iBuqity outs HD Radio tuner, app for iPhone
Gigaware and iBiquity Digital have unveiled a new app and peripheral combination for the iPod touch and iPhone that endows the devices with HD Radio tuning support. The wired Gigaware HD Radio receiver mates with both the user's headphones and a free iPhone app to provide the digital-only radio format. The add-on lets listeners pick up local, analog FM radio stations as well as HD Radio stations, including sub-channels.
HD Radio portable player
At the 2009 CES in the HD Radio display, there was a demonstration of the smallest application of an HD Radio chip in the form of the KRI Armband Portable HD Radio Receiver. What is basically a portable HD Radio device with MP3 playback capabilities shows the evolution of HD Radio as it can be packaged into ever smaller devices.
Bill Requires HD Radio
Democratic Congressman Edward Markey on Monday submitted a bill that would potentially require all satellite radios to also include a competing standard. The Radio All Digital Channel Receiver Act (PDF) would require that Sirius XM and any other satellite radio provider also providing AM/FM tuning also support at least some form of land-based digital radio, effectively mandating the use of iBiquity Digital's HD Radio format. The move would attempt to reinsert a clause ruled out of the FCC's Sirius XM merger approval which would have asked for a similar provision before the merger could be approved.
Sirius XM on FCC Slate
The Federal Communications Commission has quietly put the proposed merger between Sirius and XM on its Items on Circulation list. The move indicates that at least a draft proposal for the satellite radio union will be discussed by the FCC and that a final decision on the merger could be made shortly after FCC commissioners discuss the draft. The government agency recently hinted at increased progress earlier this week when it proposed approval of the deal as long as conditions are honored for a-la-carte pricing and channels dedicated to certain public interest groups.
FCC Acts Soon on Sirius XM
Federal Communications Commission chief Kevin Martin on Thursday told CNBC that his agency is nearing approval of the long-delayed Sirius and XM merger. While declining to give a timetable for any decision, Martin says the FCC hopes to make its choice "soon" and that the two satellite radio providers have agreed to make changes to their price structure to clear legal hurdles, including an option for subscribers to order individual channels rather than complete bundles and to specifically exclude channels with objectionable content.
iBiquity Fights Sirius-XM
The FCC should not allow the proposed Sirius/XM satellite radio merger to go ahead unless it includes special exceptions to give HD Radio a boost in the market, the latter standard's creator iBiquity Digital has argued in a newly discovered complaint. The electronics firm claims that a union of the two satellite providers would harm its ability to launch HD Radio, which relies on traditional ground-based broadcasts. A merger should include a clause that forces devices using the combined network to include an HD Radio receiver at the same time, iBiquity writes in its FCC letter.
Apple HD Radio Plans
Efforts by Apple will have a slew of iPod speaker docks with HD Radio debuting at next month's Macworld show, according to one report. The device maker is allegedly very supportive of the iTunes Tagging feature that launched along with the Polk iSonic ES2 in the fall and wants to see it widespread in the accessory market, with many AM/FM radio docks gaining both HD Radio support and the ability to embed tags in the digital stream. The reason behind the maneuver is not explicitly mentioned but is likely an effort to drive iTunes sales through the accessory business, encouraging listeners to tag songs heard on the radio for a future download once an iPod in a radio dock syncs back with its host computer.