DAB stands for Digital Audio Broadcasting. DAB is a digital radio standard, which means it is a particular way of broadcasting radio in a digital rather than an analogue format. DAB is the main platform used in the UK.
Most of the stations in the UK broadcast on DAB. There are several digital-only stations that you will find on DAB but not on AM or FM.
In lots of ways, DAB radio is more user friendly than analogue radio. The first time you switch a new DAB radio on, it will automatically scan for available stations and save them all. You can then tune into them just by scrolling through an alphabetical list of stations, so you don’t need to remember frequencies.
DAB radios also feature a display which provides you with a lot of information including the name of the station, song and artist you are listening to as well as the name of the particular radio programme or DJ.
The vast majority of radios sold in the UK in 2019 have DAB and digital listening is now more popular in the UK than analogue
DAB and DAB+ (the newer version of DAB) were introduced with the intention of eventually replacing FM in the UK and other European countries for several reasons, including the following:
- Digital radio can transmit audio in better quality than FM (though this isn’t always the case in practice)
- More radio stations can be transmitted via digital radio than would be possible on the FM band, so it offers listeners more choice
- Transmitting DAB radio is more energy-efficient than transmitting FM