18 January 2007

Transition to digital radio

In the US, we are most likely to read about the transition to digital television. Indeed, I have referred to this several times on this blog (see this, for example). What is also happening, though much more quietly, is digital radio. In the past few months, I have begun hearing advertisements in the local market for "HD Radio" (which is how this is being branded in the US). To gain perspective on this, you might find this article from Wired interesting. Here is part of what they have to say:

But in the United States? Not so much. Slightly more than 1,000 U.S. stations now broadcast in HD Radio, according to iBiquity Digital, the company that created the technology behind digital radio in the United States. But none yet offer the features available in the United Kingdom. Instead, they use the additional frequencies HD Radio technology provides to offer new channels of content called "multicasts." Top 40 station WNKS, for example, simulcasts its main analog signal on one of its HD Radio frequencies, and multicasts a Christian format on the other.

"Multicasting is HD Radio's initial value proposition, but it's just a first step," says iBiquity CEO Bob Struble.

Struble envisions HD Radio eventually delivering scrolling-text news and traffic updates, integrating with car navigation systems, and offering on-demand song downloads. And the new partnership between Clear Channel and Microsoft will create a national data service called MSN Direct HD that delivers localized, personalized content to home and car HD Radio receivers.


Just as in television, what is required is an equipment investment on the part of consumers. Right now, the choices are fairly limited. Do you think that the transition is likely? There is not a government push behind it (at least that I am aware of) as is the case with HDTV

2 comments:

700WLW said...
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Anonymous said...

We now know, that with 75% of Americans aware of HD Radio, at some level, the number of HD radios sold each year, will probably decline:

http://beradio.com/eyeoniboc/instat-digital-radio-set/

To check on-going interest in HD Radio, which is flat:

http://www.google.com/trends?q=%22hd+radio%22

To check interest in HD Radio versus Satellite and Internet Radio:

http://www.google.com/trends?q=%22hd+radio%22%2C+%22satellite+radio%22%2C+%22internet+radio%22&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all

Even after a $200,000,000 advertising campaign, by the HD Radio Alliance, the popularity of HD Radio, Satellite Radio, and Internet Radio, are just blips on the screen, compared to iPods and MP3s:

http://www.google.com/trends?q=%22HD+Radio%22%2C+iPod%2C+MP3%2C+%22Internet+Radio%22%2C++%22Satellite+Radio%22&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all

HD Radio/IBOC is a farce - IBOC causes adjacent-channel interference and has only 60% the coverage of analog. The HD channels are only low-bitrate streams of the same old repetitive material, and will eventually, contain commercials.

Senator Sununu, may put an end to FCC mandates, anyway:

"SUNUNU: FCC TECH MANDATES MUST BE BANNED"

http://www.sununu.senate.gov/pressapp/record.cfm?id=267281&&year=2007