Broadcast Digital Radio Market Struggles Beyond Automotive Sector

25 Apr 2014

Just over 10 million broadcast digital radios shipped in 2013, with just under one-third of those outside the automotive sector, according to ABI Research. There has been a steep decline in annual radio shipments as once common products such as tabletop radios, portable radios and even A/V Receivers have lost ground to increasingly functional smartphones and tablets. Meanwhile, even with regulatory discussions of shutting off national FM transmitters in Europe starting in 2017, penetration of digital radio outside the automotive sector hovers around 30%. The outlook is mixed as digital radio prices have yet not fallen to the levels where OEMs can include them in categories such as clock radios. Recent multi-standard chips from companies including Frontier Silicon, NXP, and Siano may bring price points down but we do not see a large replacement cycle of radio products even with digital shut-off.

“Spectrum reallocation is one of the big long-term benefits of digital radio,” comments ABI Research practice director Sam Rosen. “However, the United States HD Radio standard, managed by iBiquity, doesn’t leave an open block of spectrum. In addition to failing to capture consumer’s attention, it ultimately will exacerbate broadcaster’s already tough situation justifying the use of spectrum based on the value of the public service they provide.”

These findings are part of areport “Digital and Satellite Radio” discussing Digital Radio including DAB, HD Radio, Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) and satellite radio (Sirius / XM). The research is part of ABI Research’s First Screen Video Devices Market Research.

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