Originally Posted by W1KNE
So what is it going to take? Here are my thoughts on how it can succeed.
• Reduce or eliminate the "fees", so broadcasters with less money can install the gear within their budget.
• Make it mandatory on all car radios. No "high end only" like many are doing now. All of them.
• Do promotional tools to make listeners want to hear the HD2 (give away tickets to concerts, prizes, etc. exclusive on the HD2). Do an "HD2" weekend. Flip your primary station's format on a weekend to the format of the HD2, and promote that "if you want to hear more of this, use an HD radio..."
• Create a better online database of HD radio stations. HD Radio's website is so woefully inaccurate that people are being mislead as to who is or isn't.
• Engineer HD better. Use the tools and powers to make it sound great, and jump out at you. Make sure it is PERFECTLY TIME ALIGNED at all times. Nothing I hate more than a station who's HD is off, especially when its like half a second or so.
When we see these things happen, then the technology can be something. Otherwise, it's going to continue to chug along like a stale technology and go the route of AM stereo and quadraphonic sound.
Let me throw in my 2 cents (long ago engineering director at a small FM station)...I have an HD Radio (sony) in the house. It is near the still-working LaserDisc player.
It hardly gets used.
First of all FM has become irrelevent to us because of satellite radio. XM is in the house and each car. The sound quality is horrible on XM but the programming is so much better than the local FM and much of that has to do with the variety available. So for me, having HD radio provide a better quality FM doesn't really solve the main problem.
However, I care about audio quality - my new vehicle will have a DVD-Audio player in it and we have a good sized DVD-Audio / SACD collection for the house. So HD gets a bonus point or two here.
However, there are so many people who now listen to MP3s at incredibly low quality that I can't see how just having better audio quality will matter. So, that brings us to the multicasting.
The subchannels are great but I don't know what is on in this market. Any list I've seen is already obsolete by the time I find it. On XM, I have a fairly good idea of what type of music I'll be able to hear. And, of course, there are those commercials (which in exchange for not having to listen to them, I instead pay a yearly fee to XM).
If HD was to survive (and I don't think it will), the following would be required (IMHO):
1) HD radio is a replacement for FM, not an addition to FM (or AM). FCC must phase out analog broadcasts and replace only with digital. This would force user acceptance as well as getting those little stations to upgrade.
2) Reduce fees to levels that are equivalent to the percentage of revenue that HDTV broadcasters are charged. The increased number of HD stations would make up for the loss.
3) If high quality audio is a goal, then don't go half-way. Let's move to a 5.1-channel standard but still CD quality. Maybe that would also reinvigorate the surround sound music industry, which has become a niche, as well. Bottom line is to give the consumer something they can't get with analog.
4) Along those lines - make a nationally maintained list of subchannels a responsibility of the FCC. This database is then open to the public as a way of finding out what is available on HD. Again, show the consumer the things that HD radio can provide that they don't have already.
And, that's the biggest problem...HD radio doesn't provide anything right now that the average consumer doesn't already have that they actually want (or can't get somewhere else).
HD Radio = AM Stereo for the 2010s
Finally, I had a salesman try to sell me on HD Radio for an auto. He just kept saying "it's digital" but could really provide nothing more concrete than that as to why I would want it. Of course since it was built-into the car's stereo it really would have been a "throw-in" but, by itself, not worth any price.
The worse thing is I see the HD Radio nearly every day and almost never have a want/desire to see what's on it.