Can Microsoft Really Boost HD Radio's Fortunes? We'll know Zune!

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Sept. 16, 2009. D-Day, or better yet, HD-Day, has arrived for Microsoft's new media platform, the Zune HD.

Online coverage of the release throughout the afternoon and evening has been pretty sensational. During the course of the evening several new first-impression user reports have surfaced, along with a complete set of high-resolution disassembly photos that clearly reveal Siport's SP1010 single-chip digital broadcast receiver. Wow, is it small.

And then there are photos of the Zune HD's box - with the words "HD Radio" prominently displayed center stage. No doubt about it -- Microsoft isn't soft-pedaling the trademark. It's right up front in hot pink for all the honest world to see.

Although not too much has yet been made of the Zune's HD Radio functionality, a preliminary video review by tech site Crunchgear, showed the device switching up to an HD Radio multicast channel easily, as the reviewer notes that he may begin listening to radio more often.


And somewhere right now, Bob Struble is smiling, as he ought to be. The level and quality of exposure the Zune HD is generating for IBOC digital radio is something that's been sorely lacking to this point. It's no coincidence that CBS waited until this week to announce it will begin offering a new HD Radio multicast stream based on its popular Last FM online service in the four top U.S. markets.

Regardless of where they stand on HD Radio, those with radio in their blood are anxiously watching Zune HD's first walk down the runway, as this nation's Geekdom meets HD Radio face to face for the first time.

I don't know about you, but I hope this is one blind date that makes a good impression.

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