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DAB and internet radio explained: the differences

DAB and internet radioDAB digital radios pick up a digital broadcast signal, giving you great sound and a wide choice of channels. They're easy to use too, just choose the name of a station from the display.

Internet radios connect to web-based stations over your home broadband connection, and offer thousands of channels.
Here are the benefits of both.


  DAB digital radio Internet radio
How does it receive radio channels? Picks up stations broadcasting digitally over the airwaves Picks up stations from
the Internet using your home broadband connection
Why is sound quality so good? Because it picks up only the digital signal not natural static Because it picks up stations direct from the Internet
How many channels are there? All your favourite stations plus many more that are digital-only Over 6000 stations from around the world
What do I need to enjoy digital radio? Be in an area of coverage – currently 85% of the UK population is covered A home Internet
connection with WiFi wireless networking


DAB digital radios

Digital means more choice

Digital signals take up less space on the airwaves, so there are more stations to choose from, 24 hours a day. You'll find all your favourite stations on DAB, plus many more that are digital only. There are plenty of spoken word, sport, music, and local and specialist stations to discover, and you can even listen to Premier League football matches, live – for free!

Ease of use

The DAB signal contains extra information your DAB digital radio can display. You don't need to remember wavelengths or frequencies; just choose the station name! While you listen, music stations may show you each track title and artist name, while news bulletins may include scrolling headlines. You can also buy some DAB digital radios that let you pause, record, and even rewind your favourite shows.

Quality broadcasts

DAB digital radios play digital quality sound with no hiss, crackle or fade, giving great sound quality. Some DAB radios even come with a stereo socket so you can connect them to your home hi-fi! It is important to check coverage in your area.

Internet radios

Listen for free online

Internet radios receive channels through your home wireless Internet connection. So you can listen to stations that broadcast over the Internet without any need to sit in front of your computer, or even have your computer switched on.

Enjoy worldwide broadcasts

There are over 6000 radio stations across the world broadcasting online – including hundreds of regional stations around the UK. Some Internet radios can also access the BBC's Listen Again feature, which lets you listen, pause or fast forward through the most popular shows in the previous week – so you can catch any you've missed.

Listen to your own playlists

Internet radios also let you access digital music stored on your home computer. So instead of tuning in to a radio station, you can listen to your very own playlist through your PC – without any radio ads or DJ chatter.

Don't forget!

Accessories let you get the most out of your DAB or Internet radio. Why not try rechargeable batteries so you can take it anywhere, or a memory card that lets you record more shows?

Internet connections. You need a WiFi wireless Internet connection to enjoy Internet radio, which is simple to set up.

Memory cards. Some DAB and Internet radios can record music directly from the Internet onto memory cards – so make sure yours has enough capacity for your tunes! A one gigabyte card (1Gb) will store about 500 songs.

Batteries. Most digital radios use standard batteries when there's no mains socket handy. If you listen a lot, you may want to pick up spare batteries or a charger.


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