New cars will all be supplied with digital radio as standard by 2015 due to the digital switchover
9 February 2010

Car manufacturers are making progress in ensuring all car radios are digital as standard by 2015. As part of the government’s Digital Britain report last year, it was confirmed that the analogue radio signal would be switched off by 2015. The take up of digital radio in cars has so far been slow, but Digital Britain is speeding up the development of the in-car technology.

Anthony Sethill, chief executive of the UK’s leading DAB component supplier Frontier Silicon, said, “Digitial radio is here to stay now. There have been some false starts in the industry in the past but Digital Britain is ensuring that it will be rolled out as standard in all new models from 2013.”

Sethill also said France’s decision to switch off analogue radio from 2013 was a factor in speeding up development.

The switch-off of analogue radio in Britain will begin in 2013, and the government plans to have completed the switch-over by 2015, although Sethill believes 2017 is a more realistic completion date.

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18

9 February 2010

I didn't realise this was going to happen so soon. What about the myriads of existing cars that can't receive a digital signal? Most have built in sound systems so that pulling out the old radio and replacing it with a new model from Halfords is not an option. Those adaptors that require new aerials and power leads draped all over the dashboard are not the answer either.

9 February 2010

I'm sure they wont turn off analogue radio in 2015.

9 February 2010

I would think that 2020 is more likely.

9 February 2010

I too find this worrying. Its stupid that many cars today cant be bought with a digital radio, and by the time they are 5 they might not be able to receive radio anymore.

9 February 2010

Calm down everybody! There are a myriad of converters you can use to tansform your FM radio into a digital one:

http://www.pure.com/products/product.asp?Product=VL-60905&Category=In-Car

I think the bigger issue is not the equipment fitted to vehicles, but the reliability of a DAB signal in a moving vehicle. Apparently it is not as good as FM.

9 February 2010

[quote evanstim]There are a myriad of converters you can use to tansform your FM radio into a digital one:[/quote]

Yes, but firstly do you want yet another gadget stuck to your windscreen with its own extra aeriel. Power wires etc. And they either need an aux input on the stereo or you need to use an FM transmitter. Having tried the latter with MP3 players i know they are rubbish. You might as well just have a portable radio sitting on the passenger seat!

Ideally manufactures would offer an exchange service where the standard car radio can be swapped for a newer version with DAB built in, but of course this will never happen.

9 February 2010

[quote evanstim]

Calm down everybody! There are a myriad of converters you can use to tansform your FM radio into a digital one:

http://www.pure.com/products/product.asp?Product=VL-60905&Category=In-Car

I think the bigger issue is not the equipment fitted to vehicles, but the reliability of a DAB signal in a moving vehicle. Apparently it is not as good as FM.

[/quote]

I think I could live with a converter (but I will go out and buy shares in Pure - they will make a fortune from this), but I share you concerns about reception. Digtal TV is terrible with anything other than a perfect signal, whereas analogue TV is perfectly watchable, albeit a little fuzzy. We keep getting told they will boost the signal, but how succesful this will be I don't know.

I am surprised by the date of 2015 though - seems far too soon. 2020 would give time for the technology to filter into most cars.

Does anyone know much about Sirrus satelite radio? It seems to be popular in the US (from what I've heard anyway), will it come over here?

9 February 2010

[quote artill]

I too find this worrying. Its stupid that many cars today cant be bought with a digital radio, and by the time they are 5 they might not be able to receive radio anymore.

[/quote]

It's the reporting in this magazine that you really need to be worried about. Analogue radio being switched off by 2015 - ha! ha! ha! Yet another example of Autocar's splendid investigative journalism.

The 2015 figure was quoted in the governments Digital Britain report. What Autocar left out was the report also said:

"The switchover will be announced two years in advance and not until digital accounts for 50% of all radio listening"

It also mentioned minor details such as AM going off air but the FM band continuing to be used - but we'll forget about all that. We should do as Autocar does, concentrate on the headline and ignore the story.

9 February 2010

There is a company called Ampsys which claims to have solved multi-path reception in FM, that's where you get a tish-tish noise as you're driving:

http://www.ampsysltd.co.uk/

DAB suffers from this but as yet there is no solution. The Pure radio receiver that was talked about earlier suffers from this. A review I read (Sunday Times) said, after trying a number of solutions, that DAB wasn't very good at all for driving around the city.

A demo of the Ampsys system can be found here:

http://www.massey.ac.nz/~tjmoir/ampsys.html

I've had a personal demostration of the system and can confirm that yes it does work.

9 February 2010

[quote evanstim]I think the bigger issue is not the equipment fitted to vehicles, but the reliability of a DAB signal in a moving vehicle. Apparently it is not as good as FM. [/quote]

Quality of the sound is better, but yes, mine frequently goes quite for a few seconds.

The big issue for me though is lack of any scale to reference. I find it hugely frustrating that I just have to keep scanning until it finds the station I want, and sometimes in between will find another station 5-6 times!

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