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Philips CEM2000B and CEM3000B deliver cheap in-car DAB radio

With the government planning to turn off FM and use DAB primary network for radio, you might want to cast your eyes (and ears) on these in-car digital radios from Philips.


Philips is all set to drag car stereos kicking and screaming into the 21st century with its CEM2000B and CEM3000B digital radios.

The firm, which played a part in creating the DAB format, says both devices are designed to fit the single-DIN stereo slots in most ordinary cars, so a straight swap with your existing stereo should be a breeze.

In addition to DAB, the CEM3000B and CEM2000B both feature FM radio tuners, CD players and a front-facing USB slot designed to play music stored on USB keys. The top of the range CEM3000B also has the ability to play music stored on iPods and iPhones.

Both units promise relatively powerful sound. The CEM2000B and CEM3000B have built-in 50W and 45W amplifiers respectively, both across four channels, and come with a Dynamic Bass Boost feature designed to increase low frequencies. If up to 50W of power won't suffice, both models have an audio-out facility that allows you to connect a more powerful external amp.

In our experience, cheap in-car DAB radios can be rather susceptible to annoying signal drop-outs, due partly to the fact that cars are quite hostile environments for electronics products. Philips reassures us, however, that the CEMs were designed specifically for in-car use, and don't contain modified DAB components originally designed for portable audio players.

The CEM2000B and CEM3000B may not look anything special in the pictures, but they provide a cheap and easy means of getting on the DAB bandwagon. The popularity of in-car DAB radio is expected to rise significantly over the next few years -- not least because the government wants to move away from FM broadcasting in 2015.

The CEM2000B and 3000B are available to buy from Halfords for £120 and £140 respectively. Their non-dab CEM2000 and CEM3000 counterparts will sell for £80 and £100 respectively.