MP3 radio gadgets to be legalisedDevice transmits MP3 tracks to the radio

24 July 2006

 

The screen of an Apple iPod.

Transmitters which enable iPods and other MP3 players to be played over car stereos and home entertainment systems look set to become legal in the UK.

Devices such as the iTrip plug into MP3 players and connect them wirelessly to radios in cars and homes.

But the gadgets are currently illegal in the UK and Europe because of their theoretical. potential to cause interference to broadcast services. This could happen if someone nearby is tuned to the same frequency as you're using to transmit MP3 tracks to your radio. However, in practice, it's unlikely.

Broadcast regulator Ofcom has now put forward plans to legalise the use of low-power FM transmitters in response to growing consumer demand.

Ludicrous ban

Ofcom will consult on the issue until September, after which the devices are expected to become legal to use by the end of this year.

Apple doesn't make the iTrip - its manufacturer is Griffin Technology. An Apple spokeswoman said the firm did not comment on iPod-related gadgets made by third parties.

Liberal Democrat culture, media and sport spokesman Don Foster welcomed the move: ‘I am delighted that Ofcom has ended this ludicrous ban based on 1940s legislation. This decision by Ofcom will not only regulate a booming black market and provide the country with valuable tax revenue, but also enable the iPod generation to enjoy their music using the latest gadgets.'