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 onand .
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 toin 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.