Why hasn't HD radio taken off in the household market? - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 115 Old 01-14-2015, 02:07 PM
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I still have a Boston Acoustic Recepter Radio HD and is probably one of the
Best ever made but it needs an external antenna for best reception. I had called
BA and spoke to a tech about if they were going to make a newer version and
he said no because of the need for an external antenna.

btw I use my local DTV antenna with excellent results.

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post #32 of 115 Old 01-27-2015, 10:34 AM
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I love the multi-font blue display on the Boston Recepter and the little speakers crank out a lot of sound. There are even equalizer settings hidden in the menus.

The Sony F1HD is by far the better receiver (even analog FM sounds close to digital in some cases) but the low contrast low resolution scrolling LCD looks like it belongs on a calculator.

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post #33 of 115 Old 01-28-2015, 05:42 AM
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I listenend to this so called "HD" radio in the car once...... Didnt sound good @ all!!!!! (I always disable it when it comes on)

Also XM/Sirius doesnt sound good either! (When listening thru thier radio in the car)
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post #34 of 115 Old 01-31-2015, 03:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Dude111 View Post
I listenend to this so called "HD" radio in the car once...... Didnt sound good @ all!!!!! (I always disable it when it comes on)

Also XM/Sirius doesnt sound good either! (When listening thru thier radio in the car)
Wow. Once. What was the station? Location? It's going to vary by broadcaster. Some in smaller markets may not have everything implemented correctly or may be multicasting to the point they're starving the main channel. I think in my entire Hybrid-digital experience, I've only encountered one FM station out of hundreds that "didn't sound good." The rest sound equal to or better than their analog transmissions. For me, the big difference is the separation. Multiplexed FM cannot deliver the separation a digital stream can. Find a CBS or iHeartMedia station. Both pay particular attention to detail in their hybrid digital installations and they sound very good. The difference is noticeable when the HD kicks in. Better dynamic range, higher highs, excellent separation.

I did notice from your post history you're a vinyl aficionado, which might have something to do with it. Fans of vinyl often don't care for digital reproductions.

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post #35 of 115 Old 02-02-2015, 11:57 AM
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Hehe ya got that right bud!!!!!!! (I love analogue)

I have listenend to Sirius and XM online and they sound OK (Like most other streams) ..... Just listening IN THE CAR OVER THIER RADIO sounds bad.... (Actual digital audio from thier radio??)
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post #36 of 115 Old 02-02-2015, 12:11 PM
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Find an FM station with a good digital plant and listen to them. Were you here, I'd suggest WCSX since Classic Rock seems to be your wheelhouse. I realize it's a digital stream and you hate digital, but the HD Radio broadcast is truer to the original album than multiplexed FM. Even an audiophile knows multiplex stereo FM cuts separation and adds hiss. Not to mention compression. Those are gone with HD Radio. Done right, that is.

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post #37 of 115 Old 02-05-2015, 01:39 PM
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All FM stations in my area (except for two community stations) use digital playout systems so there is literally no analog audio from them except for the DJ. Many shows on the community stations use laptops. One host admitted that he was using an iPhone (!).

Things have improved in recent years. Stations used to play MP2 files that were so poorly compressed you could easily hear swirly digital artifacts in FM stereo. Most stations broadcast PCM files now. Some still have a few MP2 files around and they sound extra horrible on HD Radio.

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post #38 of 115 Old 02-09-2015, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
Plenty have dropped digital or subchannels, but not because of poor ratings. Usually because they didn't want to mess with it or pay Ibiquity's fees.
Is the high cost partly due to Ibiquity's custom audio codec? My hunch is that both HD FM and XM would have been better off postponing their launch until 2006 when low bit rate AAC encoding was finished. And dumping the dumb idea of surround sound.

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Ever since our classical station added an HD2, it has sounded nearly identical to its analog FM. When it was using the entire 96 kbps, it sounded fantastic.
The wikipedia says that [URL = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HD_Radio]The HD Radio also provides several pure digital modes with up to 300 kbit/s bitrate, and enabling extra features like surround sound.[/URL]

These two facts do not necessarily contradict each other. 300 kbps is the total amount of data that can be broadcast and 96 kbps is the most on one channel?

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There was a time when the FCC would not allow a station to do anything that interfered with the reception of other stations.
According to the wikipedia: [URL = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AM_broadcasting] Moreover, to fit more transmitters on the MW broadcast band in the United States, maximum transmitted audio bandwidth is limited to 10.2 kHz by a National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC) standard adopted by the FCC in June 1989, resulting in a channel occupied bandwidth of 20.4 kHz. The former audio limitation was 15 kHz resulting in a channel occupied bandwidth of 30 kHz.[/URL]

Looks to me like analog AM needs to be limited to an audio bandwidth of 4 kHz.

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There are many stations I can no longer hear because the HD-sidebands of local stations now cover these stations with incessant "hiss".
This only affects distant stations on adjacent frequencies, not stations in the same market. It's the mantra of the anti-HD Radio crowd. Within a market, there's no interference from HD. There's still plenty from regular analog signals as there always has been. HD notwithstanding, if you're in St Louis and you're
trying to listen to a Springfield radio station, it's probably going to be knocked around by some other station. It's always been that way.
The analog and digital signal are on the same carrier frequency for the same station. Just like DSL traffic sounds like hiss without a filter, the analog signal of the same station must be noisier when broadcast in hybrid digital.

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Originally Posted by macdude22 View Post
The only HD radios on the market are either expensive components I'm not interested in or bottom feeding house brand garbage.
You're right, and I can't see any reason that a home HD radio tuner should be particularly expensive when a car stereo with HD radio built in costs $99. And you can see the expensive home tuners here.

Mods, can my wikipedia links be fixed?

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post #39 of 115 Old 02-10-2015, 03:07 PM
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The wikipedia says that The HD Radio also provides several pure digital modes with up to 300 kbit/s bitrate, and enabling extra features like surround sound.

These two facts do not necessarily contradict each other. 300 kbps is the total amount of data that can be broadcast and 96 kbps is the most on one channel?
That high bitrate is only for pure digital mode. No station would broadcast in this mode since there are few HD Radio receivers.

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post #40 of 115 Old 02-10-2015, 07:16 PM
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Something else I forgot to gripe about - PTY - Program Type Tuning is only available on analog channels! HD Radio is a new product with an obvious shortcoming over what it is trying to replace! While you're at it, how about at least as much metadata as a top notch Shoutcast internet radio channel! Artist, song, album, channel identification.

As discussed, the digital signal will appear as noise on the analog signal, and also vice versa. I bet that's why they had to increase the gain on the digital signals to make them receivable because if the bits get lost in the noise -they're just noise. That means someone didn't do their homework correctly. Broadcast power is part of the station's bill and people with MBA are supposed to do the cost accounting before this stuff goes to market.
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post #41 of 115 Old 02-14-2015, 10:35 PM
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Something else I forgot to gripe about - PTY - Program Type Tuning is only available on analog channels! HD Radio is a new product with an obvious shortcoming over what it is trying to replace! While you're at it, how about at least as much metadata as a top notch Shoutcast internet radio channel! Artist, song, album, channel identification.
Very few broadcasters in my city bother to pass all this information on digital or analog stations. This is not a problem with HD Radio. I assure you it can pass Artist, Song, Album and Station ID. One station here has chosen to go through the trouble to implement this. Most don't bother. They don't make money advertising albums.

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As discussed, the digital signal will appear as noise on the analog signal, and also vice versa.
No, analog will not appear as noise in digital audio.

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I bet that's why they had to increase the gain on the digital signals to make them receivable because if the bits get lost in the noise -they're just noise.
The FCC would call your bet.

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post #42 of 115 Old 02-15-2015, 07:08 AM
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Very few broadcasters in my city bother to pass all this information on digital or analog stations. This is not a problem with HD Radio. I assure you it can pass Artist, Song, Album and Station ID.
Here in Detroit, most pass Artist, Song, Album, Station information and some include the album cover.

As for making money, some stations will scroll information about an advertiser as that advertiser's message is playing much like what satellite radio does. The capability exists to include a sponsor's logo for those radios that can display the album covers. Don't know anybody doing THAT, yet. You think there are few HD Radios in the field, there are fewer ones that are equipped to do THAT.

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post #43 of 115 Old 02-16-2015, 12:13 PM
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As for making money, some stations will scroll information about an advertiser as that advertiser's message is playing much like what satellite radio does.
Our classical station scrolls text pleas for membership during fundraisers. You don't have to listen to the music to be a member.

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post #44 of 115 Old 02-16-2015, 01:10 PM
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Our classical station scrolls text pleas for membership during fundraisers. You don't have to listen to the music to be a member.
We scroll the 800-number during our annual St Jude Radiothon. And, for a while, I was sending out upcoming contests, hints to the trivia question and the like. The interface was cumbersome and in another room, so I sort of stopped doing that. It's easier to use, now, but between Facebook, two Twitter accounts, Instagram, SnapChat, AIM and texts, I really don't have much time during songs to fool with one more thing. I'm way busy in there.

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post #45 of 115 Old 02-17-2015, 03:24 PM
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Cool Need Of An External Antenna

I say it's both the radio manufacturers and stations because both go hand and hand. It's like which came first the chicken or the egg. I remember back in the early 90's all new radios were to made with AM Stereo and there was one in my new 1993 Ford T-Bird but there was only 1 station to listen to in AM Stereo in Philly which was KYW News. I really think just a few was made. To really flourish all new AM-FM should be made with HD-Radio reception then as the consumers replace older sets but that would be mainly in new cars or upgrade to a new car radio. Now another problem is that for home HD-Radio is a need for an outdoor antenna or some type indoor one to receive all HD station signals. Boston Acoustics stopped making Recepter Radio HD which I still own and is probable one of the best designed HDs because of the need for outdoor antenna. Thanks to the Fed Mandate of free digital tv broadcast I just connected a splitter and feed my Yamaha Receiver and Bostons Recepter. Awesome reception.


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post #46 of 115 Old 02-17-2015, 04:48 PM
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I remember back in the early 90's all new radios were to made with AM Stereo...
What? I looked and looked and looked for a AM Stereo receiver in the early 90's and only got laughed at.

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post #47 of 115 Old 02-17-2015, 07:12 PM
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Our classical station scrolls text pleas for membership during fundraisers. You don't have to listen to the music to be a member.
Yep, there's only one HD station in my town...it scrolls advertisements all day. No song info, just advertising.
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post #48 of 115 Old 02-17-2015, 07:13 PM
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Thumbs up AM Stereo

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What? I looked and looked and looked for a AM Stereo receiver in the early 90's and only got laughed at.
Yep! If I remember correctly only Ford had AM Stereo. I remember tuning on KYW and I heard the electric typewriter sounds in stereo. Now they have AM HD and also rebroadcast on WYSP FM HD-2 it's not in stereo. Several AM HD stations in Philly are rebroadcasting on the FM HD stations. The most beautiful thing about AM HD is the noise reduction. I am a fan of HD Radio since 2007 JVC HDR1 and after JVC AHD39 now have a Pioneer AVH-4000NEX in my car now which is awesome. At home my Yamaha RX-A1000 with HD and Net Radios, Boston Acoustics Recepter and my Grace Mondo Net Radio.


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post #49 of 115 Old 02-18-2015, 08:41 AM
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Yep! If I remember correctly only Ford had AM Stereo.
I was talking about radios, not cars.

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post #50 of 115 Old 02-18-2015, 09:44 AM
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Yep, there's only one HD station in my town...it scrolls advertisements all day. No song info, just advertising.
Did you call them? Give me the town and the station. Love to see if they're selling that or if the computer's hung. Ours said every song was "I Love This Bar" by Toby Keith for a whole weekend, once.

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post #51 of 115 Old 02-18-2015, 10:10 AM
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I am thinking of buying one of these on ebay. However, I live in a remote valley 55 mile from San Diego and I'm not sure I would be able to get the digital signal. I can get a number of FM stations with a decent sounding signal, although not perfect. Is there any way to estimate my chances without risking $60 to $100 buying one on ebay. Also, if I wanted to put an external antenna on the Sony XDR-S3HD for instance, what type of antenna works with these?

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post #52 of 115 Old 02-18-2015, 11:46 AM
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AM Stereo In My 1993 Ford T-Bird

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I was talking about radios, not cars.


Well that's were the AM Stereo radio was!


Thank You


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post #53 of 115 Old 02-18-2015, 12:03 PM
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Well that's were the AM Stereo radio was!
No kidding. I don't remember any home units, though I managed to get a tuner chip that was compatible with the receiver I had. I never got around to installing it. Mostly because the whole AM side of the tuning circuitry was mono, so it was going to take quite a bit of soldering to make it work. I still have the chip, somewhere.

Biggest problem was deciding on a system. You had some radio stations broadcasting the Kahn system and others doing C-Quam. I think there were two other flavors, as well. By the time the dust settled, AM was no longer viable for music formats, making AM Stereo largely moot. My employer at the time had spent a small fortune doing up his AM facility in stereo and doing it right. New transmitter. Everything. He couldn't afford to pick the wrong system, so he waited. By the time C-Quam came out the winner, the landscape had changed. Writing was already on the wall. Never went stereo.

But, hey, didn't those ball games sound great with stereo crowd microphones? Now THOSE are on FM, too.

MK18Clone: I'm waiting for a response from the station's CE. As I suspected, nobody had reported it.

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post #54 of 115 Old 02-19-2015, 08:45 AM
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What regulation restricted AM Stereo to automobile receivers? There's no technical reason preventing anyone from building AM Stereo receivers. I remember Motorola manufactured a cheap C-Quam decoder chip that made it very easy to implement.

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post #55 of 115 Old 02-24-2015, 07:09 PM
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No kidding. I don't remember any home units, though I managed to get a tuner chip that was compatible with the receiver I had. I never got around to installing it. Mostly because the whole AM side of the tuning circuitry was mono, so it was going to take quite a bit of soldering to make it work. I still have the chip, somewhere.
My favorite was the Carver TX-11a, which had AM stereo (C-QUAM) sound quality very near that of FM stereo stations.

Unfortunately no local stations really broadcast anything with any fidelity on AM stereo so it was a bit of a chicken/egg issue, but one 50s/60s oldies station at the time I had my tuner really, really sounded good with nice frequency response and separation.

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post #56 of 115 Old 02-27-2015, 09:28 AM
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I live in the Philadelphia area and we have quite a few good HD stations, I have tuners at home and the quality is good.
I also have it in one of my cars and when you can tune it in, the quality is also good.


I have noticed that quite a few of the newer cars 2014-2015 have built in HD radio tuners.
Unfortunately I believe HD radio will die out soon, I personally will miss it.
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post #57 of 115 Old 02-27-2015, 10:47 AM
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Not sure it'll die out soon unless broadcasters get tired of licensing fees. I'm noticing a lot more companies simulcasting a stream on FM subchannels. We do that and sell it. Makes enough money that there's no benefit in shutting it off. It's like TV station subchannels. Not enough people watching OTA to make it sellable.. but give that subchannel a slot on a cable system and suddenly it's worth SOMEthing, even if it's a value-added spiff for a regular advertiser.

While I feel the multicasting isn't going to achieve commercial success, I kinda think hybrid digital on FM main channels is going to be around for a while longer. When you sell sound, you want yours to be the best sound. And when a third of the cars on the road have HD radio, you don't want your station to be the one that sounds "a little muddy" to listeners. I know this because I've watched insane amounts of money spent on audio processing with every leap in the quality of receivers.

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post #58 of 115 Old 02-28-2015, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
Wow. Once. What was the station? Location? It's going to vary by broadcaster. Some in smaller markets may not have everything implemented correctly or may be multicasting to the point they're starving the main channel. I think in my entire Hybrid-digital experience, I've only encountered one FM station out of hundreds that "didn't sound good." The rest sound equal to or better than their analog transmissions. For me, the big difference is the separation. Multiplexed FM cannot deliver the separation a digital stream can. Find a CBS or iHeartMedia station. Both pay particular attention to detail in their hybrid digital installations and they sound very good. The difference is noticeable when the HD kicks in. Better dynamic range, higher highs, excellent separation.

I did notice from your post history you're a vinyl aficionado, which might have something to do with it. Fans of vinyl often don't care for digital reproductions.
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I listenend to this so called "HD" radio in the car once...... Didnt sound good @ all!!!!! (I always disable it when it comes on)

Also XM/Sirius doesnt sound good either! (When listening thru thier radio in the car)


I have to agree with Dude111, HD FM quality for most stations is terrible. I bought a nice avr (Marantz SR7007) and chose that model v/s another only because it had hd fm and what a big let down it has been. The heavily compressed sound is almost unlistenable. Heck even other compressed sources like Pandora, Spotify, Internet Radio (all on the same avr) sound much better. This in my opinion is failure of hd fm, not due to the technology as much as the operators, because there are a couple of stations that sound good though.
I am in the Minneapolis area and 97.1, 94.5 sound terrible. In contrast 99.5 and 89.3 sound very good.


As for the original question of this thread - why hasnt it taken off ? I think its primarily because I dont think many people realize that hd fm provides more channels. They just think HD = better sound and they are already satisfied with the sound they get on fm so there is no motivation to upgrade. Well I guess Even if they knew there are more channels they already have tons of music options(apps) on their phone already. Secondly and equally accountable is the fact there are really very few affordable devices, especially home and mobile(not car) listening devices, that have hd fm.

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post #59 of 115 Old 02-28-2015, 11:06 AM
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So, by "most" you mean TWO stations in Minneapolis.

Come to Detroit. Ride around in my truck where I can A/B Pandora with local digital FMs. The quality difference is noticeable. Then let me A/B SiriusXM where the quality difference is night and day (except on SXM classical channels which I'm told get more bandwidth). It's not being done right everywhere, but to sample one or two stations and assume every hybrid digital station therefore "sounds terrible" is irresponsible. Some broadcasters are always going to be better than others. Why not test your theory in a town where it's done correctly? Heck, try Tulsa. I tuned all over the dial in my rental last time I was there and, of the HD broadcasters, just one was a little distorted and another (AM HD) sounded like RealAudio on a dial-up internet connection. Ugh. The rest were top notch.

Why hasn't it taken off? Typical chicken-and-egg. Plus, I think - just like AM Stereo - HD came a little late to the party. There were already other avenues for alternative programming. Plus, programmers were afraid to actively promote subchannel programming for fear of stealing listeners from the main. ESPN put prime programming on ESPN2 until cable operators HAD to add it to keep up with the demand. Radio would not do that. So, few radios were sold because there was no programming and nobody put on primo programming because there weren't any radios in the market.

Sidebar: We've tried doing exclusive content. We once did a surprise meet-and-greet with country group Rascal Flatts that was only publicized on our subchannel. Had about 30 people show up which wasn't bad for 2009. We've also tracked entire albums on day of release, run live concert captures, done album giveaways and the like. We've TRIED to offer out-of-market sports (Ohio State, Central Michigan and some others) but the schools wanted the main channel or nothing. So.. it's nothing.

I have to admit, CBS is miles ahead of the curve on this if there is a curve. In our market, alone, we have a number of niche subchannels that all turn a decent profit, though - admittedly - more from online listening than HD, though we've had HD streams show up in the ratings.

The automotive cycle is a slow one. Time from inception to production is often YEARS. We finally have a significant number of automobile models with either standard or optional HD Radios. So, the concentration, now, is not going to be on subchannels so much as making the main sound better than ever. That generally starts in large markets with large operators and trickles down. It will eventually get to the two stations you're having trouble with (Or perhaps you need to contact those stations and complain). Still, there's no way to measure how many people are listening to the main via HD vs analog. So, it could be taking off in cars and we just can't tell, yet. (I should double-check, but I'm pretty certain the PPM encoding for our analog and HD1 is the same. Even, if not, it wouldn't be split out in the ratings reports I'm privy to).

Though, when you look at percentages, streaming radio isn't mainstream, either. Not by a longshot. I have yet to meet one person who streams music in his or her car. Therefore, using your math, nobody streams in their cars.

You might also try a different radio. I purchased an Inisgnia tuner to add to my rack.. and every station in town splattered and sounded distorted. Since I work in the industry and I know what the sound is like at the source, I knew that HAD to be the receiver. Benched it at work where we have tuners of every make and model. An identical Insignia fed into our testing gear using TOSLINK sounded perfect. My unit was clipping. No idea why. Sent it back.

Walking the fine line between jaw-dropping and a plain ol' yawn.

Last edited by DrDon; 02-28-2015 at 11:35 AM.
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post #60 of 115 Old 02-28-2015, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
So, by "most" you mean TWO stations in Minneapolis.
.....
Why not test your theory in a town where it's done correctly.
....
I have yet to meet one person who streams music in his or her car. Therefore, using your math, nobody streams in their cars.
...
You might also try a different radio.

No I was not basing it out of "two" stations and you know that. Those two are the ones I listen to most often. What were you expecting ? that I list every station on the dial here ?


If you read my next sentence right after the sentence that you held me against, you can tell that theory has already been tested! and that shoots down your next suggestion about trying a different radio as well. btw, fwiw, I had a sangean tuner that I used an outboard dac via toslink. The better the dac and the amplifier the more pronounced the compression, that is worse sounding.


Practically every new car has Pandora and Sirius/XM in it and by now who knows maybe Spotify etc. too. How do you think people might be using that other than streaming ? How exactly do you think people might be using other apps like iHeart or iTunes Radio or many such more in their cars ? Sirius/XM is the absolute worst sounding service I have ever heard. I couldn't stay on a channel for more than 5 mins.
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