NEWS

Ford Expands HD Radio to All 2009 Models

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Ford announced it will include HD radio either standard or as an option in all of its models beginning with the 2009 model year. It did not elaborate on which models would have the technology standard and which would leave the upgrade as only an option, but all Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicles will be affected.

Ford included HD radio as a dealer-installed option on some models back in the fall of 2007, but the switch to factory installation, plus the addition of Ford’s new Sync system, shows how eager the automaker is to get a leg up any way it can.

HD radio — for those of you wondering what makes it different from the typical AM/FM stations on your dial — provides improved sound quality as well as multicasts. This basically means that more than one broadcast can share a channel, creating more options for listeners. Plus it won’t cost $13 a month like satellite radio does.

As more radio stations across the country move to digital broadcasting, expect HD radio to become more prevalent. There are already 1,500 stations offering their content digitally, with 700 stations broadcasting HD2/HD3 multicast stations. Ford is the first American automaker to offer the feature on all models, but expect most automakers to come around quickly.

In an interesting side note, “HD” doesn’t stand for “high definition,” as many people might suspect. It used to stand for “hybrid digital” back when the digital signals were carried on an analog wave. This isn’t the case anymore, so now the “HD” stands for, well, nothing.

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