HD Radio Poised for Turnaround

New features, falling prices could lead consumers to tune in to digital revolution
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2008 3:57 PM CST
The JVC KT-HDP1, the industry's first plug-and-play HD Radio receiver, is currently shipping to Best Buy stores across the country. (PRNewsFoto/iBiquity Digital Corp.)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The broadcast industry hopes 2008 is the year listeners finally tune into HD Radio—and conditions are right for a turnaround, the Wall Street Journal reports. Ford and other automakers are on board, and receiver prices have dropped. It's the nifty new features, though—you can, for example, "tag" a song for future download from iTunes—that may finally sway consumers.

Radio has spent millions on HD Radio, hoping it will raise long-stagnant revenues and bring back rapidly departing listeners. The “HD” stands for nothing; it’s just a marketing moniker playing off the success of HDTV. Like satellite, it delivers lots of static-free content, and, unlike satellite service, it’s free. But programming hasn’t been compelling enough to entice listeners to buy new receivers.