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iBiquity Outlines HD Radio Expansion In Home, Car, Portable

1/07/2013 07:00:00 PM Eastern

LAS VEGAS – HD Radio and key HD Radio features are coming to more aftermarket and OEM car radios in 2013, HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital will announce during International CES this week.

The technology will also appear in more portable navigation devices (PNDs) and in new home and portable audio products, iBiquity said.

In the car audio aftermarket, suppliers will offer 46 head units with integrated HD Radio, up from 2012’s 44, based on CES product announcements. Additional models could be announced later in the year. In 2011, the number of aftermarket HD Radio head units was 27, the company said.

The aftermarket lineup includes models from Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer, JVC, Sony and Clarion, iBiquity said.

In 2013, the number of aftermarket head units with HD Radio’s Artist Experience feature will go to 21 models from eight, and the number with iTunes tagging will go to 39 from 37. The number of in-dash audio head units with HD Digital Traffic will remain the same at two, but the number of in-dash navigation units with HD Digital Traffic will rise to more than five from two in 2012, iBiquity said.

Artist Experience captures images transmitted by select stations, including album art, artistrelated images, promotional images and station logos.

iTunes tagging makes it easier for consumers to download songs to their PC after hearing the songs on their car radio. Consumers “tag” a song broadcast by an HD Radio station, and the radio stores song metadata (song title, artist name) transmitted by the station. When an iPod is docked with the radio, the data is transferred to the iPod. Then, when the iPod is synced with a PC, the PC’s iTunes software automatically displays tagged songs’ metadata in a “tagged” playlist for previewing, buying and downloading.

HD Digital Traffic lets head units receive traffic data from HD Radio stations 10 times faster than traffic data delivered by analog FM stations, or as many as 500 incident reports per minute compared with 50, iBiquity said. The faster digital pipe also makes it possible to expand traffic reports exclusively from highways to side roads and to deliver sports, news and weather data.

By the end of calendar 2102, automakers had announced that 114 vehicle models bearing 22 automotive brands would feature HD Radio as optional or standard equipment, up from only seven vehicle models in 2007. Not all of these vehicles were scheduled to be available in 2012 to consumers.

For calendar 2013, 29 automakers have publicly announced plans to make HD Radio Technology available in more than 150 models, with more than 70 vehicle models featuring HD Radio as standard equipment.

The number of vehicles available with Artist Experience and iTunes tagging is also going up, iBiquity said.

Artist Experience was available in 12 car models in calendar 2012, rising to 27 models in 2013, and the number of vehicle models available with iTunes tagging will go to 87 in calendar 2013 from 60 in 2012.

The number of car models available with HD Digital Traffic will hit 15 in 2013, according to the company.

In calendar 2012, the vehicles available with Artist Experience included GM’s Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia; BMW’s 7 series; and VW’s Tiguan, Passat, Beetle, Jetta, Golf, CC, EOS and GTI.

In 2013, vehicle models offering Artist Experience for the first time will include the Audi A3 and TT and the BMW 3 and 6 series. Asian automakers will add the feature for the first time to 11 vehicles.

Vehicles available with factory iTunes tagging in 2012 consisted of 12 Ford/Lincoln vehicles, eight VWs, six GM models and 34 Asian models. In 2013, that selection will grow to 14 Ford/Lincoln vehicles, eight VWs, 19 GM models and 46 Asian vehicles.

In the portable navigation device (PND) market, Garmin will extend the range of HD Radio-enabled products and launch a number of new models, iBiquity said.

In home and portable audio at least 16 new products will be launched in 2013, and iBiquity said it expects more to be announced throughout the year.

As a result, the SKU count will hold steady early in the calendar year but will likely increase through the spring and fall selling seasons, said senior VP Joe D’Angelo.

At least 13 A/V receivers with embedded HD radio will be available from Denon, Marantz, Onkyo and Yamaha.

Voxx will carry over its iHD-P01A table radio but offer it in three new colors. A new iHD-T01 table radio is targeted to retail at $59.

Under the Insignia house brand, Best Buy will refresh its NSHD-01 batterypowered portable, refresh its Narrator tabletop radio, and carry over its NSHDRAD tabletop radio with AC/DC power, iBiquity said.