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Cambridge Launches Its First HD Radios

9/13/2006 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Denver – Cambridge SoundWorks entered the HD Radio market with two products, a table radio and a rack-mount component tuner that the company will use to target independent installers for the first time.

The company, known mainly for its speakers and table radios, plans in November to launch a $299 SoundWorks Radio 820HD stereo table radio and the $299 component SoundWorks Tuner 850HD. Both will be available direct to consumers from the company through its web site, telemarketing operation, and its retail/custom-installation stores. The products will also be available to select third-party retailers. Cambridge already has partnerships with such consumer electronics retailers as Fry’s Electronics, J&R Music and Computer World, and Amazon.com.

In addition, Cambridge is making the component tuner available through distributors to the custom-install channel, although it won’t mark Cambridge’s entry into the custom channel. “Traditionally, we've had a number of select resellers in the marketplace - some of them pure specialty retailers and some custom focused,” a spokeswoman said.

The table radio will offer “the highest of fidelity and clearest of reception with a beautiful design,” claimed GM Robert Mainero. To ensure the best possible reception of HD Radio broadcasts, the radio will feature a “unique-in-class” telescoping FM antenna, and a “generously large” internal ferrite AM antenna.

The table radio will support FM station simulcasting and display up-to-the-minute text information, such as artist and song IDs, traffic alerts, sports scores and more. An auxiliary input is available for connection to audio sources such as MP3 players and portable CD players.

Like the table radio, the rack-mount component tuner also supports multicasting and datacasting. For installers, it adds three audio outputs, two digital and one analog, for installation flexibility, as well as a vocabulary of commands to support custom-installed remote in-wall control panels. It also comes with IR remote, “F” connector input for FM antennas, and external AM antenna with a long signal lead.

“The custom installer community is a perfect fit for HD Radio technology,” said Mainero. “The customer base is willing to invest in high quality media, and can appreciate the difference between average and excellent audio and video.”

Currently, 3,000 U.S. radio stations have committed to offering HD Radio, and more than 900 stations are broadcasting primary signals in HD Digital, reaching 75 percent of the U.S. population. That number is expected to expand to 1,200 stations and 90 percent of the population by the end of this year. By the end of this year, the number of stations broadcasting two or more multicast channels simultaneously is expected to grow to 450 covering the top 68 radio markets, the company said.

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