I thought I'd create this thread for anyone considering HD radio in their car. First off, HD does not mean high definition;
rather, it's a trademarked name that means nothing, although the technology employed is known as hybrid digital.
For more info, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hd_radio
Anyway, I just bought the JVC KD-HDR1, which is the least expensive receiver you'll find at this time. It's still slim pickings right now, and other HD radios will set you back at least a few hundred bucks more. As time passes, however, prices will fall and more companies will be making these radios. Incidentally, BMW was the first to offer them as options on the 2006 5, 6, & 7series. The JVC runs about $200, but I managed to grab one on eBay for $132 + shipping. This thing has a lot to offer for the price: it plays mp3's & WMA's, it's SRS Circle Surround compatible, it has a 7 band equalizer, and it's iPod, Sirius & XM ready, should you ever want to upgrade. I'm not sure if I'm going to do that in the future, but for now I've got 22 radio stations broadcasting 37 HD channels here in New York City . . some stations broadcast 2 or more HD channels (this is known as multicasting). More and more stations are making the switch to HD everyday, and to find out what's available in your area, go to http://www.ibiquity.com/hd_radio/hdr...ation//StnFreq
Now onto my thoughts. The JVC KD-HDR1 is a pretty decent looking head unit and isn't any harder to install or understand than others. I removed my old Clarion, popped in the JVC, and was in business within 20min. I like the fact that this unit has front and rear RCA outputs, as well as dedicated subwoofer RCA outs- something I wasn't expecting at this pricepoint. If you're not running amplifiers, the HU has a decent 20w RMS x 4 channels of power (this rating is CEA 2006 compliant).
If a particular radio station offers HD programming, the unit will automatically tune it in, and if there are multiple channels available on that frequency, it will lock onto the primary channel and the screen will display "HD1". Then, a simple touch of the up or down buttons will tune in HD2, HD3, etc. Text information is also displayed as long as the radio station is transmitting it. What blows me away is the lack of background noise that's inherent in radio- HD is so much cleaner.
I only have one minor gripe about this HU. I miss the natural, unadulterated sound of my Clarion, and this JVC was a bit "warm" for my taste. They did away with the standard bass & treble controls, instead it has 6 EQ modes you can choose from, and each can be adjusted through 7 bands: 60Hz, 150Hz, 400Hz, 1kHz, 2.4kHz, 6kHz, and 15kHz. So I had to mess around with one of the modes to get the sound I wanted. Personally, I wish they'd kept the bass & treble controls for quick minor adjustments. Other than that, I think it's a really good deal for the money, and I'm pretty impressed with the sound quality of HD radio . . it's a marked improvement over standard FM/AM broadcasting, and I won't be going back