I went with the Alpine iDA-X305S digital media receiver. I chose it for a couple reasons. I was mostly looking for a device that works well with my iPod. Most of the time I prefer to listen to podcasts or to my own music library than to the local radio stations.
So, the main thing that helped me make the decision was that my friend Mike has an earlier version of this radio, and it works very well with his iPod or even just a USB thumb drive. I like the navigation. It is quick to load and responsive.
I ordered mine from Crutchfield. I had heard mostly good things about them. I like their website because it gives tons of detailed information and reviews of the products. Prices were reasonable, they included all the required accessories, and shipping was free. I am very happy with my experience so far. Now I get to learn about their tech support.
So, my new radio has a small problem. When I play podcasts, there is a glitch on the display.
(Please ignore the glare from the camera flash. Yes, I know that I was taking a picture of a backlit display and that the flash served absolutely no purpose except to obscure the otherwise clear image. But I don't feel like walking outside to re-take them. It's cold out there.)
MP3s? No problem.
Audio books? Just fine.
Podcasts? White line!
Podcast in a playlist? White line!
MP3? Still fine.
Podcast? Line! Grr...
So, on to the troubleshooting.
Maybe something is screwy with the background. There are options for 3 built in backgrounds (referred to as BGV in the options) or for adding your own. I tried a different built in one. Same problem. I downloaded one from the Alpine website, figured out how to copy it to the radio, and set it as the background. Same problem. It is not the background.
Maybe it is my iPod. Mine is a 5th generation iPod Video, though I have never played video on it. It always seemed like a silly feature on a device with that small of a screen, but I digress. I have had it for over three years, but it is updated to the latest version firmware. Regardless, it was easy enough to try Mike's much newer iPod Classic. Same problem. I tried playing a podcast from my iPod on Mike's very similar radio, and his screen does not have the problem. It is not the iPod.
Since I was unable to find anything about this issue on the internet, I am hopeful that the problem is with just this radio. Or that it is easily fixed. Either way, I will post with updates when I learn more.