BBC R&D has for some years carried out tests on DAB receivers, both prototypes and finished products. The aim of the testing programme was to help manufacturers - and hence the evolution of the DAB receiver industry - by providing an impartial testing regime including combinations of features that are not used on-air at present but may be used by broadcasters later. The programme also informed the BBC about the performance of DAB receivers actually on the market - an important consideration in the early days of the new service when there are not many receivers for the public to choose from. In 1999 the test procedures were standardised and described in a BBC internal document.

In 2004 BBC R&D decided that it was no longer appropriate for it to offer a DAB receiver testing service: DAB should now be a mature technology and a very wide range of receivers is available. However, there is still a need for manufacturers to check the functionality of their products in development and in particular the response to features that may come into use in the future. Accordingly, the 1999 document describing the tests is published in this White Paper, and suitable test streams will be published as an Annex. The complexity of modern digital broadcasting specifications is such that no reasonable testing procedure can exercise every possible combination of features. We believe the tests described below represent a reasonable test of a receiver, but passing them does not guarantee conformance with all the aspects of the DAB specification.