By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
HD Radio sales are gaining traction with several suppliers predicting significant growth for the technology in car audio over the next few years.
iBiquity, the inventor of HD Radio, said that 80 percent of Americans can now receive at least one HD Radio station as more than 1,100 stations across the country are now broadcasting in the digital format.
Alpine estimates that 30 percent of radio listeners will own an HD Radio-ready product by the end of 2008. There are currently 260 million radio listeners per week.
JVC says sales of its HD Radio-equipped KD-HDR1 CD receiver, one of the lowest priced HD Radio car solutions on the market, took off during the summer after only moderate sales earlier in 2006. Bill Turner, JVC mobile entertainment VP, says, "I can't keep them in stock. Around August and September things started to mushroom." He attributed the increased demand to the promotional efforts of the HD Alliance and noted that certain retailers "began jumping on the bandwagon in anticipation of the holiday season." The KD-HDR1 is unique in that it includes a built-in HD Radio receiver, at a suggested-$199, while most other radios require a separate HD Radio tuner so that a full solution typically costs over $300.
Turner said he expects strong sales for 2007, and doesn't anticipate prices falling below the current $199 until 2008.
Alpine marketing VP Steve Witt noted, "Alpine fully believes that HD radio is the system of the future. 2007 is all about creating consumer awareness, and the HD Forum will continue to invest heavily through their stations to create awareness. The cost of hardware is coming down and portables are entering the market, such as Visteon's HD Jump, so we believe 2007 will be a reasonably good year for HD Radio sales which will continue to grow through 2009 at a fairly steady pace."
New HD Radio products for 2007 include the following:
All 2007 Alpine Ai-Net head units are now HD Radio 2 compatible, so they display HD Radio multicast stations when used with Alpine's current HD Radio adapter that has been lowered in price as of January to $199, down from $299 in 2006.
Kenwood reduced the price of the KTC-HR100TR HD Radio adapter to $199, cutting the price by almost 50 percent since the unit's introduction in 2005. The adapter works with head units in this year's lineup that feature suggested retails as low as $119.
Jensen said it will offer several head units with built-in HD Radio tuners in 2007, but has not yet announced specifics.
DICE Electronics began shipping this fall its HD DICE HD radio adapter that works with most factory radios. The unit, shown originally at International CES last year, plugs into the satellite radio or CD changer control port of the radio and displays HD Radio and multicast station, song and artist information (including multicast stations) on the car radio. The tuner works with select models from Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Mini Cooper, Scion, Toyota and Volkswagen with more to be added in the future. Suggested retail is $199.
Directed Electronics' add-on HDRadio receiver for car radios displays multicast stations and artist and song names. It shipped in December at a suggested $249.
Peripheral will ship in the first quarter an HD Radio adapter called the HDR2Car. It is an AM/FM HD Radio tuner that connects through the satellite radio port while retaining the satellite radio function. It enables HD Radio station information, including multicast information, to display on the car radio's screen, and it becomes the default tuner for analog AM/FM stations. Suggested retail is $199.
Metra Electronics' new adapter, also at a suggested $199, connects to a factory radio through either the CD changer or satellite radio port. It displays HD Radio information such as artist and song titles on the radio screen and allows control through the CD changer or satellite radio controls. The unit comes in a version for import cars including Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen and Honda and a version for domestic vehicles from GM, Ford and Chrysler. It is expected to ship Feb. 15.
Visteon's new HD Jump loosely resembles an XM or Sirius plug-and-play receiver, but it receives HD Radio, including multicast HD radio stations, and displays song titles and artist names as they are played. It will ship in January at a $199 suggested retail with a car kit that must be professionally installed to the car radio's antenna. An optional home kit will also be available so that the HD Jump can be shuttled from car to home.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.