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SiPort Chip Brings HD to Microsoft Zune

Zune HD due in stores now

The Microsoft Zune HD, now hitting Best Buy and Walmart store shelves, includes an SP1010 chipset from SiPort. The chip gives the new Zune HD improved radio reception and new programming functions with long battery life in a small size without compromising cost, say SiPort officials.

As RW has reported, HD Radio proponents believe the addition of the technology to this model is an important step. “Zune HD is going to bring HD Radio to the masses,” SiPort VP Marketing Sunder Velamuri told Radio World. “It’s a branded product” with a nationwide campaign behind it, he said.

SiPort engineers worked with Microsoft engineers for some four to six months on such aspects as where to place the SiPort chip in the MP3 player. They fielded tested the unit in several cities by driving around and listening to the Zune HD, seeing what digital stations they could receive and comparing that to a digital car radio, he said.

Though the Zune HD is available from brick and mortar stores starting today, it was available by pre-ordered online in August, also from Best Buy and Walmart, as well as from Microsoft and online retailer Amazon.

The player is available in 16 GB and 32 GB capacities. In addition to built-in HD Radio, the unit is the first touch-screen Zune and also includes built-in WiFi and an Internet browser. The 16 GB version is expected to list for $219.99 and the 32 GB Zune HD is expected to list for $289.99.