Norway is set to become the first country to switch off its FM radio network next week, as it takes the unpopular leap to digital technology.
Critics say the government is rushing the move and many people may miss warnings on emergencies that have until now been broadcast via the radio.
Of particular concern are the 2 million cars on Norway's roads that are not equipped with Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) receivers, they say.
Sixty-six percent of Norwegians oppose switching off FM, with just 17 percent in favor and the rest undecided, according to an opinion poll published by the daily Dagbladet last month.
Nevertheless, parliament gave the final go-ahead for the move last month, swayed by the fact that digital networks can carry more radio channels.
By the end of the year, all national FM broadcasts will be closed in favor of DAB, which backers say carries less hiss and clearer sound throughout the large nation of 5 million people cut by fjords and mountains. Torvmark said cars were the "biggest challenge" - a good digital adapter for an FM car radio costs 1,500 Norwegian crowns ($174.70), he said.
For the same cost, digital radio in Norway allows eight times more radio stations than FM. The current system of parallel FM and digital networks, each of which cost about 250 million crowns ($29 million), saps investments in programs.
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) launched the first DAB channel in the world on 1 June 1995 (NRK Klassisk)
The BBC and Swedish Radio (SR) launched their first DAB digital radio broadcasts in September
More than 30 countries provide DAB transmissions, and several countries, such as Norway, UK, Australia, Italy, Malta, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Germany, are transmitting DAB+ stations.
The people are correct in not wanting DAB because FM is a much better quality signal.
Audio quality varies depending on the bitrate used and audio material.
Most stations use a bit rate of 128 kbit/s or less with the MP2 audio codec, which requires 160 kbit/s to achieve perceived FM quality.
128 kbit/s gives better dynamic range or signal-to-noise ratio than FM radio, but a more smeared stereo image, and an upper cut-off frequency of 14 kHz, corresponding to 15 kHz of FM radio.
However, "CD quality" sound with MP2 is possible "with 256…192 kbps".