Finding a tabletop or portable digital radio that plays AM and FM radio stations that broadcast in HD are harder to find than ever. When the technology was first introduced, consumer electronics giant Sony jumped on board and manufactured several models that could pick up AM and FM stations that broadcast digitally, along with the HD2 and HD3 subchannels that stations opt to transmit. These multiple streams over one frequency means you have access to more programming than with an analog radio.
Sony offered some attractive tabletop HD radios with more features than simply a tuner, though Sony didn't offer as many portable digital radio options. You may still be able to find new and used units through third-party sellers on Amazon or eBay, but the manufacturer discontinued the products, so you won't find them from major retailers.
One of Sony's original HD radios, the Sony XDR-F1HD radio tuner focused on digital radio. The tuner gave you access to subscription-free HD radio channels in both AM and FM broadcasts, along with 20 presets, so you can return to your favorite stations without having to tune to each one every time. The LCD backlit display shows you the program information, radio station information, song titles and artist names. This tabletop digital radio also includes a remote control, so you can switch stations with the press of a button from across a room.
Another discontinued HD radio from Sony is the XDR-S3HD. Its wooden cabinet offers radio lovers an attractive unit with a simulated cherry finish that adds to a home's décor. It's a digital FM radio, which means you can tune in to regular FM radio stations that are broadcast in analog or digital, as well as the accompanying HD extra channels. You can also pick up AM stations, so you can listen to your favorite music and programs. The LCD screen shows you the various information on digital stations, such as the names of songs and artists as they're playing. Plus, the screen brightness is adjustable.
The best digital radio includes more than just a digital AM and FM tuner. The Sony XDR-S10HDiP HD Radio with Dock for iPod and iPhone was a big seller before it was discontinued. As it says in the name, you could play HD radio and dock your iPod or iPhone to listen to your personal music collection. The radio also works as an alarm clock, and a sleep timer lets you listen to music or programming for a specified amount of time before shutting off automatically.
Sony didn't make a big leap into the digital pocket radio market, so you likely won't find a portable Sony radio that plays HD stations. And because Sony discontinued its standalone digital radios, you can only find them used from about $69 to $300.
Digital radio isn't going anywhere, so it's possible Sony will jump back into the HD radio market with tabletop and portable digital radios. In the meantime, HD radio tuners are included as standard in a lot of other audio devices, or you can find the models we listed secondhand.