Next-generation technology and smart design are reinvigorating the airwaves.
My HDTV upgrade was worth it. Is it time to switch to HD radio, too?
Now that more than 1,274 FM radio stations broadcast high-definition digital signals--letting them "multicast" two or three different channels on the same frequency--yes, it's time. Radiosophy's HD100 receiver ($120) neatly bridges the gap between old and new. The smartest thing about the HD100 is that it'll play a station's analog signal if the digital signal is too weak, and it'll automatically switch over once the digital signal locks in. www.radiosophy.com
How do I get my Internet-radio fix when I'm away from my computer? Com One's Phoenix WiFi Radio ($249) is easy to hook into any free hot spot, and the speakers put out decent sound for their size. There are plenty of international stations to choose from, but its selection of podcasts is rather limited. The company says users will ultimately be able to subscribe to any one they like. www.wifi-radio.biz
When I listen to satellite radio, I worry that I'm missing something better on another channel. Am I?
A split-screen view on Audiovox'sXpressR XM receiver ($130) lets you see what's on other stations while still displaying what you're listening to. A customizable ticker shows stock prices and when your favorite team is playing (annoyingly, it doesn't show scores). The R stands for "replay"; you can store up to 30 minutes of audio from XM's 177 channels. www.xmradio.com