HD Radio

It was 15 years ago that iBiquity Corp. launched HD Radio in the U.S. after the National Radio Systems Committee gave the FCC its proposal for making in-band on-channel (IBOC) the standard for digital radio in the U.S. “HD Radio smashes the old limits of radio and expands the creative options we have with our listeners,” veteran broadcaster John Gehron said at the time. The BMW Group was the first automaker to include HD Radio in its vehicles, rolling out as part of the BMW 2006 6 Series and 7 Series models. Today, iBiquity successor Xperi notes that HD Radio comes standard in all BMW models in the U.S. and is available in more than 75 million automobiles worldwide.

“There is no question that, 15 years ago, as the first car partner for the HD Radio system, BMW Group helped revolutionize dashboard entertainment, leading the charge in bringing digital radio into vehicles and offering advanced radio services to car owners,” Xperi Senior VP/GM Connected Car Jeff Jury said in a release commemorating the milestone. “We are grateful for the innovative thinking of BMW Group that continues to bring forward-looking technologies into vehicles, helping to shape the future of the in-cabin experience.”

WUSN Chicago (99.5) is recognized as the first commercial radio station to implement HD Radio multicast technology, implementing a “Future Country” HD2 channel in 2005. WUSN followed public broadcasters, including Northwest Public Radio news/talk KUOW Seattle (94.9) as early adopters of the technology.

In 2005, dozens of radio people contributed to the “HD Radio Playbook, a soup-to-nuts guide for managers, marketers, programmers and engineers.

Today, HD Radio is available in more than 75 million automobiles worldwide, and has achieved an estimated 85 billion+ listening hours in cars since 2005, Xperi, the company that owns the HD technology says. More than 95% of all Americans are able to receive an HD Radio signal, with 79% of all radio listening to stations broadcasting via HD Radio technology.

Building on 15 years of HD Radio progress, Xperi has developed a wider range of solutions designed to improve the in-vehicle experience in addition to HD Radio – DTS AutoSense and DTS AutoStage. DTS AutoSense comprises occupancy and driver monitoring systems, while DTS AutoStage combines over the air broadcast with IP-delivered content.

“As vehicles offer more and more immersive entertainment features to vehicle occupants, it is important to continue to develop technologies that ensure these richer experiences can be consumed and enjoyed with safety as a key consideration, something that the BMW Group continues to do,” Jury continued. “Xperi and the BMW Group have partnered to develop the future of the in-cabin experience.”