CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW: CNET editors cover the Next Big Thing
Ordinary radio strikes back
January 6, 2005; 10:55 a.m.
The product: iBiquity launched its digital radio technology at CES in 2004, and this year had a lot to show for a year of work--a claimed 2,500 stations broadcasting in digital and announcements from various manufacturers that they'll be supporting the standard. The big difference between iBiquity's digital radio and the popular services from XM and Sirius is that iBquity's digital signals are broadcast from the stations you already know and love, over the traditional AM and FM bands. And it's free, just like today's ordinary radio. Other strong selling points for this terrestrial digital radio:
The price: Receiving an iBiquity signal is free. But you'll need a new radio.
The prospects: The best thing going for this standard is the competing satellite offerings from XM and Sirius. Your local radio stations and the national broadcast conglomerates, such as Clear Channel, are highly motivated to bring high-quality digital radio to their existing customers. They'll be pushing this standard a lot in the next few years.
On the other hand, the financial model for the system isn't as clear as it is for the satellite systems, which charge consumers to receive the content.
Start looking for iBiquity receivers to be built into cars in the 2006 model year. Aftermarket radios are available today.
By Rafe Needleman, editor, CNET Reviews
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