What is DAB (digital audio broadcasting)?

  • How does DAB work?
  • Do I need digital radio in my car?
  • Parkers explains the tech

DAB is a form of radio broadcasting whereby analogue audio is translated into a digital signal. Typically gives better quality sound than FM/AM and is not region dependent.

How does DAB digital radio work?

DAB car radios pick up stations broadcasting digitally over the airwaves. DAB signals contain more information, so you get a richer, cleaner digital sound quality and often there'll be a track title or program name on the radio’s digital display too.

Do I need it?

Avid radio listeners will enjoy the extra station choice and better sound quality. Listeners of popular AM programmes with inferior sound quality should certainly consider investing if their favourite station is broadcast on DAB as well as medium wave.

Those who listen mostly to CDs or MP3s will seldom see the benefits. Remember also that the Government has committed to switching off analogue radio at some point - so one day, all UK motorists will need digital radio unless they like driving in silence...

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Almost every car on the market is available, or comes standard, with DAB radio nowadays. Volkswagen was the first brand to fit DAB as standard across its range in 2014. 

Looking for more jargon-busting motoring meanings? Head over to our Parkers Car Glossary page and take a look at our other definitions