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Car HD Radio: The Next Wave

Dealers will find HD Radio products in the following car audio booths:

Alpine: The new outboard tuner, the iTunes-tagging TUA-T550HD, connects to many Alpine head units, but only two Alpine head units enable iTunes tagging to store metadata from up to 50 songs. The two heads include the no-CD “mechless” iDA-X100 and IVA-W505 A/V receiver.

The TUA-T550HD is expected to ship in February at a targeted suggested retail of $149, or $100 below Alpine’s 2007 HD-Radio module. The module is also multicast capable and may be controlled by most 2007 and 2008 Alpine head units.

Dual: Dual is offering iTunes tagging on the DIN RBX 8510 CD receiver, which features an “advanced robotics front panel” that moves from left to right as well as up and down. In addition to HD Radio, it features USB and iPod connectivity and is Bluetooth-ready at an estimated $199 retail.

Dual will add HD Radio iTunes tagging to other models in 2008 and will add general HD-Radio capability to much of its 2008 lineup, starting with the HD6420 CD receiver with multicasting and a front-panel auxiliary-input jack at $119 street price.

Both Dual and Alpine offer an HD-only seek mode that scans only through HD-Radio stations.

Dice: The company is extending the connectivity of its outboard HD Dice HD-Radio tuner/iPod adapter to late-model Volkswagens. The new module connects to any satellite-ready Volkswagen radio, which will control HD-Radio station selection and display HD-Radio metadata. It also controls an iPod and displays iPod metadata on the factory radio. The unit shipped in December at a suggested retail of $199.

The HD Dice adapter was previously available for Toyota, Honda and BMW models.

JVC: Two full-featured CD receivers with built-in HD Radio will be unveiled at prices not available at press time. JVC will also unveil its first add-on HD-Radio tuner, the KT-HD300 at a suggested $99.95. It connects to JVC radios at prices starting at $109. The $129-suggested KT-HDP1 HD plug-and-play tuner, which shuttles between home and car, remains in the line.

Jensen: The Audiovox-owned brand will introduce a no-CD “mechless” HD5000 with built-in HD Radio, front-panel SD card slot, Bluetooth, front-panel USB and iPod control at a suggested $149. This month, the brand began shipping an HD5212 CD-receiver with built in HD Radio at a street price of $139 and the derivative 5112 for Wal-Mart at an everyday $129.

Jensen will also add HD Radio to many of its CD receivers this year and will gradually offer it in all its 2008 in-dash DVD models, said the company.

Kenwood: The company plans a new outboard HD Radio tuner with analog-FM Radaio Daya Systems (RDS) capability to display metadata from analog FM stations. It’s multicast-capable and will be compatible with many Kenwood radios dating back five years. Pricing and ship dates were unavailable.

Panasonic: The company’s first outboard HD-Radio tuner will work with many of its head units. The multicast-capable tuner ships in the spring at a price to be announced. The company previously offered HD Radio built into a single CD receiver.

Pioneer: The company will enter the car HD-Radio market with an outboard tumner that connects to six new Premier-series and seven Pioneer-series CD and DVD players at street prices starting at $130. Tuner pricing was unavailable.

Peripheral: The OEM-integration supplier recently began shipping its $99-suggested multicast-capable HD-Radio tuner/adapter. The $149 HDR2Car is offered as an add-on module to Peripheral’s Gateway car system, which adds “front-seat” OEM integration for an iPod, dedicated aux-in, and choice of satellite radio tuners.

Sony: Sony’s head units for 2008 are HD-Radio-ready starting at a suggested $99, down from a suggested $119 in 2007. They connect to the existing $99 XT100HD outboard tuner/adapter.