Video: When “Tomorrow’s World” demonstrated digital radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jason W, who writes:

You might be interested in this episode of the BBC series tomorrow’s world from 17th Feb 1993 on YouTube:

10:23 to 14:50 has a introduction and demonstration of digital radio in the UK and concluding with “the experts say we will be fully digital by 2020 it’s a long wait” (referring to the switch from fm to digital radio in the UK which is yet to happen).

I thought it might be interesting to highlight this on the blog in 2020.

We can forgive the bit where she suggests digital radio will operate alongside analogue FM in the same frequency band. This Wikipedia on the history of digital broadcasting in the UK shows the UK adopted the DAB Eureka 147 standard in a SFN (single frequency network) from the start of test transmissions in 1990.

The same episode has a later piece on wide-screen digital television. (20:18 to 23:41) ending with the line “like digital radio, it is a few years away” 🙂

This is fantastic! I love watching vintage Tomorrow’s World episodes. It’s great to see how well they predicted the future and what they considered to be meaningful future innovations at the time. Thank you for sharing, Jason!

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3 thoughts on “Video: When “Tomorrow’s World” demonstrated digital radio

  1. Neil

    note that she says you want digital STEREO .. The UK DAB system is only mono, and I am surprised that people are not upset by that. FM Stereo sounds a LOT better , and they had wanted that phased out by now .

    1. Jason

      Wow really?
      I did not know that, I had assumed it was stereo. I knew it was mp2 but not mono.
      They have started to roll out DAB+ now, is that stereo?
      I live in Australia and our digital radio launched with DAB+ in stereo from the start, but being 48kbps AAC it sounds pretty average. (a few stations are 64kbps)

      1. Neil

        I don’t think so – the broadcasters CAN switch to DAB+ and then may decide to use stereo in their allocated bandwidth, but why shout they when they aren’t now?
        (below id from )
        “While DAB+ services are now appearing in the UK, there are no plans to switch the majority of radio broadcasting over to DAB+: not yet, anyway. There have been a lot of DAB sets sold in the UK. DAB sets are in over half of all households here, and generally we don’t replace radios as fast as any other entertainment equipment (like a TV, a set-top box, or a mobile phone).”


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