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B&H Photo Video Pro Audio - Terrestrial Radio Goes "HD"
 
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Terrestrial Radio Goes "HD"
Meet Boston Acoustics' Receptor HD Radio

By Aaron Solomon

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Think Terrestrial Radio is history?
With all the talk about satellite radio you would think that earth-based (or terrestrial) radio's future is about as bright as Paris Hilton's singing career. But stay tuned — in the near future, you're going to be hearing more about an upgrade to terrestrial radio known as "HD Radio". While not without its detractors, HD radio technology has the potential to give new life to an old technology by finally bringing terrestrial radio into the digital age.


What is "HD Radio?
HD Radio is a proprietary technology that allows existing radio stations to create companion digital versions of their AM and/or FM signals. This boosts the quality of FM broadcasts to near CD-quality sound while AM sounds as clear as traditional FM radio. As an added bonus the background noise that sometimes plagues traditional analog radio, particularly AM broadcasts, is virtually non existent. Best of all, unlike satellite radio, there are no subscription charges for HD Radio — simply purchase an HD radio and tune in as much as you please.

Boston Acoustics Receptor
The Boston Acoustics Receptor HD is the very first high definition table clock radio to hit the market. The unit is essentially their well-regarded Receptor radio upgraded with high definition technology to offer crystal clear sound and the ability to listen to the ever expanding programming available in high definition.

The radio features Boston Acoustics' innovative wide-range driver, a digitally equalized amplifier and proprietary BassTrac circuitry for a full distortion-free bass regardless of the volume level. The radio is as easy to operate as a traditional radio — simply turn the tuning knob or press the up-down button on the remote control to scroll through all available stations. The unit comes with an 18" antenna to maximize reception but if do find yourself in a spot where digital reception is weak, it automatically switches over to an analog signal so you don't miss anything. It comes with an auxiliary input for external devices if case you want to hook up your iPod or CD player and has an external headphone jack.

Song Titles, Weather, Traffic Info and More
Another cool feature is the display that tells you the title of the song you are listening to, the artist who sings it and the name of the station you are listening to (some stations even offer stock quotes and local traffic and weather). The Receptor Radio offers all the features you would expect from a table radio; a bright LCD clock, an alarm that can be set to music or a buzzer and a remote the size of a credit card so you never need to get up to change the station.

Overall, the Boston Acoustics Receptor HD Radio which comes in a silvery platinum finish is a pretty cool piece of technology. Keep in mind that high definition radio has a while to go before it gains widespread acceptance. The closer you live to an urban area, the more likely you are to have high definition stations in range (about 10% of US stations also broadcast in high definition but the number is expected to grow significantly over the next two years). Be aware that HD radio still has commercials and, unlike satellite radio, the FCC regulates content. It does offer great sound, lots of programming choices and most importantly it's free — and you can't beat that price.

Please email feedback on this article, or suggestions for future topics, to emailfeedback@bhphotovideo.com.