HD Radio Update or What's New and Great in HD Radio

Douglas Hanna

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HD Radio Receivers

First, Polk Audio has begun shipping its iSonic Entertainment System. This tabletop-sized radio packs a lot of features into its small size as it includes not just and HD Radio receiver, but an XM Satellite receiver and a single-disk CD player.

However, you pay for all these features as th iSonic has an announced price of $599 – too steep to be a true consumer product.

It's sad but true that stations are converting to HD Radio a lot faster than manufacturers. Isonic is only the second tabletop HD Radio introduced this year, the first being the HD Recepter Radio from Boston Acoustics.

Radiosophy says it will begin shipping its MultiStream tabletop unit in time for the holidays, But other than these three manufacturers, I have been unable to find anyone else committed to the tabletop market.

Things are a bit brighter in car audio systems. Kenwood offers two HD Radio tuners that are compatible with a number of its in-car units. Alpine, Panasonic and Sanyo sell in-dash automotive head units that can handle HD Radio and Eclipse has a black box unit that can be used with Eclipse automotive receivers to give their in-dash units HD Radio sound.

On the high end, there is Audio Design Associates (ADA) with five units that are multicast HD2 channel ready.

HD Radio Stations

There are now more than 960 radio stations broadcasting HD Radio. This is up about 300 from April.

Ibiquity, the creator of advocate for HD Radio says, “Thousands of radio stations are upgrading to digital HD Radio technology. Approximately one new HD Radio broadcaster goes on the air each day, reaching every major U. S. city and 60% of all listeners. By 2008, more than 90% of the U. S. population will be reached by HD Radio broadcasters. "

So, if there is no HD Radio in your area, be patient. It should be there soon.

HD2 Channels

There are also now stations in 68 markets broadcasting HD2 channels. These are “subchannels" made possible by the fact that HD Radio is digital radio. Broadcasters could, theoretically, add up to five of these subchannels but so far, most seem to be sticking to a single HD2 channel. If you have an HD Radio, you will see these HD2 channels as something like 99.4 HD2 or 99.4 HD3. In other words, they are subchannels of the primary frequency, in this case 99.4

Most of the stations broadcasting HD2 channels are using the channels to either complement their existing programming or are offering something completely different. For example, one of our local station's primary format is Hot AC , with Jammin’ Oldies on its HD2 channel.

To get a complete list of HD Radio stations and HD2 channels by city, click on this link: http://www.hdradio.com/hd_digital_radio_format_list.php

HD Radio enables AM and FM radio stations to broadcast their programs digitally. These digital broadcasts provide listeners with radically improved audio quality, more radio channels through multicasting, and new data services. To learn more about this amazing new technology, just go my Web site, http://www.hd-radio-home.com , to get all the buzz.

Douglas Hanna is a retired marketing executive and the author of numerous articles on HD radio, old time radio and family finances.


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