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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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