Ireland Says No to Analog Sunset -- So far

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Although the UK has reaffirmed its commitment to an analog "sunset" for national radio channels, the same won't be true in the Emerald Isle, says an article by Christian McCashin in The Independent.

McCashin explains that even though Irish public service broadcaster RTE continues operating DAB multiplexes on a trial basis in Dublin, northeast Leinster, Cork city, and Limerick city, the Irish communications ministry recently affirmed that Ireland has no plan to discontinue VHF FM broadcasting at any level.

The author notes that DAB has sparked considerable controversy in the UK among critics who claim the technology is obsolete because it's married to the MPEG-2 codec. She added that DAB hasn't clicked with commercial radio firms in Ireland, all of which have withdrawn their participation in the current trial. Comments from one radio executive suggest that operating costs and receiver penetration remain concerns for commercial operators, who see no downside to waiting on a move to digital.

Although officials from RTE have been unwavering in their support of DAB, former RTE engineer Enda O'Kane caused a ripple in UK and Irish media when he asked whether DAB might become the Betamax of his generation.

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