 108 MHz with radio stations separated by .2 MHz (i.e. 100.1, 100.3, 100.5). This is actually a very very small portion of the total communication bandwidth and gives you a theoretical limit of close to 100 FM broadcast received at a given location. I'm not sure how it is in the midwest but where I am, I get at least 40 - 50 FM stations. You are also forgetting the greatly reduced range of the digital transmissions. Those thousands of stations are useless if you don't have the range to receive them.

    Mobile phones in Europe use from 890 - 960MHz so the current FM band is useless for them and even LTE starts at 710 MHz. Wifi is in the GHz range so the FM band is useless for them also.

    I agree with you that FM broadcasting is wasteful on the spectrum compared to digital but should the government be shutting down the FM broadcast spectrum for very little bandwidth gain in an area of the spectrum that WiFi will not use and I can't see mobile phones ever using. Also, millions of drivers will be affected by this and forced to spend lots of money if they want to be able to receive broadcast in their cars.

    Government does have a responsibility but, in this case, let the free market decide the fate of FM broadcasting. If the consumer decides that digital broadcasting is much better than FM broadcasting, FM broadcasting will die out on it's own.
  7. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2010
    Totally clueless on digital
    Radio here. Would it be like the switch from SD to HD for tvs? Meaning I would use my new digital radio but probably still tune to 92.3 in NYC for the same station? I think I have a digital radio in the minivan, it says the title of the song when playing. But it still say I'm on FM.
  8. DrewDaHilp1 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 29, 2009
    All Your Memes Are Belong to US
    LOL. When I bought my last TV I thought all I had to do was scan the channels. I didn't know you had to have an antenna. I had to call my nephew that is in his 20's to ask what was wrong, I'm in my 30's. :(

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