It’s that time of year again – that time when we send our experts to attend the annual Geneva Motor Show to get us the latest news on digital radio integration in the car.
This year, we could almost say “mission accomplished” as we saw that nearly all manufacturers now have DAB+ in their car displayed at the show – including entry level models. More and more manufacturers now offer line-fitted DAB+ radio in the car but many still keep it as an optional addition (to be chosen by the car purchaser). MCDT – the organization promoting DAB+ in Switzerland – was here to explain to visitors the benefit of digital radio and also work with car importers to ensure that they all have a DAB+ offered in the cars they sell.
However, work still need to be done together with manufacturers on the usability. Some car radios are really difficult to use and trying to navigate to the station you want can sometimes be a nightmare. The concept of frequencies as it exists on FM doesn’t make sense anymore to the user with DAB+. It’s now up to the receiver to scan, update the list of stations and present it to the user in a consistent way. Additional features such as a slideshow can also lead to confusion. Sometimes you have to go in a special menu, select “multimedia” and then select “display slideshow”. It is almost certain that very few drivers will do this or know where to look.
On the hybrid radio front, it is now known that some car manufacturers have hybrid radio features using RadioDNS but we couldn’t spot a car with it at the show. So it is still work in progress. We could see some cars displaying the wrong logos for stations. This is due to some manufacturers that have acquired logo lists stored in their receivers that are sometimes wrong or not up to date. The only solution for this is to have broadcasters make their logo available through RadioDNS or directly transport them on DAB.
Until next year!