Digital radio – your questions answered - Who will be affected most?
We’ve had eight-tracks, cassette decks, minidiscs, CD players and iPod connections in cars over the years, and the next evolutionary step is digital radio.
There’s been endless talk about whether the analogue signal is going to be switched off. Well, now it’s definitely going to happen, with the minister for culture Ed Vaizey saying in October that the Government is no longer talking about if a switchover is to take place, but when.
Who will be affected most?
In a word, motorists. Currently 90.7% of the UK population listens to radio every week, according to Radio Joint Audio Research figures, but only 2% of cars on the road are able to receive a digital signal.
The fear is that drivers will be left with useless analogue radios in their cars, that digital coverage and audio quality will be poor and even that the second-hand values of cars not fitted with digital radios will suffer.
Car manufacturers have been slow to reassure consumers. As it stands, only one mainstream manufacturer – Mini – offers digital radio as standard across its whole range, although premium brands such as Rolls-Royce do so as well. However, Louise Wallis from the National Association of Motor Auctions feels consumers need not worry about cars without digital radio being worth less. ‘With CD players it didn’t make a great deal of difference,’ she says, adding that there is no such thing as an ‘essential option’ for most used car buyers.