Though HD Radios have been around since 2002 there are only a few people who know what they are. HD Radio does not, in fact, stand for “high definition” or even “hybrid digital.” HD Radio is a brand name from iBiquity. HD car radios can pick up the digital signal that is broadcast alongside the analog signal. It’s the only type of car audio HD Radio receiver approved by the FCC.
Digital is superior to analog in both clarity and information. With an HD car stereo you’re able to see artist, title and album information while you are listening. If you like the songs just press “TAG” and that information is stored on the radio until an iPod is connected. All that information is just at your fingertips. HD digital receivers can also pick up multiple stations on a single frequency. With HD Radios there are more stations to choose from that used to be only available on the internet.
While many car audio systems have a lot of the features in common, our top picks, Kenwood, Pioneer and Sony, stand out as the best of the best. If you want to know more about HD Radios before choosing one from our car audio lineup, read through the articles about HD car radios. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™
For many people talking to an installer is like speaking in another language. They may rattle off the number of RCA lineouts, voltage, ohms, amp defeat switch and subwoofer options. While many of these words are familiar they may not mean anything to you. For our research we looked at the functionality of the HD Radio products and not necessarily the customization options.
The number of presets, tagging ability and HD Radio options are important factors. Some of the radios have storage for over a hundred tags while others don’t have the capability. Other car audio systems can pick up more multicasting stations.
There are several pieces of software used to rip or burn CDs. The radios that have more playback options for file types scored higher than the others.
The majority of the devices have USB port options with iPod capabilities. Some of them have Bluetooth expansion options while one even reads music from SD cards. The more ways to connect to your music, the higher the score.
Ease of Use
There is no reason to purchase a radio if it’s going to be a hassle. If the stereo has difficult navigation when at the store imagine when you’re driving. Though some navigation problems are opinions, we looked at the layout and tried to point out potential difficult areas. This includes setting the clock and assigning presets.
Help & Support
As with any electronic device people often look at warranties. We looked at the warranty period as well as the support offered online. Another aspect is the manuals provided online. For many people, finding the information in a document is much easier than calling a technician or waiting for a reply by email.
There’s a product for anyone interested in HD car audio that’s ready as soon as it’s installed. No extra module needed.