Digital Radio in the Mix at CES 2011


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It's a given that the first week of a New Year is a time when all eyes focus on Las Vegas, and this week's CES 2011 is no exception. And while tablet devices and smartphones grab most of the headlines, there's still plenty to see and hear for those interested in programmed audio.

First stop for diehard digital radio fans will be the iBiquity Digital Booth. A host of auto aftermarket, tabletop, and portable receivers will be on display, along with sample vehicles from several carmakers containing factory HD Radio products. Of course, with so many new devices chasing after wireless bandwidth these days, expect to see iBiquity reps talking with developers who may have applications for ancillary HD Radio data that go well beyond existing traffic/navigation apps.

One unique digital radio application to be featured at this year's show will be presented by NPR at its annual Radio with Vision Showcase. According to an NPR blog, the program will focus on the latest developments in NPR Labs ongoing effort to advance the technology of radio captioning across multiple platforms, including online and HD Radio. Originally envisioned as a way of bringing NPR radio content to the hearing impaired, the project has expanded to advance an open source Captioned Radio standard that's nearing approval as an international recommendation by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU-UIT).

Fans of dedicated Web radio appliances may want to check out the official unveiling of Grace Digital Audio's new line of Internet radios, including CES 2011 Design and Engineering Award Honoree, Mondo, featuring a 3.5" TFT color display. Also debuting is the Solo Touch with a 4.3" touch-screen color display, along with the Bravado X, which combines a 2.7" TFT color display with high-quality stereo speakers.

Meanwhile, PURE, a maker of digital and Internet-connected radios, plans to use CES as a staging point for FlowSongs, a new cloud-based music service that allows users to buy music direct from PURE digital radios and the company's Lounge iPhone app. The company says it will also introduce two new Web-connected radio models, the Contour and One Flow, for the North American market.

Of course, with a show the size of CES we're only scratching the surface, and we'll have a detailed review of those digital radio products that made waves at the show in our next edition.




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