Tune into HD Radio
February 8, 2006
The broadcasting industry has been abuzz about HD Radio for the past couple of years. It's an all-digital radio-broadcasting standard that--unlike the paid-subscription model of XM and Sirius satellite radio--is available for free. Plenty of HD Radio stations are now on the air (more than 600 at last count), but many are simply digital simulcasts of the existing AM or FM stations you already receive--great for improved, static-free reception but not much else. Thankfully, the HD Radio landscape stands to become much more diverse in 2006. By taking advantage of the systems' multicast capability--broadcasting multiple substations on a single frequency--the industry (prodded by iBiquity Digital, the company behind the format) is planning to offer more locally produced programs across a wider array of musical genres. And much of this programming will have fewer--or no--commercials, at least in the short term. We've rounded up the first generation of HD Radio-compatible devices you'll need to hear the broadcasts--see how they compare.