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Digital radio take-up set to soar past the million mark

LONDON – Sales of digital radio sets are set to soar past the million mark by January 2005 due to increased Christmas trade, the BBC has predicted.

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Earlier this year, it was predicted that DAB sales could reach 1m by 2005, but figures up to October, showing more than 800,000 sold before Christmas trade had begun, suggest the end-of-year total will exceed that figure.

Simon Nelson, controller of BBC radio and interactive, said: "The BBC is fully committed to DAB and, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the BBC, commercial radio, manufacturers and retailers, digital radio looks like being one of the success stories of the year."

The announcement comes as the BBC's vision for the future of DAB digital radio, as submitted to media secretary Tessa Jowell, is published, revealing the industry and public are not yet ready for digital switchover.

It recommends the government review the progress of digital radio in three years with a view to setting the date for switchover.

The report reiterates the corporation's belief that DAB is the only technology that will convert the vast majority of listening from analogue to digital and that the government must explore ways to support the DAB radio manufacturing industry.

The BBC also calls on manufacturers to develop recognisable performance standards to ensure customer satisfaction.

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