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Future of Radio- How long can Analog hang on?


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Will a digital FM station have the same range (miles) as an analog FM station?

Yes, same carrier wave, same range. The main difference is in fringe areas, the signal won't be faint, it will just come and go on/off style. Receivers may be more sensitive, so range might seen better. I know I hate the on/off of satellite, rather than the fade in/out of analog. But what are you going to do? I've heard good and bad in all formats of listening, that's just life, no?
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It's known as 'the digital cliff' effect. Because digital is a data stream, and the receiver will have some kind of built-in error correction, the receiver will continue to produce sound (or video) until error correction is overwhelmed with bit errors it can no longer correct enough errors to mask the degradation. A digital stream can take a lot of abuse, really, before the end user notices a problem. Conversely, analog degradation will be noticed almost right away and will worsen until the signal is untenable. Digital will work until it no longer can and then fail abruptly. In the CATV world the digital carriers (256 QAM0 were 10dB below an adjacent analog carrier. So to answer the earlier question about range.......the broadcast area a station may cover is determined by the FCC so that given area shouldn't change unless it grows. It's just that the transmitter will need less power output to cover that area.

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