PURE Hit 1m DAB Radio Sales

PURE Hit 1m DAB Radio SalesWe like PURE, they create innovative products DAB radio – and they
e one of the few UK companies doing innovative things in hardware.

Hats off to them for getting to their first millionth DAB radio (or 1,000,000th if you want to be dramatic). The success of PURE is a reflection of the successful growth of DAB radio in the UK.

Rajar’s last figures (PDF) tell us that 15.3% of UK Adults own a DAB radio now. Pretty good figures, with clearly lots of room for growth.

PURE have been a little PR cheeky here, because the millionth radio was actually sold in October this year, but clearly at xmas time, it’s good for them to let people know that they’ve been so successful.

PURE Hit 1m DAB Radio SalesGiven that they’ve given the chance, we just as well tell you that, there’s a whole range available …there and waiting for you to take them to their 2 millionth …

Pure One DAB/FM Portable Radio
Pure Evoke 1XT DAB Digital Radio
Pure EVOKE-2XT, Luxury DAB/FM Portable Radio with Alarm
Pure Digital Tempus DAB Radio
Pure Pocket DAB 1500 Personal Stereo
Pure Chronos DAB Alarm Clock Radio
Pure Elan DX20 Portable DAB Digital Radio
Pure TEMPUS-1XT , DAB Radio with Clock / Alarm
Pure Pocket DAB 2000 Portable DAB/FM Radio & MP3 Player
From the above it’s pretty clear that you daren’t say PURE haven’t stretched DAB to as many products as possible.

Congrats to them too for having gained the position of number one manufacturer of portable radios overall in the UK by value back in May this year.


Samsung Anycall SPH-B5800 DMB TV

Samsung Anycall SPH-B5800 DMB TVFresh out of Samsung’s hyperactive phone production line in Korea is the new Anycall SPH-B5800 DMB phone.

A black, slide-out affair with a rotary controller, a large LCD screen and a phone keypad lurking underneath, the SPH-B5800 packs in a feast of functionality in an attractive package.

As you can see from the aerial sticking out of the side, the phone supports DMB for watching TV on the move, viewable on the large (2″) QVGA (240 x 320), 26k colour, TFT-LCD display.

The display can also rotate through 90 degrees for watching TV broadcasts in landscape mode, with publicity photos suggesting that the phone is able to balance on its side for viewing (so you won’t have to try and prop up against your pint glass in the pub) .

Samsung Anycall SPH-B5800 DMB TVFor music fans, there’s a built-in MP3 player with a microSD (TransFlash) port offering expansion options.

There’s also a 2 Megapixel camera onboard using a CMOS image sensor, which comes with white balance settings and can capture images up to a maximum 1,600 x 1,200 resolution.

Rounding up the feature set (or at least what we’ve managed to make sense of out of the dodgy Korean translation we’re working with here) is Bluetooth support, a handy TV out function and video recording.

Samsung Anycall SPH-B5800 DMB TVSadly, there’s no news of a UK release, with the phone currently only available on the KTF network in Korea.

Anycall (Korean)
Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB)

[From: Akihabaranews]

AE17 16B Acoustic Energy WiFi Radio: Review (49%)

AE17 16B Acoustic Energy WiFi Radio: Review (49%)To me, there is something about the pleasure of listening to radio that is intrinsically linked to a discrete box that is a radio, and the PC experience does not quite match up, but the chance to tune into thousands of radio stations from the four corners of the world is something that excited me.

Over the last few weeks I have had the chance to use one of those new fangled Wi-Fi radios – the Acoustic Energy AE17 16B. I hoped it would deliver the best of both worlds. It looks like a radio, but when you fire it up on your wireless network, it gives you a window on that plethora of choice that the Internet has given to listeners of online radio stations.

The idea is that you ‘turn on’ the AE and pick either from one of ten pre-set stations, choose geographically, down to country level or from one of a range of genres that includes my own favourites, 70’s and Comedy.

After spending time listening around the world, my top channel so far is RTHK, which coming in strong from the other side of the world, instantly takes me back to happy days in Hong Kong with Lynx Disco Classics to remind me of my time in a few dodgy 70’s discos.

Audio quality is dependent on what the station pumps out to the Web. Virgin offers a respectable 128kbp/s, the same as you’ll hear on a DAB radio, while BBC Radio 4, which is mainly talk, seems to just about remain acceptable down to about 40kbp/s. You can listen to this audio either through the radios adequate built in speaker, or via the provided headphone socket.

Listening to channels isn’t always a dream. Rather annoyingly, there seem to be various conditions that drive the tastefully designed box to silence and a buffering message on the radios’ LCD display. This shows the potential problems of a producer of hardware that listen to Internet radio station – as you can’t reply on the delivery of the audio streams, listeners will blame the device.

The Wi-Fi radios get their channel lookup list from a Reciva gateway on the Internet, which keeps a record of the stations available and if you know of a station that’s not there, you can fill out the details online at the Web site at reciva.com.

As well as letting you navigate to on-demand content, the radio has a useful feature allowing you to access mp3 tunes stored on your PC, but I’ll be straight with you, I’ve not managed to work out exactly how to do that as yet. I will persevere, but like some of the features on the radio, it’s not intuitive or easy to use.

While it does perform well once it’s running, there is a problem with getting to that point.

Although the AE looks simple enough, with just a mains power supply to plug in and a headphone socket, it’s not something to confront a technophobe with. There’s a maze of pull down menus and you’ll need to put on your anorak to enter a hexadecimal address or two if your network is a secure one.

I really wanted to like this, so I’m afraid this is only a middling 49% on the score sheet until a more simple interface is developed. Currently this is a Christmas present for the geek in the family not your ageing maiden aunt.

Overall 49%

Acoustic Energy WiFi Radio

Sharp 911SH Mobile With TV Recording And Playback

Sharp 911SH Mobile With TV Recording And PlaybackLike a hungry child with its drooling face depositing dribble all over the cake shop window, we’re only able to gaze at the sleek lines of Sharp’s swanky new 911SH TV phone from afar as the Japanese giant has announced that it’s for their home market only.

The swivelling phone looks a beaut too, offering a built in TV tuner and a super sharp 3 inch display.

The display uses technology from Sharp’s well regarded AQUOUS LCD TVs, so comes with a brightness sensor which adjusts the brightness based on the ambient lightning.

There are also three different TV modes, with the 262k colour screen able to swivel 90 degrees to offer portrait or landscape viewing formats.

A built in Micro SD card means that users can record TV programmes and watch pre-recorded films on the move, and the phone can be programmed to record favourite shows.

Sharp 911SH Mobile With TV Recording And PlaybackSlapping in a 1 GB card would deliver a mighty 4 hours of recording, although we’re not sure how long the battery would fare when playing back videos.

Technical details are still a little vague, but the 911SH looks to come with a 2 Megapixel camera, offer video recording and Bluetooth 2.0 support and run on 3G networks.

The phone is expected to be released at the end of the week to lucky, lucky Japanese consumers, and made available in a range of seven colours.

Meanwhile, Brits looking to watch TV on the move will have to settle for the considerably less stylish Virgin Mobile Lobster 770TV phone.

[From NewLaunches.com]

Pure EVOKE-1XT Marshall Edition Released. Let’s Rock!

Pure EVOKE-1XT Marshall Edition Released. Let's Rock!DAB radio pioneers, Pure Technologies, have released information about a forthcoming DAB radio, styled as a Marshall Amp.

To rockers and heavy metal fans alike Marshall Amps rule, so this is likely to appeal to head banger who remember the days of AC/DC when an adult dressing up as a school boy was actively encouraged.

EVOKE-1XT Marshall Edition is wrapped in black vinyl, just like a Marshall amp, with solid wood construction, brass-effect control panel and a black metallic speaker grille.

Pure tell us that it has a bass reflex port for enhanced bass performance alongside a custom designed 3″ drive unit and active-filters to provide a natural ‘direct-from-the-studio’ sound. Let’s Rock!

You to can fool yourself that you’ve turned your bathroom into the Monster of Rock playing Donnington by buying this beauty.

Pure clearly have a sense of humour as the volume goes up to 11 (tm Spinal Tap).

It’s going to sell for 1p under £100.


Virgin Mobile Lobster 770TV: Review

Virgin Mobile Lobster 770TV: ReviewThe last 18 months have seen a growing crescendo of excitement in the content and mobile phone worlds about the possibilities of delivering TV to mobile phone. The ideas been around a lot longer than that, but it’s the smell of money that has heightened senses.

Virgin Mobile have been keen to show the pace in this area and BT Livetime).

The handsets are now in pre-production and are getting into the hands of a few people.

James Cridland, Head of New Media Strategy at Virgin Radio has had a pre-production Virgin Mobile Lobster 770TV in his hands for a while and has written up a review of it, complete with the four TV services and 49 radio stations.

Built by HTC, its guts are an Orange SPV C600 but the protrusion on its right hand side holds the DAB chippery. James reports that the headphones are better than SPV600, which the 770TV is based on. They also act as the aerial for the DAB receiver.

James goes into a lot more detail about the handset, but let’s get down to how it performs as a TV.

The content
The four TV channels he had were BBC One London, Channel 4 Shortcuts, E4, and ITV-1 (only available in London). It sounds like the programming on the commercial channels hits a few interruptions due to ‘rights.’

BBC One London is in full and free. E4 and ITV-1 generally shows a simulcast of the main channels, but at some times of the day you get a notice that the current programme is unavailable for ‘rights reasons’ – which, at the time of writing, includes all of E4’s daytime music programming, all advertising, all of GMTV, and quite a few other programmes too: it’s unusual to be able to get all four channels in full, in my experience. Channel 4 Shortcuts shows short clips of Channel 4 shows.

Using it
Starting to watch TV couldn’t be easier, just hitting the TV button, which brings up the TV Guide, which he describes as a fairly comprehensive EPG (electronic programme guide), interestingly updated over-the-air on DAB.

The quality of the service doesn’t sound amazing currently.

Clicking on a channel name opens a screen with a larger logo and a Windows Media ‘buffering’ sign, which disappears fairly quickly to be replaced with a passable picture. The framerate appears quite low – probably no more than 10 frames a second – and the picture quality does break up in fast movement; this isn’t picture quality to write home about, but conversely it is pretty good at coping with variable signal quality – on occasion, you can sometimes lose the picture but keep the sound. Watching live television in a moving taxi is an interesting experience, but works very well.

Radio service
James is significantly more impressed with this Lobster as a DAB radio, finding “the reception quality is rather better than I’ve experienced with an FM radio,” indeed, “it’s no exaggeration to say that this is the best hand-held DAB Digital Radio that I’ve ever had.”

Given his role at Virgin Radio, he’s a man who knows a thing or two about radio too.

Despite liking the other functions of the Lobster, it appears James won’t be chucking out his TV anytime soon, finding the current channels available not good enough.

I can’t see too many people sitting down for half an hour of Coronation Street on this thing; and it would seem to me that the television offering needs changing – to offer more grazing-friendly programming. Sky News or BBC News 24 would be a great addition. The absence of GMTV on the phone shows what disarray the commercial broadcasters are in – why cede peak commuting time to the BBC alone?

Clearly early days in this fledgling area.

Full details are over on James’ blog
Photo credit: James Cridland

UK Digital Radio Figures Up Again

The latest digital radio listening figures have come out in the UK. Everyone involved in the DAB radio business as they’ve all gone up.

The digital reach is up 17% from the previous year and the number of hours listened to has gone up 15% from last year.

Something rather pretentiously called the “Digitally Enabled Universe,” ie the number people who fall within the DAB radio reception, has stayed at 54% of the UK population.

The percentage of adults who own a DAB set at home remains at 15.3%.

DRDB chief executive, Ian Dickens, says: “This is great news and proves that digital radio continues to grow in popularity with listeners. Rajar’s research bears out our own findings which show that people who buy a DAB digital radio enjoy the new stations it offers and value the added choice that comes with digital listening.”

The BBC has five national DAB radio station, four of which have increased their listenership. The most popular commercial radio station is Emap’s The Hits with 1.182 million listeners.


UK Analogue Radio Gets A Bashing

UK Analogue Radio Gets A BashingDAB in the UK has had a good week with prices dropping to an all time low, with High Street retailers are now making available a DAB radio with CD player for under £50.

To add the icing to the digital radio cake, Dixons the domestic electronics giant that made its name in radio more than 50 years ago, has announced its decision to drop conventional analogue ‘steam radio’ from its portfolio (But they appear to make a habit of grabbing press about this type of thing, having done it with VCRs already).

Although a date has been set for UK analogue TV to closedown, no such decision has been made for radio, and with radios outnumbering TVs at something like 4 to 1 any planned switchover is bound to be some way into the future.

DAB radio coverage in the UK is approaching 85% but the rollout in the rest of the world is patchy, with markets like the USA favouring a pay-model satellite-delivered radio service with brands like Sirius. Competition from the drm (Digital Radio Mondiale) standard and commercial operators like Worldspace are also creating uncertainty in territories that are characterised by dispersed populations across large land masses.

There are now over 270 UK analogue radio transmitting licences issued and they’re still leaving OFCOM’s shelves as fast as they become available, but with a promise of a further national DAB multiplexes and a likely radio presence from Channel 4, the future of radio is looking increasingly digital.

UK Analogue Radio Gets A BashingSky’s satellite hybrid gnome receiver has so far failed to dazzle and, like the semi-portable internet radios, it’s perceived as overly complex for the average punter who prefer the Freeview-like DAB proposition.

Not all retailers of radio see the disappearance of analogue radio as inevitable in the near future. There are important extra features to tempt people, like EPG, pause live and track identification, which make digital services far ‘sexier’ than conventional wireless,

What will show DAB has arrived? We reckon that once the DAB pirates hoist their Digital aerials, the technology will have well and truly arrived.

PocketDAB 1500 Released By Pure Digital

PocketDAB 1500 Released By Pure DigitalWe’re big fans of Pure Digital and their seemingly endless mission to push the features and functions of DAB radios. Their latest move is to launch a new portable DAB radio.

Launching DAB on the world with the attention-grabbing BUG radio designed by cardigan-wearing, ex-shoe designer, Wayne Hemingway (which they recently updated), they’ve followed it up with numerous diverse models.

True to their innovating inclinations, Pure has been selling their PocketDAB 1000 radio successfully for some time, but not content to rest on their laurels, have taken the chance to improve on their success by launching a new, improved (as they say in the washing powder ads) version, the PocketDAB 1500 – and at a lower price than its predecessor.

They added FM with RDS, textSCAN, a striking black anodised aluminum case and a ChargePAK rechargeable battery pack. Not content with adding features, they’ve managed to reduce the weight to the little fellow to 123g, making it their lightest so far.

To ensure this beauty has enough power for 24 hours of constant listening, the set is recharged by plugging it into the mains electricity to juice up the ChargePAK battery.

You could well be asking what the hell textSCAN is? Let us enlighten you. One of the features of DAB is the ability of the broadcaster to have text scroll on the displays of the receiver. textSCAN give the listener control over this text, so it’s not lost as it scrolls off the screen.

PocketDAB 1500 Released By Pure DigitalRecognising that what they’re selling is audio quality, Pure have done a deal with Sennheiser to have Sennheiser’s MX300 headphones included in the package.

Pure clearly think about the usability of their radios, which shows, giving features like automatically remembering the user’s ten most listened to stations in a favourites list.

DAB while on the move was, for a long time, a problem as the required signal strength is higher than analogue. Public perception of digital radio reception, or digitally reception generally is that it’s better quality. This can be true, but only when reception is sufficiently strong. Unlike analog reception, which will gently fade in and out, without the required minimum reception levels, digital can be a highly disturbing experience, with unpleasant, hard-edged choppiness hitting your ears.

This combined with the power-hungry design of the initial chipsets is the reason why we didn’t see truly portable DAB radio coming to market at the same time as the early mains-powered models.

The PocketDAB 1500 package can now be had in the shops for a RRP of £89.99, actually giving a price reduction on their previous model.

Pure PocketDAB 1500

Bug TOO DAB Radio released by Pure Digital

Bug TOO DAB Radio released by Pure DigitalIt might look like a weird mutation between Dr Who’s K9 and and the wobbly robot from Lost In Space, but we like the fact that PURE Digital’s new Bug TOO DAB radio is brave enough to stand out from the current crowd of wood’n’plastic identikit DAB radios.

Building on their success of their their earlier, Wayne Hemingway-designed Bug digital radio, the Bug Too adds the latest DAB digital radio developments, including an electronic programme guide (EPG) and textSCAN, and a new feature letting users wake up to their favourite MP3 or recording.

As with the earlier Bug DAB radio, there’s a fully specified radio lurking inside the bonkers exterior, with MP3 playback, record to SD card and the excellent ReVu feature which lets users pause and rewind live radio.

The feature set
Now sporting a new titanium silver finish, the Bug TOO looks much the same as its predecessor, offering a bright, clear, scrolling LCD display on a bizarre bendy stalk.

Bug TOO DAB Radio released by Pure DigitalThis usefully displays artists names, song titles, news, sports results and other information, with the EPG feature offering programme information and schedules.

With the Bug TOO being compatible with EPG broadcasts, users can browse upcoming programmes, see a short description of each programme and then select them for scheduled listening or recording to SD memory card.

As with their Pure DMX-50 DAM microsystem, it’s possible to record DAB radio to SD card or to an external MiniDisc player, with MP3 playback available from tunes stored on the SD card.

Bug TOO DAB Radio released by Pure DigitalThere’s also alarm, sleep and timer record functions – including an MP3 alarm – so the Bug TOO could be a handy bedside radio. We’re not quite sure why anyone would want 20 configurable alarms though, but if that’s what you’re after, the Bug’s got ’em.

We like Pure Digital and this new radio looks to be good value too, costing around £100 and available from June 2006.

The Bug