Pure for Petrolheads

Nov 23, 2011 No Comments by

Tech Fogey doesn’t get invited to many press launches any more.  When it worked for a national Sunday newspaper things were different – although not that different, given the pipe and slippers image of that paper’s typical reader.  Whether they admit it or not, for most tech companies the over 40s don’t exist.  Even 35 is pushing it.  It’s part of that curious anomaly whereby colour magazine supplements that festoon weekend newspapers are crammed with cutting edge content that’s supposed to appeal to advertisers’ bullseye consumers (tragically just 18-24 years old) while carrying ads for Stannah stairlifts, elasticated comfy pants and blobby footwear that fastens with Velcro.

Digital radio, however, is one area that is pure Fogey.  Literally, if the brand is Pure.

Recently Pure launched a new in-car digital radio; the Highway 300Di.  They previously attempted to woo drivers with the original Highway but it entailed trailing several miles of cable across your dashboard.  Pure ebay.

The 300Di is different.  It requires professional fitting and the control panel is neat and discreet.  Until the end of 2011 it’s available exclusively from Halfords for £179.99.  After that other installers get a look-in and the price goes up.

Pure Highway 300Di control

TF has nothing against Pure, personally – their PR team, for example, are patient and charming – but we have to ask;  ARE THEY MENTAL!!!!!!

£180 is already a lot of money for a radio, fitted or otherwise but this is the discounted price.  Pure wouldn’t say what the price would be after Jan 1st or who else would be allowed to join their fitting fraternity.  Oooh, the tease!!

Is the FM/AM radio with which your car is already furnished really that dreadful?  Pure thinks so.  They are mistaken.  Add a CD or cassette player or iPod connectivity via an auxiliary input and that’s plenty to keep a Fogey occupied and amused.  Shelling out £180 or more for a few extra, digital-only stations you’ll never listen to seems vaguely deranged.

TF’s nearest Halfords is in Twickenham and every visit reconfirms first impressions of a bunch of shiftless, slovenly oafs.  We wouldn’t trust them to fit a wiper blade let alone fiddle about with a car’s electrics.

During the launch a panel of interested parties from Pure, Halfords, Absolute Radio and the DAB industry body espoused various morsels of DAB propaganda and then opened the floor to questions.  Some beardy in the underwhelmed throng starting ranting about Mahler and DAB’s somewhat low-fi sound quality, another queried the various digital radio formats and whether the 300Di would support them (there are digital radio formats other than DAB and many European countries use those other formats) and it was pointed out that digital radio reception can be just as crap as FM, but before the seething geeks could really get stuck in the session was curtailed and everyone was ushered out to get what they really came for: free booze and snacks.

Far from being soft in the head, it may be that Pure knows something we don’t.  During the launch presentation a film was shown during which several men in suits waxed lyrical about the joy of digital radio.  One such was Ed Vaizey, who is a Minister in the Coalition Government with responsibilities for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries.  Ed said that it wasn’t so much a question of ‘if’ digital radio would prevail, but ‘when’.  The current government stance is that 50 per cent of radio listening must be done via digital/DAB before the analogue FM/AM signal is switched off.  But it rather sounds as though the decision has already been made; we’re all going to have DAB whether we like it or not and the existing millions of analogue radios will become junk.  Stuff the cost, stuff the waste, stuff the polar bears and stuff you.  All to free up some frequencies the government can then flog to mobile phone companies for a ton of money.

TF suspects that it will now be banished from the Pure Christmas card list.  No more gratis Pinot Grigio; no more tasty morsels.  We hope you’re satisfied.

For more info on the Pure Highway300Di click here.