HD Radio gets new slate of support from BMW, Ford, others

At the New York International Auto Show, the company behind HD Radio technology announced that seven automakers have renewed their commitment to providing HD Radio as a standard feature.

Most of Ford’s 2011 models, including the Mustang, Super Duty, Taurus, Escape, and Fusion will all have HD Radio. Lincoln’s MKX will be the company’s first car to come with the enhanced radio service as a factory-installed option.

Other manufacturers that have announced strong support for HD Radio are BMW, Hyundai, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, Mercury, Mini USA, Rolls-Royce, and Volkswagen.

HD Radio works with existing FM and AM broadcast signals and boosts their strength over specially designated “HD” channels. Additionally, since it runs on a digital frequency instead of analog, enhanced features such as traffic tracking and song memory can be built-in with little additional hardware required.

HD Radio first made waves at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2006, but consumer awareness has been limited. The company that developed the technology, iBiquity Digital, continues to work to pump more features into the service. It doesn’t consider itself a competitor of Sirius XM satellite radio, but rather a simple means of improving existing radio transmissions, which still account for the vast majority of all radio programming.

“HD Radio Technology is now a core element of the entertainment package offered by leading automakers. Our technology provides a digital pipeline to the consumer, with crystal-clear audio, more content choices and new services such as iTunes Tagging, Real Time Traffic, Journaline and other information,” said iBiquity Digital president Bob Struble.