Volvo to Make HD Radio Standard for 2009 Models


In manufacturers’ constant arms race to include better perks for drivers, Volvo will make HD radio receivers standard in almost all of its models beginning in the second half of 2008.

Still in relative infancy, HD radio promises better sound quality than standard radio and offers vastly expanded programming. This includes access to news, weather, school closings and other emergency information right on the display screen.

Far from a monolithic set of stations with the same programming whether you’re driving in Seattle, Kansas City or New York, HD radio varies geographically, offering different stations in different locations that will remind listeners of the quaint ways of old-fashioned AM/FM radio. Across the country, radio stations are making the switch to HD broadcasting. Nearly 2,000 stations either broadcast in HD or offer HD2 multicasts on the FM dial with no subscription fee.

While reception may be spotty in certain areas, that won’t be so different from driving through west Texas trying to find a decent classic rock station.

Interestingly, there are a few exclusions in Volvo’s list of models that will have HD radio. Not listed are the base S40 or V50, nor is the S60. That makes us wonder whether the S60 will be around in 2009.



Excuse me, what is HD radio??
High Definition?


HD Radio is digital radio that is broadcasted side-by-side with standard analog radio. The HD in HD Radio does not stand for high-definition (as in HDTV) but rather Hybrid Digital. Talk about confusion people, yeah?

The hybrid part of the name comes from the fact that radio stations (with the appropriate equipment) can "share" both analog and digital over the same set of frequencies.

The overall quality can vary from 64kbps AAC (for talk radio) to 256kbps AAC/MP3 for music (though most channels will be closer to 96-112kbps AAC, a tad bit lower quality than iTunes or Rhapsody).


maybe they will finally redesign it. the 2008's look so old.


If you are reffering to the S60, I have to agree with you. It was stunning (IMO) when it was introduced but it has not aged well at all.

"The hybrid part of the name comes from the fact that radio stations (with the appropriate equipment) can "share" both analog and digital over the same set of frequencies."

Remember the days when you could tune in at night on your road trip and listen to AM radio stations from across the country? Unfortunately with the advent of HD AM radio, those days are coming to a close. When listening on a "normal" (non HD AM radio) HD makes adjacent frequencies unusable and lowers the effective power of the broadcasting station. It is, in fact, is being challenged by engineer's stations whose signals are no longer listenable due to hash from adjacent HD AM stations. Its price we pay for progress and heavy FCC lobbying by the HD companies.

Yea, probably more than you wanted to know :-)

Volvo sales are doing very poorly, as Ford has considered dumping the division. HD Radio reception is problematic, even more so in moving vehicles. There are going to be some pissed-off customers, when they return their "defective" radios:

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