Those Wacky Engineers

Those crazy engineers in the google group we frequent have some pretty strong opinions of HD radio. Among the most interesting, however, is this common-sense approach, from Alex Hartman:

Until HD comes standard in OEM radios in Kias, Nissans, Chevys, Chryslers, etc., the HD battle is almost not worth fighting. I have yet to see a radio worth buying, honestly. I have the insignia pocket thing, but that’s a niche radio as well (and Best Buy goes through a little trouble hiding it in their stores).

Table radios? Why bother? It’s supposed to be HD radio, how can you tell if it’s still a mono speaker or 2 x 3″ full range drivers from less-than-good companies? Component tuner? Again, niche market. 95% of people have what’s called WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). If she can’t use it, you don’t get it. Not to mention not many people like having overly complicated setups. I do, but that’s the nature of being an HT enthusiast. I can tell you that the wife NEVER turns on my setup, even though I have a stupidly expensive remote that controls EVERYTHING through macros and such. The learning curve has been almost eliminated, but she is still intimidated by it.

Make it available in entry level AVRs for surround systems (and not just the stupidly expensive high-end Yamahas) and you’ll start seeing the flood. I think there’s only like 2-3 AVRs that have HD built in now, and any other ones have already been discontinued. Is iBiquity even actively trying to push new vendors? I know they lowered their prices on the royalty system to get more manufacturers to start using their stuff. Or are they just paying lobbyists to force the FCC to make HD Radio the “standard” and force the hand?

And this about HD radio from the discussion board:

It is a monster of a problem, and as soon as a fair number of stations adopt the new HD power increases it’s going to be an absolute disaster. It’s just not ever going to pan out — the science proves it, but Ibiquity, Clear Channel, and the rest of those that spent millions investing in this technology refuse to believe science. Unfortunately, too many people are of the mindset MAKE IT WORK!

Not going to happen! FM Extra would have worked, but the long-term MEGA pay-outs weren’t there for investors.  Sure, FM Extra would have made a few thousand for every station that invested in their equipment but it wasn’t iBiquity. With iBiquity you have a huge initial licensing fee, a yearly maintenance fee, astronomical costs for equipment, significant engineering costs, etc, etc. It was all about the money, not the science.

It didn’t win because it was the better HD solution. The truth is, it’s an absolute nightmare, but because there’s lot of money to be made it was the appointed winner.

Hopefully, FM EXTRA will be able to be revived as iBiquity falls into its early grave — INVESTMENT IN IBOC HD: GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT Embarrassed


One Response

  1. “U.S. automakers not jumping into HD Radio”

    “The radios are estimated to cost about $45 each to install, or each of the three carmakers about $150 million to $200 million annually, automotive industry sources said.”

    As far as the automakers, HD Radio does a double-whammy. First, they are expensive to install, then the dealerships have to spend time and money dealing with returns of these “defective” radios.

    “Others Challenge Blanket Increase”

    “The NAB is somewhat tainted with a majority of its Executive Board and eight to ten others on its Radio Board having invested money in the venture.”

    I finally found that article confirming my suspicions about CEOs being investors in iBiquity. Why would any automaker have dealings with iBiquity, given the expense and problems with HD Radio, except for corporate-wide mandates from CEOs. A house-of-cards that will eventually implode, probably after a potential iBiquity IPO. I wonder, if the DOJ will eventually get involved?

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