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Chriss Scherer Scherer has been the editor of Radio magazine since 1997. His experience in radio includes work as chief engineer at stations in Cleveland (WMMS-FM, WHK-AM, WZJM-FM, WJMO-AM...more

HD Radio comes to Zune — soon

Microsoft has announced that the next version of the Zune media player — the Zune HD — will include an HD Radio receiver. In one way I want to say, “It’s about time.”

On the other hand I ask, “Why bother?”

For some time I have said that the real mark of HD Radio success is to have the technology in every radio receiver. If it’s an option it will always be just that. If it’s in every receiver, there’s no doubt. Adding the technology to devices such as the Zune is a good step in this direction.

I don’t know how many people use the radio receiver on the Zune. I don’t own one, nor do any of my friends. (If you have a Zune, tell us what you use it for.) Regardless, once it has an HD Radio receiver, that’s one more not-an-option choice.

But why the “why bother?” comment? While I admit to not knowing the stats on radio usage for Zune owners, I would think people are buying a Zune because it’s a media player, not a portable radio. Sure, radio is one form of media, and if it’s already in there, perhaps it will get used. Having the radio receiver is one advantage the Zune has over the Ipod. I’ll have to reserve judgment until some stats are available.

The Zune HD is slated for release in the fall 2009. I look forward to seeing one in action. I also wonder what the battery life will be like.

In the end, call the Zune HD a win for HD Radio.

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