By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
HD Radio is turning up in new home, car and portable audio products here at International CES, where retailers will find more MP3/portable media players with embedded HD Radio and more headphone-type portable radios.
All told, about 24 new products will be shown, although the total number of SKUs on the market will remain about steady at more than 100 as older products are phased out, said Steve Baldacci, marketing senior VP at iBiquity, the developer of HD Radio technology.
In home audio, dealers will find the lowest-priced A/V receiver with embedded HD Radio at the Sherwood exhibit at a suggested $219. Dealers will also find the first component-style HD Radio tuner from RadioShack at iBiquity's booth. Later this year, iBiquity expects A/V receivers with embedded HD Radio to hit a suggested $599 and $649 from major suppliers. The lowest-priced A/V receiver with embedded HD Radio has been a $999 Yamaha model, although Onkyo offers A/V receivers, priced down to a suggested $399, that control small, optional $159 HD Radio add-ons.
In portable audio, six new headphone-type portable HD Radios — including two new add-ons to iPhones and iPod Touches — will be unveiled. (See story below for details of the home and portable products.)
New aftermarket car audio and navigation devices with HD Radio are also turning up. (See p. 90.)
Also during CES, iBiquity will demonstrate FM broadcasting of album art. The technology, which requires new album-art-compatible HD Radio tuners, was being tested by select radio stations late in 2009 and will be rolled out by at least one radio station group in 2010, iBiquity said. Many home and portable products will offer the feature in 2010. Aftermarket car audio might follow in late 2010, iBiquity added.
Ibiquity will also display a standardized way for product packaging and POS materials to explain HD Radio features to consumers. Under the required style guide, packaging will state the following with a uniform graphic look: “This HD Radio receiver enables HD2/HD3, iTunes Tag, Info, Traffic,” and so on.
The company also said it plans to launch the first HD Radio receivers with two new advanced services — live pause and album art — on portable and other devices during calendar year 2010. They weren't expected to be on display, however. Live pause would let users pause a broadcast for up to perhaps as much as 15 minutes, but the actual pause time wasn't final at press time.
In new products, six new headphone-type portable HD Radios — including add-on tuners for iPhones and iPod Touches — will be displayed at CES from four companies. Headphone-type portables expected to be on display include:
the industry's second and third HD Radio add-on to an iPhone and iPod Touch. They're from RadioShack and an accessories supplier that didn't want to be named.
two radio-only headphone portables that will be the first portable models to incorporate AM tuners. Both are from Sangean. One will incorporate analog AM and the other will incorporate HD AM.
and at least two more MP3 players or PMPs with embedded FM HD Radio, joining the Zune HD PMP. They're from Cydle.
Current portables besides the ZuneHD PMP include RadioShack's recently introduced $79 Gigaware-brand device, which connects to iPhones and iPod Touches to add HD FM with iTunes Tagging. Another available portable is Best Buy's $49 Insignia-brand headphone-type portable radio, which lacks PMP capabilities.
In home audio, RadioShack's first component HD Radio tuner, due in stores around CES time, will appear in the iBiquity booth.
In portable navigation devices (PNDs), Cydle and Nextar will show what could be the first models available with HD Radio-based traffic-data reception (see p. 76).
As of early December, more than 2,000 stations are broadcasting their primary station in digital, and those stations are broadcasting more than 1,000 new HD2/HD3 channels, iBiquity said.
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.