Sony announces HD radios

  • San Diego (CA) – Sony has announced its first two hybrid digital radios – one for the family room and one for the car.

    Sony is expanding the rather limited choices on today’s HD radio market. The company today announced a table-top radio as well as an in-car audio adapter, which is promised to be compatible with “most Sony car stereos.”

    The XDR-S3HD comes in a form factor comparable to mini stereo systems and provides AM/FM/HD support with separate bass and treble controls. The device allows users to store radio 20 AM and 20 FM stations, comes with alarm clock functionality, a remote control as well as an auxiliary input jack. The XDR-S3HD is scheduled to ship in July and sell for about $200.

    The model XT-100HD is a hideaway HD radio module that connects through the head unit's bus interface to “most” Sony car stereos. Besides being able to receive HD radio, Sony says that the device “feeds rich information, including artist names and song titles, to the car stereo's display.” It also can display radio station names and genres, if the information is provided by the radio station. The XT-100HD will ship for about $100 in July, Sony said.

    The company promises that both HD radios will be providing a “crystal clear radio” experience. Compared to the Sirius or XM satellite radio services, which require a monthly subscription fee, HD radio is available for free. However, while satellite radio offers commercial-free music channels and a potentially greater variety of content in any given area, there are commercials on HD radio stations – just like on any other traditional radio station.

    Sony said that there are 1300 stations currently broadcasting with the HD Radio system. An additional 2500 stations indicated that they will move to HD and more than 600 new channels are believed to go online within a foreseeable time. According to the company, approximately 90% of Americans will have access to HD Radio broadcasts within the next two years.