Coby Drops Cheapest HD Radio Receiver Yet

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If HD radio has been a little slow to take off, maybe it’s been the relatively high price of most HD radio equipment – no one really wants to spend $200 to get a few extra digital stations. Budget electronics maker Coby seems to have come to the same realization, and released its own line of slightly more affordable HD radios on Monday.

The entry-level $99 HDR-650, which Coby calls “the most affordable HD Receiver on the market,” is a small, speaker-less unit designed to work in conjunction with an existing home stereo. It has its own brushed aluminum housing with a white LCD display on the front for station information, simple controls across the top, and component audio outputs on the back.

The more advanced $149 HDR-700 gets the same display and tuner, but comes packaged in a much larger housing with a built-in speaker and even a battery to power it away from outlets, which Coby says should deliver about five hours of play time. There’s also a 3.5mm input jack for playing music from other sources, and even better, an SD slot for playing MP3s directly.

Both radios will debut in August.