Maryland-based iBiquity, a developer of HD Radio™ technology, had excellent news to report this month. Not only have sales of its HD radio receiver doubled from last year, but Ford announced yesterday that it was adding both iTunes tagging and crystal-clear radio sound through iBiquity’s HD Radio technology as some of the latest features to be available in 2010 on Ford cars.
Over 730,000 HD Radio receivers were sold in 2009, with half a million of those sold through September and another quarter of a million sold in the last couple of months. The sales mean that 1.3 million HD radios have been sold since the technology became available. No details were immediately available on how many receivers would be installed by Ford in 2010.
Ford’s decision is driven by the company’s focus on providing advanced radio technology to consumers. The digital technology provided by iBiquity enables broadcasters to offer near-CD quality sound, without static, fadeout and other problems associated with analog signals. The receivers also display information on the music playing, such as song title and artist. By merging this technology with iTunes Tagging, Ford customers will be able to capture songs they hear on the HD Radio receiver by tagging them and storing them in the radio’s memory. Up to 100 tags can be stored at a time. A person can then sync the radio with their iPod, view the tagged songs and decide if they want to purchase them in iTunes.
In response to the deal, iBiquity COO, Jeff Jury said, “Ford continues to lead the market in bringing advanced capabilities to popular vehicles. We are very pleased that HD Radio technology is an integral part of Ford’s broad offering of new features.”
Nearly 2,000 radio stations in the U.S. currently broadcast in digital HD Radio sound, with more than 1,100 stations also airing HD2/HD3 channels. Approximately 85 percent of the U.S. population is served by a station broadcasting with HD Radio technology.