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Best Buy Goes Nationwide With HD Radio

Best Buy got behind HD Radio more aggressively with the recent launch of two HD-Radio car audio products in all of its 832 U.S. stores.

The HD Digital Radio Alliance called Best Buy the first national chain to offer HD Radio in all of its brick-and-mortar U.S. stores. Best Buy plans to offer home HD Radio sometime later this year along with more car HD-Radio products.

The chain previously offered one of the two car products online. That product is JVC’s KD-HDR1 CD receiver with embedded HD-Radio tuner at $199. The second car product that Best Buy is launching in all stores is Visteon’s Zoom, which adds HD-Radio reception to any OEM or after-market car audio system through a wired FM modulator or auxiliary input. Its on-dash controller displays HD-Radio metadata as well as analog FM RDS data. It began shipping in early April at a suggested $199.

Other national chains don’t offer HD Radio in all their stores, the Alliance said. RadioShack, for example, offers home HD Radio in 56 HD Radio broadcast markets. Wal-Mart offers JVC’s car HD Radio in 1,989 stores in 85 markets, and Circuit City offers the Boston Acoustics tabletop radio and the JVC head unit in stores in 56 markets.

As part of its rollout, Best Buy is launching a consumer education effort that includes advertising in weekly newspaper inserts and an in-store point-of-sale program, which includes in-store branding and product displays. Interactive HD-Radio listening stations in the stores will let customers experience the technology.

Best Buy’s in-store program and newspaper ads are backed up by the Alliance’s own $250 million ad campaign, which places spots on all Alliance-member radio stations.