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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Digital radio sales 13m 'by 2008'
digital radio
Digital radio is expected to enter 28.7% of Britain's households by 2008
Thirteen million digital radios will be sold in the UK by the end of 2008, up from one million this year, the Digital Radio Development Bureau has predicted.

Currently 3.8% of British homes own at least one digital radio, a figure expected to rise to 28.7% by 2008.

Digital portable systems, hi-fi systems and clock radios are predicted to have the biggest boost in sales.

The government has set no date for the switch-off of the UK's analogue radio signal, the industry body confirmed.

Radio rewind

The value of the digital radio market is expected to rise from 90m at the end of 2004 to almost 500m by 2008.

Sales are expected to receive a boost from new "memory radios" which allow listeners to pause, rewind and record live radio.

"One of the biggest stories to emerge over the next few years will be an increase in the number of people listening to DAB digital radio in their cars," the industry body said.

Digital radio is currently available to 85% of the UK population. While the government plans to switch off analogue television by 2012, it has set no date for switching off analogue radio signals.

When it is switched off in the UK, around 100 million analogue radios will become obsolete.

So far Germany is the only country to have set an analogue radio switch-off date, of 2015.

If television is to have its switchover in 2012, can we expect radio to be more than five years behind?
Ralph Bernard, Digital Radio Development Bureau
Last month Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) chairman Ralph Bernard, who is also executive chairman of radio group GWR, urged the government to announce a date.

"Just like television, a switch-over date will really give a boost to the momentum of digital radio," he told economic and social policy think-tank Social Market Foundation.

"A digital switch-over date will give a target that manufacturers, broadcasters and advertisers can aim at to achieve a successful transfer to the new world.

"If television is to have its switchover in 2012, can we expect radio to be more than five years behind?"

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