Carmakers Like the Sound of HD Radio

HD Radio is getting a big boost from car makers at CES, with Ford making it available in most models and other automakers offering the technology as standard equipment.

Hyundai's 2011 Sonata will be the first popular midsize sedan to standardize HD Radio, which lets radio stations offer additional content on a wider range of frequencies, in the same way that over-the-air digital television allows for more channels. Audi will do the same on its 2011 A4, A5, and Q5 models. Other partnerships were announced with Volkswagon, Lincoln, and Kia.

But the big news for HD Radio and developer iBiquity is additional support from Ford, such a large company that even without including HD Radio as standard gear, it could outweigh the standard offerings from luxury car makers.

Jason Carlock, who handles OEM business for iBiquity, said Ford will include HD Radio in all cars that have built-in navigation systems. They'll get some new features, too, such as built-in iTunes tagging and the ability to click a button to toggle between all the HD stations on a single band.

All told, there are 15 automakers offering HD Radio in 80 vehicles, and Carlock said 36 of those will be standard. Negotiations are underway, he said, to bring on more car makers next year.

For more up-to-the-minute blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PC World's complete coverage of CES 2010.

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