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In-car technology has exploded over the past few years, with navigation screens, hard drives, iPod connectivity, and satellite radio becoming more and more important to consumers. While Ford was slow to get on the multimedia super highway, the Blue Oval has picked up steam with the introduction of SYNC. Ford also launched HD Radio in fall 2007, and the Dearborn automaker plans to offer the digital music maker in every Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury by 2009

HD radio is gaining in popularity as it offers superior sound quality vs. traditional radio and exclusive content, without the need to pay a monthly subscription. Radio stations are fast-adopting HD Radio as well, with 1500 stations now broadcasting digitally. Over 700 of those stations are now offering H2 and H3 multi-casts, which means that your favorite station can offer multiple genres, or more simultaneous choices of the kinds of music you love. With satellite radio riddled with commercials and still costing $12.95 per month, lets hope that HD Radio can give us what we like, but without the cost. Hit the jump to view the Ford press release.

[Source: Ford]


LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7, 2008 – Ford Motor Company today became the first US automaker to announce the availability of factory-installed HD Radio™ technology as a standard or optional feature on Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles beginning in calendar year 2009.

The announcement follows Ford's launch of HD Radio technology in the fall of 2007 as a dealer-installed option. As with the company's ground-breaking SYNC system, the factory-installation of HD Radio technology expands Ford's commitment to deliver state-of-the-art entertainment and communications technologies.

"Our goal is to offer drivers the best new features and the most choice," said Jim Buczkowski, Ford's director of Electrical System Engineering. "The great local content, the crystal-clear sound quality and the variety of channels and data services offered by HD Radio is exactly what customers are beginning to expect in their vehicles. Moving forward, a radio will no longer be considered competitive if it doesn't include digital technology."

HD Radio technology dramatically increases the sound quality of radio broadcasts and enables more than one radio broadcast on a single channel. As a result, consumers hear a wide range of new HD2/HD3 multicast stations as well as their favorite radio stations in crystal clear digital sound. More than 1500 radio stations in the U.S. currently broadcast in digital HD Radio sound, with more than 700 stations also airing HD2/HD3 multicasts.

Beginning in 2009, HD Radio technology will join other factory-installed technologies – including SYNC and the company's next-generation of navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link – offered in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles to make driving more enjoyable and convenient than ever. Digital radio will be additional source of source of information and entertainment that drivers can choose, particularly for great local and community information not available through other sources.

HD Radio Broadcasting Continues to Grow in Popularity
HD Radio broadcasting is rapidly growing in popularity and is now available to over 80 percent of the population. More than 1,500 AM/FM stations are currently offering digital content, including more than 700 HD2/HD3 multicast stations offering unique formats and content. All a consumer needs is a new HD Radio receiver; the content is free.

There are over 50 distinct HD Radio receivers for sale at thousands of retail stores and online. The radios are priced from under $100 from major mass-market retailers across the U.S., so virtually anyone can experience the crystal-clear digital sound on AM and FM as well as the broadcast-exclusive new FM channels. For a full list of HD Radio stations, visit http://www.hdradio.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      So ford is trying to sell cars as Gadgets...since it seems to be the only thing moving them
      • 7 Years Ago
      Did they solve the interference problems yet?
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Sat stations are going to have to do something since they cannot continue in the non profit mode much longer. I fear increased fees or commericals are just around the corner. Originally XM did have commericals on their music channels, but because Sirius did not, they followed. How that will change once they are partnered remains to be seen.

      My only complaint - at least with XM - is, because XM originates from D.C., their music channels seem to have an East Coast bent. Too often I find myself listening to a Decades station and thinking I've never heard that song before. I'd also like to see a few stations that do the books on tape/CD thing.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I dunno about that, I've heard tons of west coast start up bands on XM all the time and some of the major ones as well. Change stations?
      • 7 Years Ago
      i love my sat radio , and all , but unless HD radio becomes Uncensored I will stick with Sirius radio ,
      • 7 Years Ago
      the only commercials I hear on XM are:
      1) on the Clear Channel stations. think that there's 3 or 4 stations that XM gets from CC, and in a bid to sink satellite radio (and prop up normal broadcast radio) CC started running commercials on them so that XM couldn't claim that they were "commercial free". that contract expires in '08, so expect any commercial stations to expire with it.
      2) tv stations that have run commercials anyway. since CNN/Fox News/etc run commercials, XM has to replace that dead air with something, so they run commercials.
      3) they've started to insert commercials into XM programming like O&A, comedy channels, etc. *that* I'm not happy about, since it's not like they're forced to run commercials, they just chose to.

      if you want commercial-free music, Sat's the only way to go. I actually get annoyed when I find out that I had left the radio on one of the CC channels and start to hear a commercial.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree with the earlier commentary’s that Satellite Radio with commercials are just around the corner if not already here. With both brands hemorrhaging money so badly and subscriber either dropping or not re-newing, Commercials would be the only way to pay the bills. As to Satellite being FCC free that to will change as well, just like it has with Cable. Cable is the blueprint for Satellite.
      • 7 Years Ago
      What do they mean riddled with commercials? I've got Sirius and never hear any commercials..??? I love it, just got it for my other car as well.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think I'll stick with my 24/7 XM radio and drop 12.95 a month for over 150 channels of any genre of music, sports, comedy and talk, thank you.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Enojy it while it lasts. Cable TV used to be commercial free too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      wow that picture describing HD looks like normal radio. Why pay for something that's already free?
      • 7 Years Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      In theory digital radio is good, but I do a bit of driving and I'm not a big country music fan. When I'm in the middle of nowhere, that is normally the only thing I can find, if anything. FM's range is limited and HD is even more limited. This is why I really like and appreciate my XM radios. I can listen to music, news, sports, and more when I want wherever I am. Satellite radio may not be necessary in a large metropolitan area, but it's especially nice when in more rural settings.
      • 7 Years Ago

      You can also get satellite radio for $9.99/month (not $12.95) if you get a multi-year plan.

      True, HD radio is free but if you think it is commercial-free you will be sadly mistaken. How do you think they pay the bills?

      That being said, I like HD radio. My only problem with it is that I am often stuck with local radio personalities and I just do not like my local radio personality options.
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