Today, Sony announced two new HD radio products: one for the home and one for the car. Now, if you gave up on terrestrial radio ages ago--either for the iPod, Internet radio, and/or satellite radio--you're probably not all that concerned about new developments in that area. But for those who still enjoy AM/FM radio programming, HD Radio offers some compelling developments. Namely, it allows for a wider selection of channels via substations, and it provides better quality audio than standard AM/FM radio--"crystal-clear digital sound" by some accounts. We ain't talking CD-quality here, but even MP3-quality is better than traditional broadcast. For more information about HD Radio in general, visit HDRadio.com. On with the products.
First up is a tabletop radio, the XDR-S3HD, which offers a cherry wood finish, an onboard alarm clock, and a blue backlit LCD. The unit has dual speakers integrated and also features a simulated stereo surround function to help widen the sound. There are also separate bass and treble controls for fine-tuning sound to your liking, and the AM and FM bands offer 20 presets apiece. Additionally, Sony has included an auxiliary line input, which allows you to hook up an external audio device such as an MP3 player. This is a nice touch, adding to the functionality of the unit. The XDR-S3HD will cost about $200 and will ship with a wireless remote. Start looking for it in July.
Next, we have a digital tuner box for the car, the XT-100HD. This simple black box is a hideaway module that can connect to any Sony head unit that has come out in 2007. It's also compatible with select models dating as far back as 2005. The XT-100HD is capable of feeding HD Radio info, such as artist and song names, to the stereo's display. It may also port radio station names and genres (a la RDS) where available. This tuner will also be available in July and will sell for about $100.