So you have learned about the different ways that one can broadcast through traditional method, AM and FM respectively, however, the advent of the internet has dramatically altered the way in which people listen to the radio. The digital radio often uses the same frequency as traditional radio; however, before it is broadcasted it is compressed, and then decoded at the other end when it is received by the device being used to listen to the broadcast.
Digital radio is most often used in mobile devices. Mobile phones are the most obvious use of the digital radio. However, they are also used in cars and other vehicles as they are essentially a mobile device. A receiver that can handle a digital broadcast is known as a DAB device. They first started being sold in 1999 but by the year 2006, there were already a staggering 500 million devices in use, and this number has grown dramatically in the past 10 years. DRM, which is an advanced service used for digital broadcasting is now in use is many countries including the UK, Brazil, Sri Lanka, India, France and Germany, though interestingly not in the United States.
Though there are many clear advantages for broadcasting digitally, one of the primary ones is that it uses less ‘space’ as it is compressed at the source and then ‘unpacked’ upon reception, but there are some disadvantages too. The primary disadvantage with the digital system is that it uses much more power, roughly 20 times the amount of power that would be needed for a traditional AM or FM broadcast.
In addition to digital radio, many people now listen to the radio on the internet. This new way uses neither analog nor digital systems and is a growing market for radio broadcasts. There are many benefits of this such as the low cost. However, it is not functional for cars, which is not connected to the internet.