For avid listeners of music who prefer HD radio, the JVC KT HDP1 portable radio is a great option selling at $129. It comes with a monochrome display, infrared remote and preset factory equalizers for Jazz, rock, classic, and pop and normal settings. You can connect it in four different ways to your existing stereo. In this way the HD radio acts as a medium for transferring HD radio signals to the existing stereo or it can act as a real HD radio receiver connected to the existing stereo to improve the quality of a digital signal. Moreover it comes with a simple programming interface and several customization features.
The KT-HDP1 has a sleek design with simple controls that you can access while driving. Four buttons above the display let you change the volume, the frequency band, display configuration and a single-touch access to the menu. Similar buttons below the display let you choose from any of six preset radio stations. The display shows the station, the artist and the track being played. However the fonts are very large and you may have difficulty in reading the entire title at one go. Another area of improvement is the volume controls that are difficult to access as they are sandwiched between the Menu and Band controls. You also have to press the button down for sometime to adjust the volume.
There is a useful four-way toggle button to differentiate between HD and non-HD stations. The up and down buttons are for the HD stations and the left and right buttons are for the FM stations. This toggle also lets you adjust the menu for changing the display and fine-tune the audio. You can attach the HD radio in your car in four ways. One way is to route the car’s FM antenna through the HD radio, which is in turn connected to the antenna port of the car stereo. After this, the output from the HD radio can be directed through the stereo’s auxiliary input jack or through a wired FM transmitter cable. Alternately you can hard wire the HD radio’s input antenna and then send the output to the car ’s FM receiver through the auxiliary input jack or another output sleeve antenna. The receiver also has an FM transmitter that can beam AM, FM and HD at a short distance.
With regards to performance, the best output is from the hard-wired connection. When using the auxiliary –in jack, the HD programs are very sharp and clear unlike the hard wire connection, which exhibits some static. However the sound quality in all four types of connections is the best when routed through the JVC HD radio. Audio controls include a tone control for bass and treble and a setting for loudness. For best results you should adjust the volume through the HD radio.
In sum, the JVC KT HDP1 radio is a good and inexpensive way to get HD radio into your car.