Sony Throws Support Behind HD Radio

HD Radio received a boost Tuesday as Sony announced that it will be shipping both a table radio and mobile tuning device for the service.

The devices are part of a multi-year agreement to support the technology, and these first two products will ship in July of this year. Additional products will be announced at a later date, Sony said.

"Sony is one of the first leading consumer electronics companies to offer quality HD Radio-enabled devices," Sony Digital Imaging and Audio marketing chief Steve Haber said. "We're adding it to a long list of technologies that support digital music trends."

Sony had already supported satellite radio provider XM Satellite Radio in its line of Xplod car audio products, and in some of its Home Theater line. HD Radio is billed as a competitor to XM and Sirius, as it provides similar audio quality at no cost.

The first product, Sony's XDR-S3HD table radio, will include a backlit LCD display in an enclosure reminiscent of classic radios. In addition to HD Radio service, it will also be compatible with traditional AM/FM broadcasts.

Sony's XT-100HD mobile tuner will be compatible with most head units that include a bus interface, allowing the radios to display song and artist information where available. Additionally, it will enable users to connect additional multimedia devices such as the iPod.

Retail pricing for the XDR-S3HD will be about $200, while the XT-100HD will sell for $100, the company said in a statement.

Approximately 1,300 radio stations across the country already support HD Radio broadcasts, with another 2,500 stations planning rollouts. Within a few years, 90 percent of the population will be able to receive the signals, say supporters.

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