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iPod-Docking HD Radio Gets 'Push To Buy'

9/17/2007 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Polk's new iPod-docking HD Radio will make it easier for consumers to buy songs they hear on the tabletop device from Apple's iTunes download store.

Polk's tabletop I-Sonic Entertainment System 2, unveiled at the CEDIA Expo, will be one of the first iPod-docking tabletop HD Radios with Apple's iTunes tagging feature, which lets consumers tag songs broadcast by a digital FM station. At the touch of a button, the I-Sonic stores metadata broadcast by the station. The metadata is then transferred to an iPod when an iPod is docked. When the iPod is later synced with a PC, the PC's iTunes software automatically displays the tagged song's metadata in a "tagged" playlist for previewing, buying and downloading.

Up to 50 songs can be tagged by pressing a tag button on the I-Sonic's front panel or on the I-Sonic's remote.

For iTunes tagging to work, however, HD-Radio stations must implement tagging technology. Several major broadcasters will implement iTunes tagging, initially across hundreds of stations, said HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital. The company said it expects more stations and broadcast groups "to join soon." Participating broadcast groups will make a formal announcement of their tagging plans at the NAB Radio Show convention, which runs Sept. 26-28.

The new $499-suggested I-Sonic 2 will be available in October soon after the NAB convention, and more like it are on the way, said iBiquity. A second model will be JBL Multimedia's iHD tabletop radio/dock, also due in time for the holiday season, iBiquity said. "It is anticipated that several additional products that include the Tag button for both the home and the car will follow in early 2008," iBiquity added.

To promote iTunes tagging to consumers, the HD Digital Radio Alliance will launch a multimillion promotional campaign with a focus on the Polk and JBL products and their retailers.

iBiquity CEO Bob Struble called radio the "predominant source of music discovery" and that iTunes tagging provides a "new way to capture the songs listeners discover, buy them on iTunes and then enjoy them."