Struble Strudel

Bob Struble of iBiquity got roasted by the engineers on this post on rbr.com when he insisted there was no problem with their AM codec. Among the comments:

“NPR story on HD radio startup”

“Problems with the system that pervade the entire HD/IBOC data and codec from beginning to end, all the way to the signal on the air persist. The codec, by today’s standards, is grossly inferior on FM and literally unspeakable on AM (gee, I had no idea). Since they’re hardwired into the receivers, they won’t be changed anytime soon, if ever. But it goes beyond that. There were bad choices of network layer such that reliability is compromised. The code used in exciters has a severe memory leak, so the exciters crash routinely. The receivers can be locked up solid by malformed packets, requiring a power cycle to restore operation. The list goes on and on and on. Will any of this get fixed? Probably not, since all the money right now is going to promotion, not to technical bug fixes. This is a system that has been in development for a decade and a half, and it still has problems from beginning to end that range from audio encoding, through the transport layers, to the encoding, and now, with the spectral regrowth problems, to the broadcast bands themselves; you know . . . that which is supposed to be serving the public. I would love to be implementing digital radio. But this is garbage.”

http://tinyurl.com/2kbzsn

And this:

Isn’t it great that the FCC is cooperating so much with Ibiquity to completely destroy AM and FM radio broadcasting in the USA.

And again:

HD radio pretty much reduced our listening audience by half. The station is KKUP on 91.5, and the interference comes from KALW on 91.7. If you look up the facilities you’ll see that there’s nothing but the San Francisco Bay in between, so there’s no terrain shielding there whatsoever. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the interference takes place outside of KKUP’s protected contour. Never mind that every car radio made since 1985 used to work fine in that “fringe area” before HD. The real world interference exists today, even without a power increase. For many it will only get worse. It’s simple physics. The digital carriers occupy the adjacent channel, and they cover up the analog signal on that channel. Doesn’t take a mental giant to figure that out. When the interference started I think we assumed this format would go the way of AM stereo, the minidisk, quadraphonic broadcasting, and the color-wheel television transmitting scheme. But it remains, and continues to cause problems for many broadcasters. Personally, I’ve pretty much quit listening to the radio because all three of my favorite stations are now covered with HD hash. Is this progress?

And this was all in response to this post, with its own set of comments:

I am a CE at one of the larger broadcast companies. All of our AM’s have ceased IBOC and most of the FM’s have also turned it off. I’m sure this represents well over 200 stations that have quietly gone silent on the HD side. Show that in your numbers iB!

Personally, I believe it is an old, flawed, not upgradable technology that never should have been approved. And, that’s my opinion of FM IBOC. AM should never have been allowed on the air because of gross interference it creates.

CC wants to be good neighbors by limiting their AM analog bandwidth? Then turn of the IBOC that’s junking up the band and deliver a quality analog product.

It may take decades to recover from this greedy IBOC sham, but it is time to bit the bullet now, pull the plug and begin work on a system designed for 21st century broadcasting.

And:

I could not have said it better myself. IBOC is a flawed system. Hopefully, the Commission will eventually create a separate digital broadcast band and migrate all existing analog broadcasters both AM & FM to it. IBOC is the biggest hoax ever offered to the FCC and the American Public. The FCC filings on which the Commission has based its decisions to authorize the service have been filed by majority of persons or companies that have a financial interest in seeing the system adopted and therefore those filings should be looked at as suspect by the Commission. Never in the history has the Commission authorized a service that had to be licensed. To add insult to injury the “fees” are based on the amount of billing on the licensed station with iBiquity having the right to audit the books of the licensed station. It seems to me that the major stockholders of iBiquity are major broadcast groups, so it seems they would have access to their competitors financial information. Smells like an antitrust issue to me but then I’m not a lawyer. Just my 2 cents worth!

Once again:

Maybe it’s time for the people of IBOC to come clean and realize that IBOC is not what it’s all cracked up to be. It’s overly priced both in terms of the hardware ($100,000) a station and the privilege of just running it is upwards of $15,000+ and another $5000 for each stream thereafter. The FMeXtra version of digital (digital SCA) was a more practical and cost effective way for going digital by using the existing SCA spectrum that ALL FM stations already have. Unfortunately, the people of FMeXtra are also “investors” of iBiquity and cannot promote their digital system for mainstream use. (How convenient.) Getting these so-called FM “power increases,” just to make the HD radios work inside the home seems a little kludge to me. It’s like changing the rules of the game in the 9th inning, if your team is losing. The FMeXtra system would have worked flawlessly, without having to step on your “neighbors” lawn (first and second adjacent interference). The coverage is similar to that of the average FM Stereo signal. No increase in power is necessary. Even the smallest high-school or college FM station could use it.

Time to look for something else for digital radio. IBOC just ain’t cutting it.

Keep smilin’, Bob. As long as you keep the FCC in your pocket, you’ve still got the keys to the bank.

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One Response

  1. The first quote came from John Higdon , a very reputable S.F. Bay Area engineer. iBiquity created a garbage product, and fielded it as quickly as possible; this applies to foreign broadcasters, too. iBiquity also injects themselves into field tests, to make it appear their system works without creating adjacent-channel interference. One really needs to take a step back and look at the whole picture, starting from about 2000. From manipulating the FCC and Congress (for upgrades for NPR), to pressure tactics with broadcasters, all indicative of a major scam.

    It appears that even CBS is backing away from any FM-HD power increase, and stations have been turning off IBOC on both AM and FM, for quite some time. I believe it will take a decade to cleanse OUR airwaves of this tumor.

    I’ve seen a number of Google searches for “iBiquity IPO”, leading to my blog. With CEOs invested in iBiquity, this whole scheme hinges on an iBiquity’ IPO. If Struble pulls it off, they will walk with millions, leaving our broadcast bands in ruins.

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