(Pocket-lint) - If you enjoy listening to the radio you may want to check your device as they are at risk when the digital switch-over happens.
The UK government has announced major analogue FM radio stations will likely be switched off the moment digital radio reaches 50 per cent listening hours saturation and digital radio offers the same line-up as FM. That means those without a digital radio won't be able to listen in to their favourite stations in future.
Thankfully though, the government has created the Digital Tick initiative to clarify which radios will work after the analogue switch-over.
For example, older radios will still be able to receive FM radio but the analogue broadcast standard will only be used for local stations after the switchover.
What is the Digital Tick and will my current radio be ready?
The Digital Tick is just a government marking that manufacturers can apply for before selling their radios in future. It allows people to see, at a glance, that a new radio will be future-proof. But that doesn't mean your current radio won't work after the shut-off.
As long as your radio has DAB it will be able to receive digital radio channels. The BBC launched on digital radio in 1995 when digital radios began going on sale so they've been around for quite a while. If you've ever bought what was described as a "digital radio" since then, you are likely to be okay.
If your radio is FM-only though it will only be able to receive whatever is left in the FM bandwidth - which is currently thought to be local community radio.
When is the FM radio switch off?
The British government is likely to be one of the first worldwide to plan a shut-off of major FM radio broadcasts. But Norway has a 2017 date in mind so that's still open. There is no UK timeline for this at present - previous reports of a 2015 cut-off have since been shelved - the government suggests that the switch-over will happen when it is confident that certain stipulations have been met. These include a saturation rate for digital radio listeners. At least 50 per cent of listening hours would need to be on digital platforms.
Plus, national digital radio coverage has to be equivalent to FM coverage. And local digital radio needs to have reached at least 90 per cent of the population.
Halfords has already committed to the shut off with plans to stop selling analogue radios for cars by 2015, no matter when the government will announce the full switch-over plans. Halfords CEO, Matt Davies, said: "Halfords is committed to a digital future and I am pleased to announce today that we are planning for our audio offer to be 100 per cent digital by 2015."
That's not to say analogue radio is dead. FM offers an array of bandwidth which can be used for other services. And it can be filled with a new tier of ultra-local radio for small local commercial and community stations.
Who's selling Digital Tick radios?
So far plenty of major manufacturers are selling radios with the Digital Tick mark. This includes lots of car makers who offer the DAB radio built into their new vehicles.
Radio manufacturers that are on board include Pure, Philips, Sharp, Sony, Kenwood, Alpine, Tivoli and Ruark, including the new R1.
The car AutoDAB service can be found in Honda, Ford, BMW, Renault, Toyota, Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall, Seat, Skoda, VW, Audi, Fiat, Hyundai, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Porsche and Mazda.