• Dec 23rd 2006 at 4:14PM
  • 8
OK, we admit that this might be more appropriate on Engadget than Autoblog, but it is about BMW audio, so here goes. HD Radio technology is said to be one of the most significant advances in radio broadcasting history. Their words, not ours, but it's probably true. Just like HDTV, which gives viewers an unprecedented amount of visual sharpness and clarity, HD Radio gives listeners crystal clear, noise-free reception.

HD Radio can also multicast and display text information like station name, or track and artist info. Multicasting allows FM stations to broadcast multiple channels of programming on one frequency. Imagine your favorite station pumping alt-rock, hip-hop and country through one dial setting and you can see how cool this technology can be. And unlike satellite subscription services like XM or Sirius, HD Radio is free to anybody with an HD receiver. Not a huge group right now, but with 1,000 HD stations out there broadcasting HD programming, we expect it to be a hot sector in the near future.

BMW was the first to offer an OEM HD Radio on its 2006 7-series models. They added it to the 6-series in '06, and then announced that HD Radio would appear on the 5-series models in '07. Well, that group will soon include BMW 3-series owners as well. Starting with the Hardtop Convertible, HD will start showing up in 3s in 2007 as well, for around $500. For a list of HD stations, check out www.hdradio.com.

[Source: MWerks]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm not all that surprized that something has come along as an (indirect?) challenger to satellite radio. My question is...will HD radio mean that now all the annoying commercials on FM and AM will also be present in HD?

      I'm old enough to remember when FM was nearly commercial-free, now listen to it? Satellite radio, isn't it supposed to be commercial-free?
      • 8 Years Ago
      my wife's 2002 Pontiac Sunfire tells me what song is playing, and the radio station. What is the big deal again?
      • 8 Years Ago
      That car looks 2 ft too long.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yes. SOhp101 is correct. HDRadio really doesn't mean High Definition. It is just a naming gimmick that seems to be working, as most people assume it means high definition.

      I am sticking with my Sirius thank you very much.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's also offered as an option in their M5/M6 models as well. From my understanding, if you do choose the HD radio option (for BMWs) you lose the real-time traffic nav function. Personally I'd rather stick to an MP3 player integration and keep the real time traffic.

      "When most people first hear of HD Radio, they often assume it's like HDTV, but for radio. HD Radio is a very different technology, however. Unlike the "HD" in HDTV, the "HD" in HD Radio is not an abbreviation for "High Definition." Although some have said that it actually means "Hybrid Digital," according to iBiquity, "HD" is a trademarked brand name and doesn't actually stand for anything [Source: Crutchfield Advisor]."
      • 8 Years Ago
      My '99 BMW 3-series already shows the song information. We need more than that. That option really needs to be $200, not $500.
      • 8 Years Ago
      My 2006 3-Series already tells me the station name and the song playing, what else does it do for me?
      • 8 Years Ago
      The HD Radio option on the all-new 2007 BMW 3 Series Convertible will have a Suggested Retail Price of $500.