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