The Din of iNiquity

More about the “pseudo news” of Apple glomming onto HD technology, this time on Mark Ramsey’s Hear 2.0 in a piece entitled “The dark secret iBiquity doesn’t want you to know.” His remarks in themselves mirror what’s been said on the alter blogs (those not buying slavishly into the IBOC swag):

Hot in the news is a new patent application from Apple for what has been portrayed as HD Radio capability in iPods or possibly even iPhones.What’s left out of the news is one important point: We’re talking about an accessory here — not a core functional piece of the iPod hardware. That’s abundantly clear from the title of Apple’s application and completely missed by most of the radio industry trades: “Digital Radio Tagging Using an RF Tuner Accessory.”

An accessory is what you call shoes and a purse. It’s not part of the dress itself.

The significance, of course, is that an accessory is optional. It doesn’t piggyback on the product and thus isn’t sold when the product is sold, isn’t bought when the product is bought, and isn’t used when the product is used….

It doesn’t matter how many — or which — devices contain HD radio. What matters is how many consumers use HD radio.

Repeat that and make it your new mantra. Because the makers of HD radio are bent on proving the viability of their product by emphasizing the number of devices that are designed to contain it rather than the number of consumers that care to use it.

A website reaches, by definition, billions of consumers. And if none of those consumers access the website, it’s value is zero.

It’s in the comments where the heavy artillery is brought to bear, with Florida’s Paul Zecchino leading off:

Isn’t this vintage iNiquity? Isn’t this precisely how this Hah-vud smart cabal pulls its tricks, by means of a whole lotta noise?

Everywhere one turns, when it comes to iNiquity, isn’t it all about noise? Here again, aren’t we hearing noise and more noise with respect to this iPod announcment? Isn’t the metaphor about shoes and purse perfectly fitting?

When you turn your radio dial to cruise formerly pristine AM and FM bands, don’t you hear increasing, vomitose, toxic, sour chunks of iNiquity’s obnoxious “iBLOC jamming” noise? On AM isn’t that rattlesnake-hissing sound that drowns your favorite AM station courtesy of iBLOC’s failed, serially superseded, hammered-to-fit “technology,” to use the term loosely?

And when you slide around FM, isn’t that irksome buzzing noise which obliterates your favorite FM stations in fact what many broadcast engineers refer to as “IBUZZ,” the noxious and illegal result of the FCC’s ill con$idered deci$ion to allow this foolish, self-serving jamming system to commit what amounts to state-sponsored jamming of you, the citizen’s, airwaves?

How much longer will this charade be allowed to continue? Likely a while, as iNiquity has a knack for keeping the wheels greased, doesn’t it?

On the other hand, your influence counts — use it.

Next up is Greg, with this:

“It doesn’t matter how many — or which — devices contain HD radio. What matters is how many consumers use HD radio.”

Ultimately, that is true, but iBiquity does profit also through royalties paid to include HD Radio on devices. Thank you for calling out this one, as this was really hyped, first through AppleInsider, then through the radio trades and other press releases.

As with the failed Zune HD, which couldn’t be marketed outside the U.S., due to directly including HD Radio, I can’t imagine Apple ever including it directly. Adding analog FM-tuners to the iPod Nano probably did not boost sales, either. Analog FM-tuners in cell phones are to become the global standard, so directly adding HD Radio makes no sense. HD Radio chipsets are still power-hogs, run hot, and reception is still generally problematic. Analog FM-tuners with tagging are probably dirt cheap.

Then it’s “Industry Insider,” with this to add:

Greg touched on it, but the fact is — it doesn’t matter in the long scheme of things how many broadcasters broadcast HD Radio technology. The main business model of iBiquity is royalties from the sales of millions upon millions of HD Radio radio receivers and HD Radio decoding chipsets which also have royalties to iBiquity. Once these receivers are sold, it matters not whether the listener tunes in HD Radio broadcasts. But at some point, if there isn’t something (good content) to compel the listener to purchase the receiver, wouldn’t this ultimately stymie receiver sales?

Sure, iBiquity receives royalties from broadcasters (as well as equipment manufacturers) on each broadcast system sold. But the end game is receiver sales.

To which Mark Ramsey replies:

True enough.

But if receiver sales matter to them you’d never know it by their strategies.

So continues the saga of Bob Struble and his snake-oil sales. In a post on Radio Ink, Greg from adds this bit of information:

The Internet is full of half-truths that people don’t bother to check out. The patent application under discussion was filed February 19, 2009. It clearly describes an accessory to a media player. This disclosure relates generally to radio transmissions, and more specifically to RF tuner accessories that communicate with a media player such as a portable media device. It is a follow-on patent application to HD Tagging in an RF Tuner Accessory, by the same inventors, filed December 14, 2008. That’s iTunes tagging — the radio receiver accessory and the iPhone/iPod PMD. iTunes tagging in actual hardware was introduced in January 2008 at MacWorld, and you have a year to file the patent after the first public enabling disclosure. What the later patent concerns is enhanced modes of interaction between the accessory and the PMD. It’s already on the shelf. It’s iTunes tagging.


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