How to Get HD Radio for a Home Theater

HD Radio offers a digital radio broadcast that can be incorporated into a home theater. HD Radio uses a second broadcast signal that a radio station can use to send digital broadcasts alongside their existing analog ones. Both AM and FM stations are available in HD Radio — the FM variant, like FM analog radio, is the higher quality one, with sound that is claimed to approach that of CDs.

HD Radio doesn’t charge a fee (satellite radio costs about $13 per month), but it also doesn’t have the continent-wide coverage of satellite radio. So if you’re a road warrior who travels long distances by car, you might prefer satellite’s ability to stay tuned in to a station no matter where you go.

Because of its digital nature, HD Radio is capable of sending a lot of additional data alongside the audio signal that’s going out over the airwaves — so you can see more programming data (such as the name of the song and the artist) along with data streams such as traffic info and stock prices.

To get HD Radio into your home theater, you simply need to choose a home theater receiver capable of receiving HD Radio, such as Yamaha’s RX-V863, or use a separate HD Radio receiver as an audio component connected to your existing home theater receiver. The HD Radio Web site has a listing of HD Radio-capable devices, as well as a station listing, so you can find out what HD Radio offers in your area.

HD Radio includes a cool feature called iTunes Tagging. If you hear a song that you like on HD Radio, some HD Radio receivers (those with iPod docks included) let you press a button (labeled “tag”). When you do this, the song title, the artist, and other information are saved to a playlist that is transferred to your iPod the next time you dock it. When you later connect your iPod to your computer for synchronization, those tagged songs appear with links to the iTunes Store for purchase. Pretty neat.

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