Can a little, $199 HD Radio from Radio Shack has as much to offer as, say, the Polk I-Sonic system at $599?

Of course not.

But there are things to like about this unit.

The styling is nice and it boasts a better look than most tabletop radios. It’s very simple to operate and sounds very good – for a simple, tabletop radio. But, of course, that’s a big but.

The Accurian HD Radio has a nice, big LCD screen that display text information, including the frequency of the station to which you are listening, as well as the name of the song being played and the artist’s name. Some day, HD radios may also display weather and traffic information but that seems to be a few years in the future.

The Accurian has a built-in clock (but no alarm) and a credit card-sized remote. It comes with a power adapter, FM T-shaped antenna, an AM loop-style antenna and a user guide. However, the Accurian is so simple to operate, the user guide is almost superfluous.

On the downside, the Accurian has no connection for an MP3 player. On the upside. it does have an output jack on the front for headphones but not AUX in jack. It also has preset controls that make it easy to pre-program stations and then just toggle back and forth between them.

As you would expect from an HD Radio, the Accurian picks up HD2 channels – a technology called multicasting. This permits stations to broadcast several different formats on what is basically the same frequency. So, a station whose format is easy listening might have an HD2 channel with nothing but the blues. These HD2 stations are commercial-free – at least for the time being – so enjoy them while you can.

All told, the Accurian is not a bad buy at $199. Plus iBiquity is currently offering a $40 rebate, bringing the final price to $159, which makes it even more attractive to me.

The net/net? Not a great sounding unit but it is an HD Radio and the price is appealing.


A nice price/value but no longer the lowest cost HD tabletop

The new Accurian HD radio from RadioShack may be low-priced, but according to one source (Jonathan Takiff in the Philadelphia Inquirer) it does deliver excellent sound. The Accurian measures a svelte 12”by 6.97″ x 6.61″, and includes an easy-to-read text display that can show helpful information such as station and song name, band, frequency and more. It can also handle expanded programming options, including data services, traffic, weather and sports.

If you scan up and down theAccurian’s dial, it will lock first into a standard FM or AM signal. Then, if the station broadcasts in HD, it will automatically switch to the station’s digital signal in about five seconds.

When you push the scan button, the Accurian will first display an HD station’s primary signal – forexample as 101.2-1. If you touch the scan dial again, and the station is broadcasting an HD2 channel, it will show up as 101.2-2 and so forth.

The Accurian comes complete with the remote control with battery, power adapter, FM T-shaped antenna, AM loop-style antenna and a user guide.