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HD Radio

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Electronics' started by kkratoch, Mar 14, 2008.

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    kkratoch

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    Does anyone know if it is possible to install an HD radio in an 2006 330i built 04/05 with no nav, no i-drive and professional CD system? Thanks.

    Bill Howard guest

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    You may get a better response posting over in audio forum. I assume you want an HD radio add-on that is controlled by your car radio controls, not an add-on tuner module, which can be done (I'm pretty sure) by hacking into the antenna shaft or line-in connector, just as you'd do with an XM or Sirius module if you wanted to pay less than the dealer charges. My colleague Jonathan Spira patrols that forum regularly and if he doesn't know, he knows who does.
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    kkratoch

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    Yes, I wanted a "factory" type solution. I asked at the local dealer and was told there is no HD retrofit kit at this time for my car. I was just wondering if it is even possible or would I have to wait until I get a new one.

    Bill Howard guest

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    Speaking generally, when a car radio including BMW's has an external input (not just a line in input) for a device such as a CD changer, you can create an interface box that tricks the car into thinking the external device is something that can be controlled by the car radio. My E39 used such a device to control an external Sirius tuner via the radio faceplate. It made the car radio think it was seeing - holy cow! - a CD that now had 150 discs. But: to create the adapter device there has to be demand. For an external adapter for a 5 year old Honda accord, there's demand. For a BMW, harder to say.
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    kkratoch

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    Maybe I don't understand the technology, but I thought HD was something built in to the tuner. I was thinking I could just replace the head unit with an 2007/2008 unit with that option.

    Bill Howard guest

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    HD Radio info source: BimmerNav.com

    [floatleft] bimmernavMartinBishop.jpg [/floatleft]Check out BimmerNav.com. They do conversions of older BMWs with more contemporary head units such as swapping out a CD-based navigation system with a DVD-based widescreen navigation system. I talked with BimmerNav president Margin Bishop (photo) at Oktoberfest 2007 in Fort Worth and he seemed up on the technology.

    Others know for sure how HD Radio would come standard on a 2006 3 Series. Generally (all brands, all years) there are a half-dozen ways you could put HD Radio into a car:

    • Buy a new car with it built in. Kind of costly.
    • Retrofit a new car with an automaker part that is controlled by the head unit (Ford is doing this for $295, which isn't bad considering what BMW charges for it built in ($350 now)).
    • Replace the head unit with a factory specific newer unit (what BimmerNav might be able to do)
    • Replace the radio with a single- or double-DIN aftermarket radio (great solution if you've got a 2002 or E21 320i) that either has HD built in or as a module.
    • Add a generic tuner module that connects via the FM antenna or line-in jack or cassette slot.
    • Find a black box adapter that goes between your factory radio and an aftermarket HD radio module for an aftermarket radio. This is also how you can get satellite radio to work or retain steering wheel control of your radio when you buy an aftermarket unit. For you specifically, check out the Intravee II BMW to Alpine AI-NET module that, if it works, lets you buy an Alpine HD Radio module intended for Alpine aftermarket radios. I BimmerNav offers that, too.

    Jonathan Spira guest

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    I missed this one since it was in the 3er Series forum, not the Audio forum.

    HD Radio requires a separate tuner (for those who have followed HD Radio and recall the incompatibility between HD Radio and RTTI, this was because there WAS only one slot for an extra tuner until recently but this has since been resolved as one of the two FM tuners was deleted).

    Based on past experience where BMW does not offer an official retrofit, it would sound like this is doable but it may involve more than an additional tuner. Your car, since you don't have iDrive, has a MID. The MID may or may not have the correct firmware for HD Radio (remember, HD Radio was also upgraded to support multiple bands; when it was introduced, it only supported HD Radio on the main station). The car's Progman would definitely have to be updated (this may or may not be performed by BMW under warranty) and I think that would be the last piece of the puzzle.

    Perhaps someone out there has already done this and can see if my (educated) guess is spot on - or not. :confused:
    • Member

    kkratoch

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    I checked with BimmerNav and they said they would not be able to help. I guess I will just have to wait until I purchase a new car. :(
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    kkratoch

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    MGarrison

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    I know this won't help you solve your problem, but having installed an HD radio in my E34 for a little more than a year, at least in my area (S.W. Ohio), there are a number of hd enabled radio stations, but relatively little hd programming I find I want to listen to with any regularity. On some of the stations the difference in sound quality is noticeable, but I wouldn't rate the difference over clear strong analog FM reception as some kind of 'oh-my-God-that's-astounding' difference; usually it's a little clearer with better stereo separation, if it's noticeable.

    To satisfy your curiosity, perhaps there's some kind of inexpensive hd tuner (desktop or otherwise) that you could get just to check what different stations are playing.

    If there's an hd sideband you already know you want to be tuning in, then obviously that suggestion doesn't help a bit.

    Good luck working it out.

    Jonathan Spira guest

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    There are other changes required to install HD - it's not something that can go in without possibly requiring a new standad radio receiver and either a new CCC or M-ASK.

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