Why hasn't HD radio taken off in the household market? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 02-14-2014, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Or any market for that matter. Even in cars it is far from becoming the standard

I have an alpline HD receiver in my car, a model I bought right when it came out for under 200 dollars and I found the HD quality to be a significant improvement. Additionally many sub channels are commercial free. It seems like very few avrs that have a tuner built in have hd radio tuners built in. I see that there are separates but they are over 100 dollars by themselves. It's not very expensive according to the mobile market pricing, it doesn't take up much physical space or power (the head unit form factor is very small but unit had same power specs/cd player, etc), and while it's not always "CD quality sound" unless the station makes it that way, it has the potential to be and every station I heard easily had better high frequency fidelity in the digital signal.

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post #2 of 30 Old 02-14-2014, 10:21 AM
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I'd argue that, at this point, it's easier to just stream the station.

For ≈$80 you can get a Grace Solo and stream whatever station you'd like. There are other streamers, too.

Picking up radio signals inside the home is more trouble than it's worth. I have a Denon receiver with HD Radio that I picked up a few years back. It also is XM Ready and I have the parts to make XM work. I haven't had the XM or HD Radio bits hooked up in over a year because the Grace Solo gets the signal in via internet in a much easier way.

I had HD Radio in my car back in 2005-2008 or so and it was not a good experience. I know that some signals have been boosted since then but, in reality, the normal AM/FM works fine in my car. I thought that the sub stations were kind of cool but I never listened to them and I don't know anyone else who has (apart from a forum like this).

I still think, and I've been saying this for years, that your average person doesn't know anything about HD Radio and that's kind of sad considering how long it's been out.
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post #3 of 30 Old 02-14-2014, 12:31 PM
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Brad's right. With no significant marketing effort and little exclusive must-have programming, HD Radio simply hasn't taken off. What's funny is that the media companies know how to do this. Wanna watch the Thursday night NFL Games? Well, you had to bug your cable company until they added the NFL Network. ESPN-2 started this whole way of thinking and it's been used successfully by just about every cable network that launched a sibling... Big Ten Network, Fox Sports 1, NBC Sports.... you put gotta-have programming on a channel nobody can get and watch the demand force carriage.

HD Radio should have done the same thing. But instead of thinking about extending a stations brand among 2 or 3 subchannels, most program directors feared losing ratings on their main channel and pretty much ignored it. The thought of sending people to another station - even one of your own - runs contrary to radio programmers' natures. Without demand, sales of radios didn't take off. Without radios in the field, few stations programmed compelling content. Chicken... egg. Since the automobile market runs in such a long cycle, HD Radios are just now appearing en masse. I remember AM Stereo was already a non-factor when AM Stereo radios turned up in automotive premium sound systems. But many of them stayed on. HD Radio will probably do the same. The prominence ship may already have sailed, but the sun hasn't set on it. If nothing else, the improved sound quality of the main channel makes the technology worth keeping. Subchannels? I dunno. Niche programming, maybe? That's how we're approaching it. I like the way some Christian stations are doing it. Mainstream Christian music on the main, Block programming on HD2 and preachin' preachin' and more preachin' on HD3. Pretty brilliant, really.

And, as Brad says, while radio programmers were ignoring HD Radio, streaming began to come into its own. All that must-have programming that should have been locked up by radio programmers went to the internet. The thought HAD been, "Nobody's going to get reliable internet in their car." Guess programmers didn't see smartphones coming, huh?

CBS (the company I work for) maintains quite a commitment to HD Radio. But now, the subchannels we program are sampled more through the radio.com and tunein apps than through actual radios. Which is fine. Ears are ears and CBS gets the ad revenue either way.

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post #4 of 30 Old 02-15-2014, 06:05 AM
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It's also interesting that HDTV has a similar problem with sub channels. Few watch them and mostly, at best, it's TV Land type entertainment that isn't very compelling. As DrDon stated for HDRadio, it seems like they could be used and marketed for other things. Instead, they seem like afterthoughts. I don't think I've ever heard them mentioned on the main channel either in the news or even a little promo flash card between commercials. It's more of a, "If you happen to find it and want to watch Dennis the Mennis from 1960, then there you go."

Back to HDRadio - I even contemplated about putting HDRadio back into my car a year or so back. I'd have to buy either a new head unit or some kind of device to add it. I thought about it and decided, "You know, FM works pretty well when I'm local," and it really does. The signal is clear, it's in a car so fidelity is going to be limited, anyway. I don't really have any interest in the sub channels. It was really, "Why bother?"

Oh, one other thing about sub channels: It always seemed odd how you'd get to them, not terrible, just odd. In the radios that I had it was like:
(tune up is "->" for this example, '...' means wait a sec or two while it locks)

-> 96.1 ...HD1 -> HD2 -> HD3 -> ... 98.5 ... HD1

There's really nothing wrong with doing it that way it just seemed like it ended up putting an odd stop while scanning through the channels because it had to lock and then you had to cycle through the sub channels before going onto the next station so it made scanning take longer and seem like a bit more work.

It seemed to me that a better way would have been to have a separate button to cycle through the sub channels. It's a pretty minor point.
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post #5 of 30 Old 02-15-2014, 06:42 AM
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Thing with the television subs is ..they can be monetized. Not sure about every market, but here a lot of the subchannels are carried on the local cable systems. Pretty easy to go to an advertiser and claim his ads can be seen in 400-thousand households. And actual ratings can quantify viewership. Granted, it's not many, but it's enough that a network such as "This" or "Movies!" can make enough money to keep the doors open. Local stations can use the avails they get as value-added spots for the regular clients of the main channel. The local station doesn't have to make anything. The network provides the programming for free and the local station hangs on to a slice of the local cable pie. I've already seen instances where the subchannel network was pre-empted for a sports telecast or big network programming was put on the subchannel because the main was in wall-to-wall weather coverage. Point is, viewers have the hardware to tune the subchannels and enough do that they break even.

HD Radio ran into another unexpected problem. It was thought that, with demand from the HD Coalition's advertising, HD converters would sell. And they might have except that - at the same time - GPS devices were claiming dashboard space. I don't know about you, but one suction-cup box stuck to the inside of my windshield is plenty. And the windshield's not a great place for a computer. Heat claimed four Visteon units for me. And, after the first one, I moved the next three down to an ashtray. Still got too hot in the truck over the summer and they cooked.

Strangely, noncommercial radio stations are making the best use of the technology. A lot of public stations are keeping classical fans happy with a subchannel while they run through the usual NPR fare on the main. And a few repeat NPR or local public affairs programming on an HD3.

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post #6 of 30 Old 02-15-2014, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, the tuning delay is a nuisance, also you can't save a subchannel as a preset.
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normal AM/FM works fine in my car.

Yes I've heard a lot of analog radios that seem to have decent fidelity, but with the hd radio the difference was so great when it switched from analog to digital that I swear that in the HD units they designed the the analog tuner poorly to increase the contrast.

How about broadcast power? Is digital more efficient in terms of the carrier wave? If so it would be surprising that there wasn't more of a government push for it to switch over, with the intent of eventually becoming mandatory like ota dtv.

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post #7 of 30 Old 02-16-2014, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCA Dimensia View Post

Yeah, the tuning delay is a nuisance, also you can't save a subchannel as a preset.
That depends on the radio, but yeah, in most cases, it's clunky.
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How about broadcast power? Is digital more efficient in terms of the carrier wave? If so it would be surprising that there wasn't more of a government push for it to switch over, with the intent of eventually becoming mandatory like ota dtv.
Thing is, the government wouldn't gain anything useful by mandating a switchover. Radio would still occupy the same bandwidth. Given the much higher number of radio stations and the fact they're geographically closer, I doubt any new frequency assignment plan would vacate enough of the FM band to be worth anything. Plus, with television, you still have millions of Americans watching old televisions fed through cable boxes or converters. That's not going to work with the millions of older cars on the road. Not to mention the millions of clock radios, boom boxes and Walkmen. Any kind of forced analog shutoff would cut radio's audience down to a fraction of what it is now, leaving it unable to make a profit.

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post #8 of 30 Old 02-16-2014, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCA Dimensia View Post

Yeah, the tuning delay is a nuisance, also you can't save a subchannel as a preset.
Yes I've heard a lot of analog radios that seem to have decent fidelity, but with the hd radio the difference was so great when it switched from analog to digital that I swear that in the HD units they designed the the analog tuner poorly to increase the contrast.

Years ago, when I had HDRadio in my car, it did sound better when it was digital, there's no denying that. The problems I had at the time (Atlanta, GA) were:
- it'd switch back and forth between digital and analog. Oddly my signal was worse inside the perimeter (beltway) for Atlanta stations than outside.
- at the time, when it did switch back and forth, not all stations had lined up the analog and digital signals so they were out of synch by a second or so. They've since fixed this and you could tell that they were working on it back then.
- The switching between analog and digital, even when things were synch'd up, was still jarring to me.

Now, I know that since then that they've increased the power on the digital transmissions and that should help with the digital signal. The problem is, it's not enough to make me go back.

In my home with my HDRadios (yep, more than one) it actually worked quite well because when you got a signal it'd just lock on and it sounded better than analog (no fading or weirdness to deal with, it just worked). The problem there is that I end up with antennas floating around my place (I'd just tape them to the wall with painters tape) and when I finally gave up and decided to go with streaming, it just was a better, overall, experience.

I think that they would have had better luck:
- making it more robust in the beginning. When I bought a new car in 2009 I should have really wanted HDRadio in it from my previous experience. That wasn't the case. My previous experience, while not horrible, wasn't great. It didn't feel ready for prime time.
- making it ubiquitous in new cars, home stereos, and portable radios by around 2007-2009. Not as an upgrade. Not as part of some premium sound package. It should have been as common and expected as AM/FM. You may not have known you were buying a radio with HDRadio, but you would have figured it out fairly quickly.
- Maybe they should have stayed away from "HD". Remember back then when everything was "HD" because of the tradition of TV to HDTV. I remember that there were infomercials for "HD Sunglasses". I think something simpler like Digital FM or Digital AM would have been the wiser choice.

Here it is 10+ years later and you still have to seek out a HD Radio. So you have to know what it is and then pick from a small subset of the market to get it (example: Oh, this home stereo has everything I want just how I want it - except it doesn't have HDRadio... - that's a problem).

HDRadio will probably linger for a while and slowly die off like AM Stereo. I rent cars fairly frequently so I'm exposed to late-model cars and what I see is:
- AM/FM
- CD Player (Still??)
- MP3 capabilities
- Aux In - great!
- RDS - to varying degrees of success.
- Sat Radio (Sirius/XM) - about 1/3 of the rental cars seem to have it hooked up. I don't ask for it but they give me a car with it from time to time. I don't remember seeing a car that wasn't at least Sat-Ready in a bunch of years.
- Bluetooth for connecting to your phone - and some of that stuff works really well - all of that data/album art stuff shows up. It's really nice.

I've never been in a car, outside of my own 5 years back when I put an aftermarket radio in it, with HDRadio. That's pretty telling to me.

Also telling is that most people know what satellite radio is. They either have it, have a friend who has it, or have at least heard about it, even though it's really not advertised like it used to be. It's kind of ubiquitous in the culture, now. The same isn't true for HDRadio, again, 10+ years later. "Is that some kind of satellite-like thing I have to pay for?" - is about the most informed response you'll get from someone on the street.
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post #9 of 30 Old 02-16-2014, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your great input guys. To testify as a true failure, are there any examples of station that had an hd signal and subchannels that dropped the signal, or even just a subchannel? Because it had such poor ratings. Can they differentiate which listensers are analog vs digital?

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post #10 of 30 Old 02-16-2014, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCA Dimensia View Post

Thanks for your great input guys. To testify as a true failure, are there any examples of station that had an hd signal and subchannels that dropped the signal, or even just a subchannel? Because it had such poor ratings. Can they differentiate which listensers are analog vs digital?
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. But not because of ratings. Rare is the case any subchannel has even shown up in the ratings. As I said previously, the smart operators also stream their subs and sell ads across the cluster. Example: Our HD2 stream runs the same commercials in the same timeframe as most of the other CBS subchannels. Of course, if you listen over-the-air, you don't hear those ads on every channel. The talk subchannels we had sold block time, so they actually made money, but with the increased automobile radio penetration, we're moving away from that and back toward music services. In Detroit, people get new cars every couple of years. So, we'll have a significant number of cars with HD long before the rest of the country does.

But I digress.

Yes, they can tell if you're listening to a subchannel. All of our subs have their own Nielsen encoders. And that includes the streams. They cannot tell if you're listening to the main channel in analog or digital. For ratings purposes, that doesn't matter.

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post #11 of 30 Old 02-17-2014, 04:01 PM
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You can't go into Walmart or similar type store and find a decent table top radio, yet alone HD Radio. Most radios and boom boxes now lack the external antenna connection on the back which will help you get better reception. That flimsy little pig tail string most radios now have just doesn't provide for good reception. You need a radio with a good tuner and the standard coaxial cable input so you can connect rabbit ears or a good antenna. And when you go in most stores, you will not likely find an HD Radio at all. Only an Insignia model may still be available at some Best Buys. I got an Accurian HD Radio at Radioshack which is a great radio, as well as the Sony HD Radios. Good luck finding one now.
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post #12 of 30 Old 02-24-2014, 06:19 PM
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As sad as the virtual non-adoption of HD Radio may be, in its sacrifice, amazingly great strides in receiver design have prevailed. The signal processing standard,compelled receiver designers to employ extremely tight/ selective IF pass-bands for their HD capable receiver offerings.. Everything about FM reception benefited as a result. “Great FM reception” had its first shot in the arm since the advent of aggressive front ends in the “Super Tuners” of the late 70's. It caused mainstream adoption of better front end designs IN GENERAL which is what it takes to hift the technical culture of device offering enough for UNILATERAL BENEFIT, just like MTS compelled better audio standards for OTA Television audio prior to digitization. (Remember when most TV audio was compressed TO DEATH and flung at your ears like it was some natural audio delicacy??? MTS changed the culture. The theme was “prepare for cinematic sound, OR get laughed out of town). Anyone lucky enough to have built-in FM HD Radio I their vehicle, surely has benefited from reduced “signal path” multi-path in digital mode where there is sufficient signal.. Unfortunately, the opposite is true in terms of the actual RF ecology. Digital sidebands can't help themselves from self inter-modulation with the main analog signal as signal reception strength versus receiver signal bandwidth wavers based upon the effective capture ratio of more poorly designed FM portable devices*. All in all, greater selectivity as part of the HD radio receiver design standards, means better FM recovery as well. * I am guessing and have offered a layman's opinion of what I think happens to fringy FM reception of HD Radio signals in purely analog mode on less sensitive/selective analog receivers such as personal portables. First adjacent interference is greatly reduced while traveling long enough distances to leave primary radio markets. What was once almost interpreted as co-channel interference that was actually, first adjacent interference, was essentially banished by a greater variety of affordable mobile receivers. So even if the receiver manufacturers are more frightened of producing receivers designed for home or mobile use, thank HD Radio for providing greater receiver integrity that is more than likely, “chip level” ubiquitous, not pun intended.. `

"Backwards compatibility": It saved your B/W TV until you got tired of it; "It" could save our Constitution until we get tired of FREEDOM as we've come to know it
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post #13 of 30 Old 02-25-2014, 05:17 AM
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My Denon 4520ci and my car have HD Radio. Listen to classical in HD in my car whenever I'm driving. Definitely better than standard FM. I'm in Minneapolis MN. I use the subchannel that provides music all the time.
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post #14 of 30 Old 02-26-2014, 01:38 PM
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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. It was by far the best audio I've ever heard broadcast through the air. I don't even like classic music yet I still listened to it.

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post #15 of 30 Old 03-06-2014, 08:59 PM
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I have not seen anyone mentioned the interference HD-radio does to other stations. The HD signal is carried on sidebands that intrude onto the adjacent channel of other stations. There are many stations I can no longer hear because the HD-sidebands of local stations now cover these stations with incessant "hiss".

There was a time when the FCC would not allow a station to do anything that interfered with the reception of other stations. But I guess these days money speaks loud and iBiquity got their proprietary system approved despite the damage it has done to our Broadcast industry.
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post #16 of 30 Old 03-07-2014, 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by zoreo View Post

I have not seen anyone mentioned the interference HD-radio does to other stations. The HD signal is carried on sidebands that intrude onto the adjacent channel of other stations. There are many stations I can no longer hear because the HD-sidebands of local stations now cover these stations with incessant "hiss".

There was a time when the FCC would not allow a station to do anything that interfered with the reception of other stations. But I guess these days money speaks loud and iBiquity got their proprietary system approved despite the damage it has done to our Broadcast industry.
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.

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post #17 of 30 Old 03-07-2014, 04:45 AM
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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.

I'd also add: With internet streaming does any of this really matter? If you want to listen to a station in, say, Australia from St Louis then you can probably find it streaming on the internet.
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post #18 of 30 Old 03-07-2014, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

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.

There was a distance station that carried programming I could not get locally, and I spend considerable money for a good yagi antenna so I could get it, and I could get it until a local station began carrying HD which totally obliterated it.
This is a loss to me any way you look at it. And to Mr. Bishop, streaming is an additional expensive that many stations can not afford.

Mixing digital and analog has never been a good marriage. It compromises both systems. A better alternative to filling our analog bands with interfering hiss would be to reallocate the now little used low band TV channels (2-6) to an all-digital radio system.
These channels have been largely abandoned since the migration to digital TV when most stations switched to UHF (despite what station IDs and PSIP tells the viewer). These 6-Mhz wide TV channels could carry dozens of digital radio stations in much better quality than iBiquity's system.
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post #19 of 30 Old 03-07-2014, 12:32 PM
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Yeah, but that requires replacing every radio that's out there. That's not happening. And people don't get their local radio predominantly from a cable company that'll happily give 'em a couple free converters for their old radios. The listenership hit stations would take after analog cutoff would force ad revenue down to a point that would kill off the medium. Radio doesn't get carriage fees from cable and satellite. It's all advertising, baby. And the profit margins for most radio operators are thin. So your solution would wipe out the medium.

As for the station you're trying to reach, sorry about your luck, but the same obliteration could have happened if a station in a nearby town on the same, adjacent or harmonic frequency relocated their antenna. So what? The FCC has never been concerned with out-of-market FM listening. While you might find some programming you can't live without, you're in the minority. If it was that good, it'd be on a local station racking up an audience large enough to sell. If it's a Public Radio thing, then write a check to your local NPR affiliate and sponsor its carriage.

But you have to remember something that's true in television and radio. You aren't the customer. The advertising client is. And, right now, digital hasn't hurt local listenership one bit. Nor will it. Doesn't affect the ratings. Nor will it. Sure, there are out-of-market stations that show up in our ratings, but with numbers so statistically negligible that they are of no value to the advertising community. And they're the ones paying the bills.

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post #20 of 30 Old 03-07-2014, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
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I'd also add: With internet streaming does any of this really matter? If you want to listen to a station in, say, Australia from St Louis then you can probably find it streaming on the internet.
You're exactly right. Zoreo mentions stations who can't afford to stream. If that's the case, then perhaps it's time to change to a more profitable form of programming. Stations in even the smallest markets are streaming, now, but not for the reasons you might think. As I mentioned above, out-of-market listening doesn't do much for advertising. Now, companies such as my employer can monetize streams by selling ads across a number of station streams. The cumulative audience IS big enough for that. But the primary reasons for streaming stations is to secure some tablet and smartphone real estate and to extend their reach to environments traditionally difficult for signal penetration. When our stream goes down, the calls come in from office buildings right down the street, not Australia.

And, to Zoreo's issue, streaming penetration is eclipsing HD penetration by leaps and bounds. Will that render HD useless and lead to a shutoff? Subchannels, probably. Main channels... I dunno. Doubtful. Auto makers are making more and more models with HD standard. And as we in the business know, it's all about in-car listening. It'll take time for the number of cars on the road with HD radios to reach critical mass, so to speak. But when that happens, you don't want your clients saying, "Why do my commercials sound so much better on your competitor?"

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post #21 of 30 Old 03-09-2014, 07:46 AM
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For streaming: It really has to be some odd hole-in-the wall, low power, low budget AM station to not be able to stream. Even then, their listener count is going to be so low that you probably could hook a low-cost PC up to the signal and just stream out to those very few folks who are listening.

I do agree with zoreo that the hybrid stuff is worse than if they just did an analog band and a digital band. It may have taken longer to catch on (like how long it took FM to catch on) but it would have been cleaner and probably would have made more sense to consumers. We're 10+ years out from HDRadio and it's still not catching on so could a separate spectrum really have been that worse off? It's a hindsight 20/20 thing, though.
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post #22 of 30 Old 03-09-2014, 08:14 AM
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We're 10+ years out from HDRadio and it's still not catching on so could a separate spectrum really have been that worse off? It's a hindsight 20/20 thing, though.
Agreed. But there's no way broadcasters are going to pony up the kind of $$ Congress wants for spectrum. And, at inception, that particular chunk of spectrum was still heavily used by television.

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post #23 of 30 Old 04-01-2014, 11:40 AM
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Strangely, noncommercial radio stations are making the best use of the technology. A lot of public stations are keeping classical fans happy with a subchannel while they run through the usual NPR fare on the main. And a few repeat NPR or local public affairs programming on an HD3.

 

This is the reason I've been trying to find a decent HD radio for the house. Several of the NPR affiliates in Iowa are broadcasting HD. I've looked off and on for a couple years now and there just isn't anything that I can either afford or would let in my house. I have a couple Sangeans and a Tivoli in the house, reasonably priced good sounding radios (and easy to jack into a phone). The only HD radios on the market are either expensive components I'm not interested in or bottom feeding house brand garbage. I emailed Sangean a while back about HD Radio but they said they have no current plans to put any HD radios back into production. 

 

But, I can see how the market isn't there. It's just as easy to plug in my phone and stream from a podcast, the NPR app, TuneIn, etc.... Still there's something soothing about a cup of coffee and true radio, not radio through my phone to my radio. But I'm just a hopeless radio romantic. 

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post #24 of 30 Old 04-03-2014, 12:02 PM
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If you can find an Accurian HD Radio somewhere, it was a very good radio sold by RadioShack. And the Sony HD Radios and Tuner were very good. Unfortunately, there are not any good choices out there currently except for car radios.
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post #25 of 30 Old 04-04-2014, 08:17 PM
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Selectivity is more important than Sensitivity in a tuner. Less bleedover, interference. You can make a simple rc circuit (bandpass filter) designed to filter out the 2 adjacent channels on either side of the channel you want. A high gain antennae may just make the problem worse.

As far as HD radio taking off, it is lower quality than FM.
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post #26 of 30 Old 04-11-2014, 10:08 AM
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If you can find an Accurian HD Radio somewhere, it was a very good radio sold by RadioShack.

The Accurian is the worst of the four IBOC radios I own. I strongly advise against it.

The Sony, though, is the best radio I own of any kind. If you can find one (they're expensive and hard to find now), those are the best you can get, I think.

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post #27 of 30 Old 04-13-2014, 09:21 AM
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The Sony, though, is the best radio I own of any kind. If you can find one (they're expensive and hard to find now), those are the best you can get, I think.
I agree, the Sony is the best consumer grade radio ever manufactured. Your best bet is the XDR-S3HD.I found 1 on E-Bay for $60.00 & couldn't be happier. OTOH the S1HD is the most sought after & is very expensive. The S3HD has the exact same tuner with amplifier, speakers & clock radio. It can pull in stations 100+ miles away with no problem with crystal clear sound and full stereo separation.

I'm listening to a station over 100 miles away right now & it sounds like it is right here in town. (93.1 Staunton,Va)The antenna is inside the attic of a townhouse with aluminum siding. If I switch to the DC antenna, 93.1 from Baltimore comes in just as well & in HD. This thing just amazes me!!
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post #28 of 30 Old 04-17-2014, 12:43 PM
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I have the Sony HD Radio tuner and the Sony table top HD Radio. Both are excellent radios, with very sensitive tuners for both analog and IBOC reception. I also have an Accurian from Radioshack, and it is still a nice radio but the tuner is not as good. And I also have a Sangean HD tuner, but it does not seem to be quite as sensitive as the Sony. But glad I got these models when I did, as nobody seems to be making any these days.
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post #29 of 30 Old 04-20-2014, 09:59 AM
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I also have an iHome HD Clock Radio. While it's reception is just as good as the Sony, it goes into hi-blend on weaker stations & all high frequencies are lost. Even with the hi-blend, the stereo is hissy & only switching to mono will clear it up.

The Sony has no apparent hi-blend penalty & the even the weakest stereo signals remain hiss free. I was initially concerned that the lack of a mono button would be a drawback, but the Sony is so damn good it DOES NOT need it. It would be nice to have a button to defeat the HD, but you can't have everything. The analog is generally better on HD stations with multiple HD streams.
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post #30 of 30 Old 04-21-2014, 09:01 AM
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I own the Boston Acoustics Recepter Radio HD, which was the very first consumer tabletop HD radio, and the sound quality is really great for its size. I have nothing to compare it to, though, as far as sensitivity goes.
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