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Alpine Ships HD Radio Car Tuner With iTunes Tagging

Highlights safety benefits of not having to write down the name of a song while driving.

Alpine is shipping a new HD Radio car tuner that supports iTunes Tagging.

“Instead of drivers unsafely trying to write down the name of a song they just heard on-air, the iTunes Tagging feature allows drivers to ‘tag’ and store their favorite songs for download onto their iPod at a later time — including the extra content that is exclusive to HD Radio broadcasts,” Alpine Electronics of America states.

The tuner is the model TUA-T550HD; it is a $230 hide-away box that can be connected to Alpine’s 2007-08 Ai-NET head units to add HD Radio reception as a source. When the head unit is tuned to an HD Radio station, the display will list artist, album and song info if the station is airing the metadata. The tuner allows for the addition of other Alpine Ai-NET audio sources, such as satellite radio.

The iTunes Tagging via the tuner is available with Alpine’s iDA-X100 Digital Media Receiver, IVA-W505 double-DIN Mobile Multimedia Station and the iDA-X100M Marine Digital Media Receiver.

“When users hear a song they like on an HD Radio station, they can ‘Tag’ the song by pressing and holding the ‘Enter’ button on the iDA-X100 or iDA-X100M, or the asterisk button on the IVA-W505,” Apline explains.

“Information about these Tagged songs is stored by the TUA-T550HD and transferred to the iPod. When the iPod is connected to the computer, iTunes automatically presents the songs in a new Tagged playlist so the user has the option to preview, buy and download the songs. Each song Tag is only 512 bytes, so a nearly endless number of songs can be Tagged when an iPod is connected to the system. If no iPod is connected, the TUA-T550HD can store up to 50 song Tags. Previous Tags are automatically erased from the TUA-T550HD when an iPod is connected, so new Tags can continue to be added.”