Kenwood Plans HD Radio Rollout; Stations Get 'Em First

Kenwood Plans HD Radio Rollout; Stations Get 'Em First
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The first HD Radio receivers from Kenwood should reach stations this fall and some retailers by the end of the year.
It's not quite the blitz for summer of 2003 planned earlier by U.S. digital radio proponents. The IBOC standards-setting pause that began in May while Ibiquity worked out codec issues has cost time on the receiver rollout side.
Ibiquity must deliver codec software upgrades to chip partners S.T. Microelectronics, Texas Instruments and Philips, so the chip makers can upgrade the software on their chips and make them available to receiver manufacturers for HD Radios.
Kenwood's Bob Law hopes to ship receivers first to stations broadcasting with HD Radio signals this fall. The company likely would begin releasing product to retailers in Q4 in limited quantities. Kenwood plans to make a big splash at the CES show in January with its 2004 HD Radios and plans to be able to ship significant quantities of product that month.
Law said the codec change has required only software changes in receivers, not modifications in hardware. This means the "pause" and its aftermath will be invisible to consumers.
Yamaha postponed earlier plans to release home receivers for HD Radio in 2003.

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