iBiquity Digital Corporation's Jeff Jury feels the partnership between Audi and his firm--which is responsible for developing digital HD Radio technology for AM and FM audio and data broadcasting--is an astute one. Continuing to pitch HD Radio's ultra-clear reception and ability to transmit digital/text information (making possible the transmission of song titles, traffic/weather updates, emergency alerts, news, and valet-type services), Jury feels that Audi's significant buy-in with HD Radio will promote the technology as one in vogue with the luxury auto market.
Currently, iBiquity's HD Radio offers more than 1,800 AM and FM radio stations and more than 900 new multicast channels (HD2/HD3) on the FM dial. All channels are subscription-free, unlike satellite radio, though users might find the slightly higher price of the more complex receiver reflected in the bottom line of vehicles so equipped.
According to Wikipedia, Ford was first to market with an HD Radio tuner in 2008, and offers HD Radio tuners as factory-installed options in its SYNC-equipped models. Three other German auto manufacturers also offer factory-installed HD Radio; BMW on nearly its entire lineup, BMW's MINI on the 2009 Cooper and 2009 Cooper S, and Mercedes-Benz on the 2009 R320, 2009 ML320, and 2009 GL320. Scion offers the radio technology with some of its radio options, and Volvo offers it, factory-installed, on eight models from the S40 T5 to the XC90.--Colin Mathews