Good and bad innovations

 

I love the new. I have been an early adopter of better technology. I had one of the first mobile phones when they came out and I was running a major company where the mobile came in handy. I bought an early home computer. Some of the new technology on cars is great. The internet is a radical and liberalising force which is transforming the way we live.

What I do not like so much is a monopoly or regulator telling me I have to adopt technology which I would not bother to buy for myself. The great digital switch over forced me to throw away two tvs that were still working fine, and landed me with a bill for a new tv which for months gave a worse picture than the ones I had thrown out. Now I am told I have to scrap my cheap but effective radios which I run on FM, in  order to go over to dearer digital radios. I have listened to digital radios at other people’s homes and have not been persuaded that they offer something better that I want to pay for.

If it’s not broken don’t fix it. If there is an advantage for the BBC to switch then why don’t they give me a rebate on my tv licence to help me buy a replacement radio? It’s just another time consuming regulatory burden on us, to have to scrap good radios and go to the trouble of buying new ones we would not otherwise buy. Doubtless it will also swell the import bill, as most of the new radios are made abroad. It’s good news for China.

 

The BBBC is running a Digital Radio campaign on its website, and is pushing digital radios as Christmas presents for people.

Leave us alone.

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111 Comments

  1. Martyn G
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    “Now I am told I have to scrap my cheap but effective radios which I run on FM, in order to go over to dearer digital radios”. Indeed, and let me first say that I am not a Luddite resisting change, but the UK DAB system, already out of date, is incompatible with the rest of the world, including Europe.

    Portable DAB radios eat batteries at twice the rate of FM sets and if the in-car DAB radios are anything like mine it is virtually useless outside of the local area it is tuned to. It is claimed that DAB is of higher transmitted quality than FM. Wrong! Transmission bandwidth limitations for many channels produce a lower quality audio output. A big selling point offered is that DAB provides the listener with the opportunity to read on a small screen scrolling information about the channel or title of the music etc. Silly old me, I thought radios were for listening to, not watching……

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      “Portable DAB radios eat batteries at twice the rate of FM sets” – far worse than that, more like 10 times the rate often – and the walkman type of radios are huge, too heavy and have very poor or no reception in weak signal areas.

  2. matthu
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    You are absolutely right, John.

    We are being forced to replace technology at an ever increasing rate and, of course, none of these obligatory upgrades have been properly taken into account when calculating the cost of living.

    • bigneil
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      how much extra tax did the govt make from forcing people to buy new tvs if they wanted to carry on watching?

  3. Mark B
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    John Redwood MP wrote;

    ” If there is an advantage for the BBC to switch then why don’t they give me a rebate on my tv licence to help me buy a replacement radio?”

    Errrm ! I hate to be the one to break this to you, and indeed I could actually be wrong but, it isn’t the BBC that is responsible. I think you will find that those responsible, are the Government and the Legislature, the later of which you are a part. Sorry.

    As to the theme of your Article, well, I am a slow adopter, having bought a Betamax Video when they first came out. Oh the shame !

    The advantage of digital, is that more information can be transmitted about the program, song or item. This can be useful, but even this technology could one day soon be redundant thanks to roaming WiFi and personal music players and mobile phones.

    What does irritate me about modern technology is the pace. As soon as a product is released, within 6-12 months its replacement or a slightly better one comes out. We all know that a certain electronics provider (named after a fruit) is quite good at this. They also release software that is not backwards compatible. This means it will not run the latest ‘Apps’. :o/ This intern compels some to buy the latest and shiniest.

    Since most of the products sold are not made in this country, not buying them will not put someone here out of a job in some factory. Retailers are going out of fashion due to other pressures.

    So whilst technology is good, sometimes it does need a guiding hand from those above. And anyway, think of all the money the Government will be able to make now that they have cleared the airwaves and can sell off the frequencies ;o).

    John Redwood MP also wrote;

    “Leave us alone.”

    Oi, that’s my line !!! }:o/

    Reply I can assure you it is the BBC driving this change

    • acorn
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      As the early adopter, the BBC got stuck with a system that was out of date before they fired up the transmitters. Offcom does not appear to be in favour of the DAB+ / DMB technology, which is far more spectrum efficient; gets more programs per transmitter MHz. BTW: have you noticed a modern smart phone battery will last for days, yet all three of my DAB radios get three hours on a set of “D” cells? So now they are plugged into the mains.

      (Arqiva published reply to Ofcom consultation). “Arqiva also believes that Ofcom has underestimated consumers and painted an unnecessarily gloomy picture of confusion following any announcement on DAB+. Certainly if Ofcom were to announce a migration plan for all existing multiplexes that might indeed stall purchases of DAB receivers. But if Ofcom permitted the new national commercial multiplex to implement DAB+, this would not in itself remove any services from consumers and would provide an incentive for consumers to upgrade or future proof their next DAB radio (once a consumer has one DAB radio, they invariable buy another one) – to the extent that the operator of that multiplex chose to implement DAB+ and the relevant services were attractive. As other countries come to launch DAB networks they are likely to do so using DAB+, and manufacturers will respond by launching new receivers capable of decoding both MP2 and DAB+. These new models will then appear in UK shops. If Ofcom defers permitting DAB+ for several years as proposed, this will lock in the UK’s “first mover disadvantage” and, as dual mode radios were increasingly purchased by UK consumers, those consumers would be unable to take advantage of all of the technology which they had paid for.

      Further if Ofcom were to maintain “radio silence” on DAB+ for fear of scaring consumers, then most consumers purchasing dual mode receivers would do so inignorance – just as those who did not future proof their next radio would have failed
      to do so in ignorance of the choice available to them. Arqiva would suggest that that in itself may generate consumer confusion and resentment when Ofcom finally determines that the UK can catch up with other countries.”

      • forthurst
        Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        “BTW: have you noticed a modern smart phone battery will last for days, yet all three of my DAB radios get three hours on a set of “D” cells? So now they are plugged into the mains.”

        My mobile cost £15 and is not smart at all, being unable to take selfies at funerals, but it does incorporate an fm receiver, nevertheless, which I assume did not increase the overall manufacturing cost significantly.

        It is perfectly true that DAB uses an inefficient codec, but, if there were a switch to DAB+, why would batteries last any longer? There is still the need for detection, decoding, digital to analogue conversion and amplification; why would giving the decoder a data stream of greater data compression to decompress make the overall system more efficient in terms of energy consumption?

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 13, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        Why do they need so many channels they only have enough decent programs to fill about two.

        90% is about Mandela and digital radios at the moment 5 % of that would still be more than sufficient.

    • Bob
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink


      Reply I can assure you it is the BBC driving this change

      For what reason? Is this another EU directive?

      The BBC has become a white elephant to this country and I for one am glad that Guido Fawkes has exposed Chris Patten’s deceit over the Pollard Whitewash. Patten has gone completely native and if David Cameron had a backbone he would sack him and report the misconduct of all concerned for further action. The BBC and the so called “Trust” is (not doing well ed).

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        “Not doing well” is a bit of an understatement – it is appalling, like so much of the biased BBC.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Sorry you can’t get away with that. I quote from the Guardian ” Ed Vaizey, the minister for culture, communications and creative industries, is due to clarify the government’s switchover plans on 16 December.”

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      To reply:

      Well the government should just tell the BBC to get lost and change its idiotic plans. Fire Lord Patten and replace him with someone sensible on this, the EU, the green religion and the ever larger state.

      Perhaps 200 million radios in houses, cars, sheds, offices, mobile phones, walkmans, Ipads nanos etc. all rendered worthless. Perhaps £10 Billion, at replacement price, down the drain.

      Then after they will perhaps change the coding system so you need a new one every few years.

      • Richard1
        Posted December 13, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Once he has finished his second volume of Margaret Thatcher’s biography there must be a public campaign to install the distinguished journalist Charles Moore as chairman of the BBC.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it may be the BBC that is driving it but, it is Parliament that provides the necessary legislation that intern, makes it legal.

      No getting away from it. We, and thereby you, know where the buck stops.

    • APL
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      JR: ” I can assure you it is the BBC driving this change ”

      I’m not so sure, the government would just love to sell off the spectrum that the BBC terrestrial broadcasts currently occupy.

    • Elrond Cupboard
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      The BBC can bring forward and vote on legislation now? When did I get a vote on that one then?

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Indeed and people often have numerous FM radios in cars, phones, clock radios, portables etc. In my old Sony mobile FM radio the one triple AAA battery lasts for months and has excellent sensitivity to poor signals, but in DAB the batteries are eaten up in hours. The signal is less reliable too and often lost completely. You can download podcast and live radio via the internet and 4G anyway. Who needs DAB? It is pointless old & misguided technology like HS2.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Indeed never allow politicians (often with profitable paid “consultancies” which of course would not influence them) to change laws to force millions & indeed billions to spend money on pointless things. Health and Safely, building regulations and other laws from both the EU and UK do this all the time. Vested interests with good contacts pushing nonsense onto the public by law. The French even wanted to force hundreds of millions of cars to carry 2 drink drive chemical testing devices in the car! Doubtless they has a short valid life too.

      Oh and most of the energy saving retrofit insulation/windows on old houses and the green deal nonsense are a false economy with no net payback. Just get a few more clothes and a hot water bottle. PV, HS2 and wind farms another absurdity driven by totally absurd tax payer subsidy.

      Much of this activity surely comes into the blatant corruption category.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Who is this David Cameron in the spectator claiming ‘I am a low-tax Conservative.’? 299 increases is it so far? More surely with the Autumn statement.

      http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/taxrises.pdf

      If he wants to cut taxes he has to cut spending and his endless waste, but he shows not sign of doing so.

      He seems concerned that that green levies were loaded on to fuel bills rather than funded through general taxation. What is the difference, it is still tax payers money pissed down the drain! Tax on income or tax on fuel bill it virtually the same. In fact the latter is clearly better if you wish to deter energy use for your religion.

      But he still wants to subsidise those ‘renewable technologies which otherwise wouldn’t get off the ground’. Well they would get off the ground when the technology works in a profitable manner. Rolling out premature technology with huge tax payer subsidy is also pissing money down the drain as is HS2. We do not want nonsense engineering off the ground it is more pissing taxes down the drain.

      Until Cameron stops this endless pissing money down the drain and the consequential taxing I shall treat his claims of “I am a low tax conservative” with the total contempt it deserves. Only 17 months left now anyway.

      • stred
        Posted December 14, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        Cameron is so out of touch, he probably can’t even find the drain.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      If you remember, the old TV’s of the 1970′s could heat up a small room though you no doubt never had a problem with their power consumption. The older Plasma ones where almost the same. I waited until the large TV’s used the same as the old smaller modern CRT ones and telling the salesman that nearly a KW/hr was not acceptable. Do the same with your radio and in the meantime use an alternative.
      You can also wear your hair shirt with your hot water bottle. I am living in a house with climate control, modern gas fired heating, massive amounts of insulation in the roof space, thick carpets and double glazing with heavy curtains. Cooker/oven, microwave combo oven running every night with all lights, TV’s computers blazing. Energy bill still less than a grand a year and no thanks to the energy companies I might add. I saw where they were going in 1999.
      The rich middle classes can afford to live in draughty farmhouse with their AGA’s, even electric AGA’s, LOL! On full tilt. Marvellous! Cat loves it. I cannot nor want to or want to live like my parents in a draughty semi with no double glazing and being unable to afford the running cost of the heating despite the best efforts to insulate the property.
      The government Stay Warm scheme, cavity insulation and boiler grants along with modern glazing at affordable prices changed all that. Set to be scrapped by the government to give the energy companies more money. Well done George. How much to fill a car? Have you been ‘advised’ on this one yet? Less than house bottle is your clue.
      Ram it.

  5. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I welcome the new charges for phoning 08 numbers. I have often stayed on the phone for a very long time in a queue with my money in minutes ticking away , whilst a recording asks me to be patient and plays some jingle which drives me to distraction.That was a good deal for the phone companies and I am sure there are times when the delays are deliberate.
    There are some occasions when it is better to throw out the old. Those TV’s with heavy backs could not be easily moved from room to room and it was better to have more than one television . Th lighter flat screens can be taken anywhere quickly and save money.
    I have recently purchased a new laptop and am not happy with all the devices and apps I am forced to sign into before I proceed .I prefer to get access when I require that function.
    That is an important message for the Country “if it is not broken don’t fix it” In retrospect The nurses managed the NHS . The NHS was not in debt , we managed it like a house would be managed taking pride in our wards and the organisation. Cleanliness and organisation was paramount, now look what the interference has caused.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Realised that the tenses do not agree . I wish there was a function on this blog site which enabled us to edit our comments.

  6. lifelogic
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    The government might do something useful about the designed in redundancy/designed in failure of equipment. Devices tablets etc. with built in rechargeable batteries that cannot be easily be replaced, so the device is just thrown away. Or software changes that render it useless when the manufacturer so decides.

    The quality and reliability of some modern gear, white goods, gas boilers and countless other things is often just dreadful. A fridge, cooker, boiler should last for 20 years like they often used to. A one year guarantee is pathetic. Even things like door handles, loo seats, taps, catches & brass fitting seem to be all shoddy rubbish so often now.

    Often intentionally designed so repair is uneconomic or impossible.

    • stred
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Also, manufacturers are making products more complex in order to force the customer to use their main dealers when anything goes wrong. My garage is very good but cannot handle the electronic faults such as emission detection and automatic shutdown. The engines are also being packed into less space, to suit the latest styling features. Light have been getting bigger and it is now impossible to change bulbs without complete removal of the unit.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 13, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, as you say changing a light bulb can be a big job, that the majority cannot do themselves. But you still get fined in France for not carrying spare bulbs!

        Designs so you are hooked into certain spare suppliers, servicing and huge repair bills are very common. A rechargeable battery goes but you have to buy a new full PCB unit for your boiler for example.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Did you buy the expensive washing machine called the ISE 10 with a ten year parts and labour guarantee and parts easily replaceable and at cost price?
      You can pay more and have more efficient longer lasting things or you can follow the cheap route and just replace. A £170 washing machine does not involve much washing machine, but a lot of tax, warehouse, retail profits and warranty costs. You need to be getting in the £700+ for thing to get serious. Same for boilers some now come with the ten year warranty and parts guarantee. So which is it cheap in the short term or even cheaper in the long term? Have a look around your house to find out. There is as difference so do not tell us they are all the same Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 13, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        I find the expensive ones are usually less reliable (as more complex in general) than the cheap ones. Spares more expensive too and harder to find.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          Not true and an excuse. The cheap washing machine would be more expensive to replace than repair and give worse performance. You must be buying a top of the range Lada and expecting basic BMW quality. Basically you are happy to take your chances and tell yourself it is cheaper. All evidence and common sense tells you that a machine which has little real cost other than Tax and transport/storage and profit cannot be up to much. If you are skint then the cheap machine is Hobsons choice. The last one I bought turned into the ‘Grandfathers axe’ and the rip off warranty was bled dry until it ran out and the machine was replaced by an ISE 10.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted December 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        For once I agree with you; certainly this applies to washing machines. The only qualification to that is the ‘green’ water consumption of even the most expensive machines means that I select ‘water plus’ for every wash as there is no shortage of water here in Scotland and we have a private unmetered supply.

      • stred
        Posted December 14, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        Normal manufacturers could easily extend the life of products at much less than 4x, by sourcing components which are tested to last. They deliberately chose not to do so and make sure the EU does not bring in rules to make stuff last longer. If they did so, a huge energy saving would happen, but instead they chose to back windmills, which will also need to be replaced before long. The system is sick.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      We live in a world of planned obsolesence of consumer goods.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        Indeed government intervention (for once) is actually needed here.

        Fridges, Boilers, Washing machines, loo seats, door furniture ………… should last 10+ years not 13 months!

        • Bazman
          Posted December 14, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          Not for the prices that you want to pay as I have pointed out to you most of the cost of the machine is Tax, retailers profits, warranty claims and transport and warehousing costs. The cheap ones are not cheap when they break down 3-4 major parts cost more than the machine and for a reason warehousing and keeping a supply of parts that may never be used is not cheap and they are in the business od selling machines not repair.
          The European Union has a series of directives and regulations aimed to increase the recovery, reuse and recycling of e-waste and put the burden of recycling on the manufacturer. The hope is that this will decrease e-waste and e-waste exports, and encourage manufacturers to create new, greener products. Ideally, these products would be safer and easier to upgrade, fix and recycle. The EU has also increased the regulations on different substances common in e-waste, limited the use of these substances in member countries and banned the exportation of hazardous waste.
          You are looking for something for nothing and when this is shown to you make up excuses not to buy the products that work towards this and tell us that any regulations that are put in place to force manufactures to make this their goals as absurd cost adding regulations even though they could lower prices and make the products longer lasting and more green. Usual do nothing whining right wing views.
          Ram it.

          • David Price
            Posted December 15, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

            I almost ignored your comment as usual since it ended with your normal “ignore my abusive rant completely” qualifier.

            It would appear that the ISE is expensive because you are paying extra up front for an extended warranty. The extra funds aren’t even going in to local manufacturing at all but some manufacturer in Sweden (maybe) and an insurance company somewhere to cover the warranty.

            You always pay for the warranty even the first 12 months, the longer it is the more you pay, the 10 year warranty is a key factor in why the ISE is more expensive.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 15, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

            The truth hurts I know and can be abusive to sensitive people like yourself. Ignoring it will not make it go away unfortunately.
            It is true that a large part of the cost will be warranty, but it is built to last over 8000 cycles. The cheaper ones are not built to last a specified number and rely completely on the warranty. Another feature is that the parts are cost price and the technology to repair is open to all. In other expensive brands such as Miele once the guarantee period is over the cost of repair are prohibitive and even if you are able to repair it yourself will need to purchase codes to make the machine run. Controversial with plans maybe to make this illegal as it is in the car industry. Also as they are so expensive are producing cheaper versions which rather defeats the point.
            The last machine I owned had some parts replaced three times. The service man tried to old trick of blaming the housewife claiming ‘overloading’. When it was pointed out by me that the machine sometimes had a bit to much in was in some way ‘overloading’ was false and it was a washing machine not a delicate piece of equipment and many other machines had failed in the same way had little to say.
            He rammed it like you.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      No wonder there is a healthy trade in old door and window fittings. Even specialist shops cannot source high quality new products and the few items that are re-manufactured as replicas to the original heavy duty are often let down by inferior quality of manufacture. Most of the brass stuff is made in India I believe.

    • zorro
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Consumer society written all over it….this is where we should be green rather than the quackery…

      zorro

  7. John Eustace
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I think you will find the switch to DAB is governed by the Digital Economy Act 2010 – did you vote for or against this measure?

    • zorro
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink
    • zorro
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      See following blog….http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2010/04/07/john-redwoods-contribution-to-the-digital-economy-bill/

      John abstained……

      ‘I only wish you had found the time to actually vote against the Bill’s progress, rather than abstaining. Given your obvious opposition to it in the debate, even an abstention gives the impression that you, too have been bought off or had your arm twisted to stay away. I sincerely hope that is not the case, and that your reasons for not voting were much less malign.

      Reply: Of course I did not change my view – if I had changed my view I would have felt it necessary to say so and explain why to the Commons. I remained against it, and had voted twice against the government’s steamroller to get it through. There are limits to how many times you bash your head against a brick wall.’

  8. Bert Young
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I have a Sat-Nav in my VW Golf . I tried to use it once while en route to Cardigan from S. Oxfordshire 1) it would not let me use the M4 2) after Cardiff it took me up a cart track for several miles ( that had , obviously, not been used for several years ) ; after consulting the handbook several times , I have failed to get the hang of it ; I now no longer use it . I have traversed N. America , Europe ( North , Central and South ) many times over the years and have never lost my way using maps . I don’t think I’m an idiot , I like mind games , crossword puzzles and the challenges that very bright Oxford undergraduates put to me from time to time ; this being the case , I am convinced that much of modern technology is not intended to my generation and , since my age group is the expanding market force in the economy , I contend that the product planners have got a lot wrong .

    • Edward2
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      I expect you may have already done this Bert, but check if it is set on “quickest route” fastest route” or “shortest route”
      My sat nav when set on “shortest route” kept trying to send me down B and what looked like C roads, rather than A roads and Motorways.

    • forthurst
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      “I have traversed N. America , Europe ( North , Central and South ) many times over the years and have never lost my way using maps .”

      Spare a thought for those, our equals, if not betters in all things (and if you said otherwise you’ld have committed a thoughtcrime), who nevertheless, are differently-abled when it comes to map-reading (and parallel parking).

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      I spent a year trying to understand my sat nav but now could not cope without it. I drive around at night for a living visiting patients in their own home. It is very difficult in the driving rain looking at maps and the A-Z in the dark with a magnifying glass trying to find the way to those ill people in our community at 22.00hrs. Thank goodness for’ tom tom’

    • oldtimer
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      There is much to be said for an OS map.

      I think the problem for satnav in cars is that the underlying technology is moving faster than the car mfrs can keep up with. You probably would do better with the directions function on the latest version of Google Earth or Google Maps. One solution some of them are looking at is to make you car a wifi hub – but the catch, of course, is that you will need a new car carrying this feature to benefit. The alternative is to use your mobile phone.

  9. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    If they want to provide DAB radio then fine, but why turn off the older frequencies. Likewise for digital TV – why turn off the old frequencies – it caused my elderly mother all sorts of problems and TV was one of her few pleasures. I assume the answer is because they wanted to sell the old frequencies for something else – 3G or 4G phones maybe – if so it is a sort of hidden tax, we have to buy loads of new equipment whereas the government gets extra money – dressing this up as technology improvements is disingenuous.

  10. Iain Gill
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    A real hi-fi buff would tell you that the best quality radio signals available in the UK are going out on freeview channels. If you have a home hi-fi take you radio signal from a good freeview box, as it has more bits and therefore more definition than typical DAB.

    Sadly the DAB in use in the UK is the older standard, and elsewhere is using a newer better version of DAB. I find DAB is ok but you need a good Ariel, the standard ones that come with radios are just not up to it.

    There is a big problem in that most car radios are still FM, and this is likely to remain the same as DAB is not a worldwide standard (indeed most countries using DAB use the newer non compatible version) and therefore the economies of scale the car makers have for FM sets is not as good.

    Yes I like radio to my 3G or 4G mobile phone too, but if everyone got their radio this way the system would soon grind to a halt, the mobile networks will never be able to handle the volume of data that would need. Radio via wifi and landline internet is however completely viable, but nowhere near the quality of freeview or DAB.

    I like DAB in the UK mainly because of the extra stations available, the quality is a secondary issue for me. Personally I think Planet Rock and a few of the other good DAB stations should be given nationwide FM slots too.

  11. Bazman
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    The danger is that if you stick to long with old technology you miss out on many features> I had a Sony TV for 16 years with one repair. It was sold to me as a top of the range at the time, flat screens cost thousands, with a SCART socket. A what? French standard and will be on all TV’s soon. Turned out to prophetic, but things moved on and HD TV linked to a computer is now quite good. You need to future proof you purchases to some extent and wait until the technology moves forward. The latest and greatest is for rich people.
    If you take the Luddite approach you would be still broadcasting for an old Doris who is still watching on a 1930′s set or for the rich person who watched colour TV in the 1950′s in London. This idea of replacing parts and keeping the same equipment for years would turn out to be expensive wasteful and hold back the future. What is needed is more intelligent design enabling efficient green reprocessing of the obsolete equipment.

    • Bob
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      @Baz

      HD TV linked to a computer is now quite good

      Especially since it allows you to watch catch-up TV without the need for a TV Licence. £145.50 a year saved and the satisfaction of not paying towards the bloated salaries, bonuses and severance packages for the BBC fat cats.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 15, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        A computer does not allow this as you claim. You can download and stream media at the same time with a high speed connection which is also illegal though how you would be caught is questionable especially when using cloaking methods easily available such as virtual private network. VPN. SKYPE through the TV is good and free.

        • Bob
          Posted December 16, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

          @Baz

          A computer does not allow this as you claim.

          Yes it does.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

            Not live TV and why are you watching the BBC when it is so bad? Oh! You want BBC quality but do not want to pay? A £100 a month on SKY is OK though as this is voluntary. As if. Where do you fit in with downloading their programmes and films from Hollywood without paying?

          • Bob
            Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

            @Baz
            Do you reply to other peoples comments without reading them first?

          • Bazman
            Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

            You watch catch up BBC TV so you do not have to buy a licence. I read that. What about copyrighted media?

    • stred
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      We bought a lovely Phillips tele with excellent colour and definition. Then, when the digital signal was altered to allow more (awful) channels, it could not remember the increased number and has to be retuned every time, taking 10 minutes. It can’t be upgraded and digiboxes give an inferior picture.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      “What is needed is more intelligent design enabling efficient green reprocessing of the obsolete equipment.”

      Well sometime yes but other times a spare part replacement battery costing under £5 is all that is actually needed. Or something to stop them rendering a radio or computer redundant by changing the transmission or software.

      Software update are usually to suit the supplier not the customer.

  12. Mark
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    A very high proportion of radio listening in the UK is done in cars. I can recall listening to a Test Match while driving on holiday through Aquitaine and the Dordogne on LW. The coverage of regular FM is almost universal throughout the UK – unlike DAB, where the shorter wavelength signal is much more dependent on line of sight, or mobile phones (and particularly those with internet links), where rural coverage is very intermittent. It is therefore cars where the impact will be greatest: it is not a straightforward matter to replace a car radio, especially where a manufacturer integrated unit is already fitted, and it is doubly insulting to find that the radio then won’t even pull in a signal.

    The coverage maps for DAB radio from OFCOM are here:

    http://maps.ofcom.org.uk/dab/

    It has been admitted that there is no intention to provide the coverage of the country that applies to FM.

    • stred
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      In my area they have sold the same frequency for digital tv to to mobile phone companies for something G. As a result, we are now being given filters for one tv set. For the others we have to buy them. Who thinks this up?

  13. Atlas
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    John, unlike the closure of the 405 line TV system in the mid eighties when there were very few people still using it, there are Millions upon millions of people still using VHF/FM and LW/MW radios.

    This DAB is being foisted upon us – and like yourself and the comments of those posted here earlier than me – I feel that the tail is wagging the dog.

    Is there any parliamentary way of challenging such a closure decision?

  14. formula57
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Just another example of the BBC’s iniquity, alas.

    Your pal George should introduce a “Help to Buy ” scheme for DAB radios though. That would help boost bank lending, consumer sales and the feel good factor.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Keep quiet or he might well do – he is a bit daft that way.

  15. libertarian
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    As the owner of 2 radio stations I can tell you that the EU/govt/BBC initiative to move to DAB is a total failure. DAB does not and will never work in some parts of the UK. It has already been caught up by regular internet radio listening figures in the UK which now number 17 million.

    Whilst I agree that the government shouldn’t be forcing us down this route I’m also totally against the geographic government controlled appalling radio services we have on FM. As we move to the internet it opens up more opportunities. On my radio stations we broadcast drama from local writers as well as special interest talk shows, this doesn’t happen anywhere else on UK radio other than on ‘ the taxpayer funded BBC.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Where is this radio?

      • libertarian
        Posted December 14, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Don’t understand your question, do you mean where are the studio’s based?

  16. Leslie Singleton
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    On top of all that good stuff above, the old radios are made of Bakelite, an absolutely wonderful material, and are invariably beautiful so should be a joy forever–and what’s more one can understand the controls. Since I retired, my Mobile has never left the car (kept there for breakdowns and my occasional convenience and never ever answered) and I cannot say that I have felt the lack. Said Mobile cost less than £5 years ago but when I recently took it in to a well-known mobile phone shop to be looked at (car charger gone) and mooted that perhaps I should buy a new one I was told in no uncertain terms that my old phone model (very very much not “smart”) was still on sale except that it now cost £25 because many people were very very keen to get away from the OTT modern baloney so the old basic phones are much in demand. Soon there will be one of these here apps to tell one when to wipe one’s you know what.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      There is a wipe your butt app already probably several!

  17. David Williams
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    When the FM band is vacated the spectrum can be auctioned off by the Government to mobile phone companies to raise revenue, or it can be used for public safety.

    It is a waste of radio spectrum to broadcast the same programs simultaneously on several systems (FM, digital terrestrial radio, Freeview, Astra satellite).

  18. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Much more is being disclosed about the BBC, its activities and its leadership since I last wrote something very critical. I’m just wondering if you will again censor my view that the BBC is (yes I will – your attack is too sweeping and generalised ed).

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Wizard and John–Is it true what I read this morning that the BBC sent well over 100 employees to South Africa whereas ITV managed with nine? The BBC should have its budget cut by say 90%.

  19. Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Isn’t the real reason that the government wants to free up the VHF spectrum so that it can be sold off? It was with the other frequency changes and even so there are apparently problems in some areas due the new 4G service interfering with the TV signal.
    Another problem that I have met is that you can no longer get radios with cassette recorders; I used to frequently record a programme at home to listen to it in the car. Apparently now I have to find a DAB radio with a memory card which records in a format that I can transfer to a CD to use in the car. What’s wrong with the cassettes other than they are old fashioned? They worked OK, now, even if I can find the radio-recorder that I want, there’s even more hassle before I can play it in the car.

  20. ian wragg
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Indeed, we are at the mercy of the tech. firms supplying goods. I have just completed a 36 page Power Point on my laptop and it has automatically updated itself and declared my 2007 version obsolete. I now have to spend £79.99 to update before I can access my work.

  21. chris S
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    The Government are being conned by the BBC over the take up of DAB.
    The BBC are trying to drive the numbers of DAB users up by counting everyone who has bought a DAB radio or has bought a vehicle with one fitted as a Digital user.

    They are not.

    I bought an expensive DAB radio which I found to be absolutely useless, The reception is so hopeless I cannot use it anywhere in the house. When I did try it, I found it had to be run on the mains because it eats batteries at a ridiculous rate compared with an analogue radio.

    We also have one car with a VHF/DAB radio and I have to use it on VHF for exactly the same reason.

    Our household has 7 vehicles, all with analogue stereo systems fitted and 8 domestic analogue radios. It will cost us more than £2,000 to replace these units : are the BBC going to may for this ?

    Thought not !

    If we must have a change at some point in the future, we should forget obsolete DAB technology and go straight to the internet and have satellite radios in cars, like the US while leaving analogue wavebands in place.

  22. JimS
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    In general people have one main TV and being a TV is its sole function. They are also generally large enough to be static and have space nearby to take a Freeview box so the changeover wasn’t much of a problem.

    Radios come in all shape and sizes and are mostly portable. They are often multi-functional. Is the attached car, CD player, MD player or record player to become obsolete too?

    • libertarian
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      JimS

      Yes is the answer. The future is to have it all in one device which also solves English Pensioners problem ( thread above) too. I know keeping up with new developments can be difficult but without innovation and progress we atrophy.

  23. forthurst
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    There are clear benefits to digital over analogue TV; a TV picture is a two dimensional array which is most easily and efficiently transmitted and received digitally; as a result of digital tv we are now able to receive a multiplicity of channels which nevertheless does not appear to have encouraged the BBC to increase either the range or quality of its broadcasts, quite the contrary.

    The BBC likes DAB because it facilitates the number of different channels necessitated by a modern multicultural society, as opposed to the fewer required by a boring old monoculture, still popular, nevertheless, in the ascendant East.

  24. Ian B
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Funnily enough, Mr Cameron in 2009 vowed to abolish that great tentacled creature sprawling across the UK’s communications system, OFCOM. And yet, here we are in 2013 and it is still with us, and still expanding. A short while ago, it appointed another tentacle, ATVOD- another gaggle of unknown ‘crats, who are empowered to decide what videos may be shown on websites under a ludicrously vague mandate of “preventing moral harm”. Was this even discussed by parliament? Why are we in a society where such organisations basically run under enabling acts?

    All of this is a legacy dating back to one of the British Government’s worst acts; the nationalisation of the telegraph system in 1968. The history of this is interesting; it was basically engineered by an almost forgotten to history empire building bureaucrat at the Post Office called Frank Ives Scudamore. The promised wonders of efficiency never came to be, and it nearly brought down Gladstone’s administration, but the nationalisation remained in place. Because of that, the subsequent telephone had to be nationalised, then the radio (“wireless” telegraph), and television, and now the government thinks the internet is their business too.

    There is no reason for the State to be involved in any of this, other than perhaps allocation of the “natural commons” of the frequency spectrum. It would be nice to have seen a Conservative government take a scythe to this aspect of State power, in a Thatcherite vein. But Mr Cameron has taken pains to distance himself from such Hayekian notions, and instead seems determined to extend State control- hence the ludicrous and intrusive new censorship system, which is already making us the laughing stock of the world.

    The impositions you complain about are inevitable consequences of this form of regulatory statism. The State’s apparat know better than us what technology we ought to be using, we are told. FM radio is deprecated, and there isn’t a darned thing the little man or woman can do about it. It is the continuation and extension of this kind of attitude that has made this administration such a disappointment to many people who were hoping for a change of direction after the Labour years. It has been a very great missed opportunity.

    • Ian B
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Um, should be “1868″ not “1968″ :)

  25. Max Dunbar
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Being on a mobile telephone contract, I was entitled to a replacement a year ago. Suspecting that my old phone was easier to use I delayed transferring the Sim Card until recently. My suspicion that the new phone would be troublesome was correct. It is a touch phone and is not suited to men with large hands. It is probably designed with young women in mind. The battery runs down at twice the rate of the old phone’s old battery because the large screen and functions consume more power. This is inconvenient.
    Too many products, especially electronic ones, compete not only on price but on the vast and ever increasing number of functions available. The ability to understand and use these largely unnecessary functions is the preserve of those with a technical bent who have mathematical minds.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      You could have a ten quid unlocked pay as you go mobile and use any sim card. Like mine. Its just so retro. No annoying commuter functions and instead of getting you PA or butler to tell anyone who calls to 9&*! off, you just switch it off. The massive 1980′s brick phones are also set for a come back, worse reception, lower battery life with a huge price tag. I hear all the London fashionistas will be using them next year.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      So Max out of ALL the myriad of choices of phone why did you pick one that doesn’t work for you? Odd

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted December 14, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Because the choice within the budget constraints of my contract limited me to a certain choice of phones all of which appeared to be touch-type. I had no experience of using this type of phone until then and as you know, it takes time to get to know a new set-up. Probably, I will go back and select a new phone, pay the extra and get one that suits me better with press keys if available. Battery duration is also a question worth asking when you get a new phone.

  26. forthurst
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    When people first bought digital TVs, they were not told that HD would shortly render them obsolescent, yet again. There appears to be a pattern of decisions taken in this country with technological implications which are consistently dragged out and behind the curve. A DAB radio is a piece of relatively inexpensive rubbish; that does not apply to obsolete transport systems like HS2, or nuclear power stations based on old designs or obsolete weapons systems like aircraft carriers. This has nothing to do with the fact that the adminstration of this country is conducted by people whose education is wholly irrelevant to that purpose as can be determined by this from Cameron, at a recent Silicon Roundabout celebration, “We are determined to build a rebalanced economy across the country and get behind the entrepreneurs imagining a new tomorrow in the dozens of technology clusters, accelerators and start-up incubators across Britain.” Phew! Silicon Roundabout has been a runaway success, “the number of digital/tech firms in London had grown by 76 per cent between 2009 to 2012 to over 88,000 while the sector grew by 16.6 per cent.” This however may have something to do with the new Digital Services Index, possibly of interest to JR wearing one of his other hats, which has widened the scope of what constitutes a Digital/Tech business to allow a vendor of a product sold over the net to share a Classification with a business that designs some of the equipment to faciltate that former distribution channel. Very useful.

    We are promised an IoT (Internet of Things); this could mean that in future a toaster will be more intelligent than a DAB(+) radio; a device that can only handle a single codec and is unable to accept a software upgrade to a new improved one will have become an anachronism by the time the great and good foist DAB+ on us.

  27. Alan Wheatley
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I have every sympathy.

    I suspect a major motivator for moving us off FM onto digital is that the government can then sell of Band 2 (FM Radio) and get lots of money. You might like to enquire of the appropriate Minister what is policy.

    As to comparing the difference in sound quality between FM and digital, the answer is it all depends!

    For a start there is a difference in the quality of the sound as broadcast and that which comes out of the radio speaker(s). In other words, the radio itself can make a big difference. I have both FM and digital radios, and playing them both through my HiFi I can not detect any difference; but my ears are not that good these days and youngsters with good hearing may say different.

    Incidentally, the FM sound quality from my digital radio is rubbish compared to the sound when listening to the digital signal, but that has everything to do with the radio and nothing to do with the inherent sound quality of the two broadcast methods.

    The location where you listen can also make a difference. There are pockets of poor FM reception where the sound quality can be poor, perhaps to the point of being unlistenable. This can sometimes be improved by switching to mono, and usually improved by use of an external aerial. I had to do this when I lived at Arborfield as we were half-way between two transmitters and one interfered with the other.

    With digital, you will either get a signal or not, so if the signal can be received the quality should always be the same.

    When FM stereo broadcasting started the sound quality was comparable to that subsequently achievable on a CD. I gather (and I have not been able to get to the bottom of this) that the BBC changed the technical characteristics of the signal which has resulted in a loss of quality. Could this be because FM (as originally broadcast with good signal reception and a top quality receiver) is just a bit better than digital?

    By the way, if you have Freeview, or Freesat, you can use them to receive radio. The sound quality through the TV speakers is not going to be good, but if you play the TV sound output through a HiFi system you can listen to the Radio 3 Evening Concert in glorious stereo.

    Oh yes, and there are going to be loads of unhappy motorists who’s car radios no longer work!

    And I expect there are a significant number of HiFi enthusiasts with FM Stereo tuners who are also going to be more than a little put out.

  28. Antisthenes
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Your gripe which you rightly have is of course down to the way government and society has developed. Progress with the ability for the individual to choose which new bit of technology they want I am all for and that is how a democratic system works. The fact that now government or large corporations dictates what you will choose whether you want to or not is a very ominous sign. It confirms my worst fear that democracy is very much on the decline in the UK and elsewhere in the west (EU certainly USA under Obama starting to go the same way) and a more tyrannical form of government is increasing. Then if socialism in any form is embraced then that will eventually lead to a form of dictatorship as in the end it cannot function without it.

  29. behindthefrogs
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I can’t get DAB on my crystal set. I also can’t get DAB in my kitchen (in Wokingham). Where can I get these sorted?

  30. StephenS
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I bought a new car in April and it comes with a DAB radio. After scanning through the additional choices available, much like digital TV, I’m failed to detect anything ‘additional’ that I would have paid for a new radio to listen to. Save for the ability to listen to Test Match Special on Radio 5 Sports extra, it is a complete waste of time.

    Unfortunately, driving around listening to TMS on 5 Live Sports Extra is an infuriating experience since the signal drops in and out consistently. Being based in Manchester I had expected expect a strong signal? To solve this, I actually connect my mobile to the audio input and listen to it through an app instead of DAB!!!

    Also, to my ears, the audio sounds dull in comparison to FM.

  31. David
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    100% agree

  32. REPay
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I have two digital radios…both made by Roberts – a British Company (not sure where they are made – JR is probably right in suggesting China – but at least some UK employment, and taxes.)

  33. boffin
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I am very glad to see that a few others commenting above are already aware that the DAB system which the BBC is so determined to foist upon a reluctant public – in the manner of a suppository – became obsolescent when superior DAB+ technology was adopted elsewhere. (You run a pretty high-quality establishment here, Mr. Redwood!).

    The BBC now exists to serve not the public, but just the BBC.

    (EU Competition Commissioner, where are you, in this our time of need?).

  34. Ex- expat Colin
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Either Analogue or Digital…..crap in = crap out. The BBC excels at that.

    In the case of the BBC it is a wide bundle of channeled crap, followed by the commercial bunch.

    ditto TV

  35. Tony Hay
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    You can forget DAB if you listen to Internet radio. There are many more stations than DAB: try Radio Swiss Classic for non-stop classical music without annoying presenters. It even works over 3G mobile networks.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Exactly, Internet radio is the future, try free TuneIn radio app. If you buy the paid app ( a whopping 99p) you can also record your favourite prog’s for later playback.

      The range of programmes on offer on internet radio is massive. Listen on phone, table, PC, or smart TV. Listen in the car on the move or at home. What’s not to like?

      • David Price
        Posted December 15, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        What’s not to like?

        The imposition of costs to modify my car radios so I can continue to receive the same raio stations and traffic information and my integrated Sat Nav still works effectively. On some cars this can be £500+ for no additional benefit to me at all and in my case means I also lose CD functions.

        DAB is a stark example of the incompetence in planning and regulation that is rife in this country. The only people who benefit are those who make money out of selling stuff and regulating stuff.

  36. zorro
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Indeed John, the internet is a great innovation allowing people to communicate and collaborate far more quickly. How could one ever be bored with the sum of the world’s knowledge at your fingertips! Maybe it’s driving down crime because people are no longer bored….

    I can testify to your love of the mobile phone. I was in London on Tuesday and saw you racing down Tothill St with a mobile phone glued to your ear. I thought better of disturbing you…maybe next time.

    I have heard several people complain about the digital radios and their increased battery consumption. I’m not sure how green that is…. I now eschew radios and just use my HTC One mobile communication lifestyle device for a radio – excellent sound system and headphones. OK, I’m tight with spending money on some things, but I just don’t care….

    zorro

    Reply Racing on foot I hasten to add, not while driving.

    • zorro
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Indeed, though I’m sure that the cars were struggling to keep up even so at the speed you were racing (on foot)!

      zorro

  37. Chris Rose
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    This is just another example of crony capitalism at work. Businesses, like many of us, are at heart lazy; they hate having to make the effort to sell their products in competition with others. So they come bleating to the Government, wanting their life made easy. Every time they should be sent away with a flea in their ear.

    Incandescent light bulbs, FM radios, thermostatically regulated bath taps: all these have been considered for regulation, but all are matters which consumers can decide for themselves. Much better to make companies develop their products and sell them in such a way that consumers want them. That way, we’ll get better products and people happier, because freer to manage their own lives for better or for worse.

  38. Colin Hart
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    This what I have been waiting for. A good reason to start my day in more equable mood without having spent a couple of hours listening to the Guardianistas of the Today Programme. All that’s left is for the Government (or BBC – are they different?) to make it impossible for me to receive Newsnight transmissions.
    On a marginally more serious note, has the good and green Lord Patten given any thought to the environmental consequences of millions of old radios going to landfill? Because that’s the bin I’ll be using to dispose of mine.

  39. Richard1
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    A rebate on the license fee is an idea. This of course would be a straight tax cut which goes straight into the pockets of license fee payers, and will have a positive effect. Halve the license fee for one year so everyone can afford digital radios. BBC to find savings by closing useless channels such as BBC3, reducing pay and observing some sort of normal cost control. I hear they fielded 140 journalists and others for Mandela’s funeral, against 9 by ITV.

    • David Price
      Posted December 15, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      £70 will not pay to convert car radios with integrated sat nav etc. Considering the range and number of devices people use to listen to radio at home and on the move you would have to run a 100% rebate for 5 years+ to started to address the cost of replacement.

  40. petermartin2001
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    As KM once wrote: “The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society”

    It’s much more than that. It’s the telly and the radio too!

  41. Anonymous
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    My digital signal must be faulty. At least on BBC channels.

    (Gives examples of bias in tv and radio programmes, in the way people and institutions are represented ed)
    Logic: Somehow ditching millions of perfectly good radio and TV sets squares with the BBC’s green agenda – as with so many of its other mad agendas.

  42. Richard
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    It is true that DAB radios “eat” batteries and hence must be powered either by the mains or using rechargeable batteries. I also understand that the available bandwidth allocated to each DAB station is narrower than those of FM stations leading to a lower quality of sound.

    On the other hand these radios work far better in some locations, such as hospitals, than analogue radios, as well as being able to receive many more stations.

    With regard to signal coverage I would like to know why this could not be extended in the UK by using mobile ‘phone masts.

    Also why the medium wave analogue band cannot be used for some digital stations as this would greatly extend the effective range for each transmitter.

  43. Credible
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    John, on the subject of regulating. Why do you keep censoring my posts that contain factual information from the House of Commons web site?

  44. Bob
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Why should MPs have to pay for a second TV Licence in their second homes?
    Or more accurately why should taxpayers pay for a TV Licence in MPs second homes?

    MPs second homes should be exempted from the need for a second TV Licence.
    It’s just a way to scam more money from the taxpayer for the BBC.

    Pensioners and the chronically sick and disabled should also be exempted.
    Also, anyone on less than a living wage.

    The BBC should receive nothing from welfare funds in lieu of above exemptions, the BBC should just reduce their budget and rein in their costs, such as the half million pound severance payments for two months in post.

  45. peter davies
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    We have 2 analogue TVs in the house which work with £30 digital boxes – so no idea why you needed to throw them out.

    Reply Not all sets could be adapted

    • forthurst
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      “We have 2 analogue TVs in the house which work with £30 digital boxes – so no idea why you needed to throw them out.”

      Without a SCART cable, a coaxial aerial connection is required which generates a signal oscillation of frequency as per Channel 5 (I think); if your set only had presets for Channels 1-4, hard luck.

      The main problem with the switchover was that there was insufficient bandwith to accomodate Freeserve and the pre-existing 4 1/2 channels. The obvious solution was to forget about Freeserve and its line of sight requirement and go to satellite, leaving analogue TV to whither on the vine.

  46. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    The BBBC? What does the extra B stand for? Any ideas?

    I like it where technological harmonisation is the outcome of a battle in the market place, e.g. Sony Betamax vs VHS video, and not imposed from above, e.g. catalytic converters vs the lean burn engine.

    I can’t feeling that if government and non-commercial organisations employed fewer people capable of meddling, they would do less meddling. And we would find it easier to ply our wares in the market place.

    Has anybody noticed the latest saga in the story of our beloved NHS? Apparantly, a third of our GP surgeries are not properly run from a health and safety viewpoint. This is in contrast with theoretically Socialist Sweden, where it costs £20 per GP visit. Whatever else you may think of that, it reduces the number of hypocondriacs and the number of people just wanting a chat because they’re lonely. And it means that customers demand service – or they use a different GP surgery.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Right wing nonsense and fantasy. The Beta Max was actually a better system and the converters where a cheap fix for the car companies. Both forced onto the consumer by industry cost/profit considerations
      They are often private business and a £20 fee would make no difference other than to deter people from seeking medical advice leading to further problems which is already a problem especially for men. My doctor even told me this and that I should come more often. They clean up or shut up like any other business involved in health or food they are already one of the highest paid in Europe thanks to this privatisation dogma paid yet again by the taxpayer and supported by dreamers. Massive subsidy for private industries as they are not able to provide at reasonable costs to all. Tax and regulation? More fantasy and nonsense from the same idiots.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        I’ve always had you down as a Betamax man Baz.
        Lol

        • Bazman
          Posted December 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          I always had you down as a VHS man an inferior but better marketed competition. LOL!

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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