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HD Radio Expands Home Audio Lineup

Five more HD Radio-equipped home audio products will join the industry’s first home HD Radio device in stores in time for holiday season sales, HD Radio’s inventor iBiquity said at the CEDIA Expo, here.

The first home device, an A/V receiver, is already available, and supplier Yamaha is demonstrating the receiver here, where Audio Design Associates, Boston Acoustics and Rotel are demonstrating their devices. The three companies’ products are due in the fourth quarter along with home products from Day-Sequerra and Radiosophy, which didn’t exhibit, iBiquity said.

A Polk product, the I-Sonic entertainment system, at an expected everyday $599, was originally intended for September sales but has been postponed to the first quarter, iBiquity noted. I-Sonic is a single-chassis system with built-in speakers, DVD player, HD and Radio, and is XM-ready. Deliveries of Boston Acoustics’s table radio, postponed several times, will ship before Thanksgiving, the company said.

Onkyo said it plans spring availability of its first home HD Radio product but didn’t elaborate.

All home products offer FM multicasting, which enables digital FM stations to broadcast at least two separate audio programs, iBiquity said.

In the car audio market, five companies are shipping either an outboard HD Radio tuner or a CD-receiver with integrated HD Radio. They will be joined in November by Alpine, iBiquity said. Current autosound shippers are JVC, Eclipse, Kenwood, Panasonic and Sanyo. Kenwood and Eclipse offer outboard tuners that can be controlled from many of their head units. Only Kenwood offers a car product that offers FM multicast reception.

Owners of the home and car products can currently tune into more than 500 digital AM and FM stations, and iBiquity expects to exceed its year-end target of 600, said marketing VP Dave Salemi. That number will double in 2006, he said, as part of plans announced last year and early this year by 22 radio station groups and public broadcasting stations to add HD Radio to a combined 2,500 stations over three to four years.

About two dozen stations are currently multicasting, but that will rise to about 50 by year’s end and to a around 200 next year, Salemi projected.

Of the home devices announced to date, only Yamaha’s product is an A/V receiver, the $1,899-suggested RX-V4600 with integrated HD Radio. The Boston Acoustics product is a stereo table radio at a suggested $499. Rotel is showing a component tuner. ADA is showing an HD Radio card that can be inserted into its distributed-audio HTR-2400 receiver and Tune Suite distributed-audio system, at a price around $600. Day Sequerra plans a tuner chassis that accepts multiple HD Radio modules and TV-receiver modules. And Radiosophy plans a transporting tuner that plugs into a tabletop amplified speaker system and into home and car audio systems.