Everywhere I look I see and hear adverts telling me to get a digital tuner - it will sound better.
The truth about digital.
Digital, it will come as no surprise for you to hear, is not anything like it's cracked up to be. To decide whether you should buy one or not just ask yourself one question. Why do you want it? Is it because you want an improved choice (depending on whether you are able to pick it up in the first place)? If it is then digital is a great way to improve your choice. Where available the wealth of stations is a real boon. If it is to improve your quality of listening then you are most definitely making the wrong choice. FM offers significantly better sound quality than Digital broadcast. There is a whole raft of compression amounts that a digital signal can be encoded with. The more compression you use as a broadcaster the less bandwidth you use. The more bandwidth you use the more you have to pay. So most broadcasts feature heavy compression as this makes it cheaper for the broadcasters. However, even the highest rate of quality is still much poorer in comparison to FM.
The first question most people ask is what will happen when they turn off FM? The answer is that for the foreseeable future FM is not being turned off unlike its TV analogue brother. Digital is undergoing changes it's self. They will be shortly changing the way that digital broadcasts are sent and as such most new digital tuners you buy will be able to function when the new (newer!) system starts up, but some of the older DAB tuners will cease to operate. More to the point as we now move into the streaming age, do you need a tuner at all? Since streamers allow you access to thousands of Radio type stations across the globe, the idea of a Tuner seems to be a very low priority. However, for those wedded to stations like BBC Radio Three or some of the better quality FM stations, then it will still be accurate to say that they will maintain their higher quality audio reproduction.