The engineering wags on radio-info.com discussion board are having a field day with the latest blurb on Inside Radio:
Carmine5: This blurb from Inside Radio:
“HD Radio receivers will take a step toward the iPod and smartphone over the next few months as the first units go on sale offering a visual element tied to the on-air product. It should open doors for programmers and sales teams. It comes as the number of receivers in the market now tops three million.”
Yup, I can just see the thundering herd of eager consumers, credit cards in hand, busting down the doors of their local Best Buys eager to purchase these new display equipped HD Radios.
Savage: A “visual element??” Well, I guess….why not? The “audio element” isn’t working, at least not for many if not most. (From posts on this board, it appears even the vaunted Insignia low-bucks portable has quality and performance issues.)The number of receivers “now tops three million?” Uh-huh. And the number of receivers in daily use is probably about three hundred.
Chuck: I think they’ve been beaten to the punch by streaming radio stations. A lot of stations, including mine, offer free iphone apps right now. I’m sure others will follow. You don’t have to be in HD to do that. I can’t imagine why anyone would buy a new radio to see graphics along with your radio ads . . . Oh, wait. Isn’t that called TV? You can do that on your smart phone too . . .
Carmine5: Here again it’s HD Radio as an also-ran technology.
If Ibiquity is envisioning this feature as something to simulate an iPod experience, they’re about 9 years too late. If they see this as a way to show display ads that stations can monetize, well Apple has something similar with iAd and, so far, it’s been a flop. And if they’re thinking of doing mobile TV, well I don’t see how FM stations would have sufficient bandwidth to do that while retaining the core services of an analog signal and digital main signal (oh, that’s right I forgot. HD Radio can miraculously turn 200 kHz of bandwidth into 400 kHz).
Savage: Yep: it’s like the old standup line:
Q: How can you quickly make a million bucks in HD Radio? A: Invest 3 million (fire “RIMSHOT” on rattling old grey Fidelipac).
Bill DeFelice: I think it can all be summed up quite simply ….
Q: The Next Killer App for HD Radio?
A: The OFF SWITCH
From all the people I speak with on a weekly basis, from students to hobbyists to radio enthusiasts, HD Radio isn’t on their radar. Those looking for a variety of content look toward the internet. Those looking for news and information look to AM, usually on an existing and non-HD radio (do you really need HD for voice?). DX chasing hobbyists on either AM or FM have nothing nice to say about HD Radio. Many of these people will not miss HD Radio when it fails and some will actually look forward to the end result of less interference to other existing analog stations.
Carmine5: Ouch, Bill and Mr. Savage!
And I don’t mean to come down on HD Radio for this idea, it’s harmless enough. It’s just so . . . “me too” and not very innovative. But who knows how it will be used in future receivers.
Bill has the right idea. More and more owners of HD Radios and engineers are asking for a defeat switch right on the front bezel of the radio so that digital decoding can be cancelled when reception becomes a problem. The next killer app for HD Radio? A kill switch.Advertisements