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iBiquity: HD Radio Expanding In Car, Home

1/10/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — The selection of HD Radio products
is rising at International CES, with aftermarket autosound
companies leading the way, HD Radio developer
iBiquity Digital said.

Almost 50 aftermarket in-dash CD receivers, multimedia
A/V systems and A/V-navigation systems will
be available in 2012, up from 2011’s 27, the company
said. Those numbers include derivative SKUs and a
couple of carryovers, iBiquity said. New models will
appear across a range of price points from less than
$100 to $1,000 on an everyday basis.

“This is a huge increase in product range, and we
will be very much in core volume price points,” said
senior marketing VP Stephen Baldacci. “These models
will be one-DINs and two-DINs, all full of advanced
service features such as Artist Experience, iTunes tagging,
Channel Guide, Bookmark, QR codes, Bookmark,
Digital Traffic, Journaline and more,” he said.

In other CE product categories, HD Radio is appearing
for the first time in a cellular phone, whose brand
was unavailable at press time, and Garmin is unveiling
three new Prestige series portable navigation devices
(PNDs) with HD Radio traffic reception via optional
or included HD Radio receiver, joining three Prestige
models unveiled in late 2011 with the feature.

During CES attendees will find a number of firsts for
the format:

• the first HD Radio receiver to display Channel
Guides of radio stations in the local market:

• the first radios to receive QR Codes broadcast by
radio stations;

• as many as 10 new iPod-docking home-speaker
systems and portable HD Radio players for use with
headphones; some of the docking speakers will appear
under such brands as Audiovox, Acoustic Research
and Insignia; and

• the first globally enabled HD Radio table radio, allowing
for tuning into local broadcasts not just in North
and South America but also in other countries.

The global-tuning radio can be used in multiple
countries because it can be adjusted for the different
AM and FM channel spacing used outside North and
South America in some European countries and in
such countries as Thailand and the Philippines, Baldacci
said. The radio will also work with multiple countries’
AC outlets.

In car audio at CES, Kenwood is expanding embedded
HD Radio to eight CD receivers from two
CD receivers and to four multimedia/navigation units
from one, all with iTunes tagging. For its part, JVC is
expanding its selection of heads with embedded HD
Radio to nine units from six, including two navigation
systems, at prices starting at an everyday $119, down
from the 2011 line’s opening price of $129. Eight of
these models feature iTunes tagging.

Alpine, Clarion and Sony will also have new head
units with embedded HD Radio.

In new HD Radio features, JVC is adding two new
features to two HD-Radio-equipped nav systems, the
$999-everyday KWNT500HD and $1,299 KWNT800HD.

One of the new features is a channel guide that captures
metadata broadcast by HD Radio stations and
RDS FM stations broadcast, enabling the units to display
the titles of programs and songs playing on multiple
stations at one time. The feature lets users search
for stations by the songs they are playing or the programs
they are airing.

The second feature is a bookmark function that improves
upon iTunes Tagging. When a user bookmarks a song playing on an analog or digital station, the head
unit generates the song’s QR code. Passengers can
then use a smartphone’s camera to snap a picture of
the QR and immediately go the iTunes store to download
the song.

With iTunes tagging, in contrast, users must connect
an iPhone or iPod to a head unit to transfer a tagged
song’s unique ID codes, then connect the iPhone or
iPod to a PC to download the tagged songs.

The two JVC nav units, like two nav models in the
2011 line, display Artist Experience images transmitted
by select stations. Artist Experience images could
include album art, artist-related images, promotional
images, and station logos. To deliver the data features,
the two nav units incorporate a second HD Radio tuner
dedicated to data services, including sports, news
and traffic service.

Sony is showing its first A/V multimedia head unit
with embedded HD Radio, the XAV-701HD at a $699
suggested retail.

Clarion will add the double-DIN NX 702 A/V-navigation
unit at a suggested retail of around $1,200. It will
be its first A/V-navigation unit with built-in HD Radio,
having previously offered HD Radio as an add-on option
to nav units.

Alpine will unveil a A/V-navigation system with
8-inch screen and built-in HD Radio with a new Alpine
feature called Smart Reception Management. That
feature lets users set preferences for tuning analog
and digital radio signals.

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