As someone who's never been a big fan of AM/FM radio, I never really saw the advantage of HD Radio. At first, the all-digital format promised little more than CD-quality digital transmission of existing stations. Then the broadcasters added multicasting, offering "HD2" stations that weren't available at all on analog hardware. They even sweetened the deal by temporarily reducing or suspending commercials on those HD2 stations (though that program has recently ended).
But the thing that most retarded the growth of HD Radio adoption was the price of the hardware. The earliest tabletop HD Radios, for instance, cost upward of $500--not exactly an impulse purchase. In the years since, prices have tumbled: tabletop and in-car models hit $200 last year, and newer HD-enabled clock radios can be found for less than $100 now. Still, as far as in-home options go, none of the models we'd tested had really blown us away.
That's finally changed with the Sony XDR-F1HD.… Read more