or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Gaming & Content Streaming › HD Radio › HD Radio Isn't High Definition!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

HD Radio Isn't High Definition!

post #1 of 277
Thread Starter 
I understand the motivations of iBiquity to enhance free radio through the use of digital sidebands but the application of "HD" to the name, it seems to me, is a deliberate attempt to jump on the HD bandwagon without the fidelity to back it up. They allocate 96 kbps of bandwidth to a single station. The station can use all of it for a single additional digital station or split it into two stations...one at 64 and one at 32 kbps. Even with the new compression schemes, the quality is about the same as the average MP3 download [at 128 kbps], not at all close to "CD quality" and definitely not HD, which I define as audio recorded and reproduced at 96 kHz/24-bits.

It is interesting that the people actually selling the new system will not state the the HD stands for High Definition. It's a pretty obvious attempt to claim a new level of quality when it's really less.

It's going to be a very big deal this year...Clear Channel is one of the driving forces and now Wal Mart has jumped in. Just when we should be looking for an improvement in audio quality we get this deception...and they've got the FCC agreeing with them.
post #2 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. AIX View Post

I understand the motivations of iBiquity to enhance free radio through the use of digital sidebands but the application of "HD" to the name, it seems to me, is a deliberate attempt to jump on the HD bandwagon without the fidelity to back it up. They allocate 96 kbps of bandwidth to a single station. The station can use all of it for a single additional digital station or split it into two stations...one at 64 and one at 32 kbps. Even with the new compression schemes, the quality is about the same as the average MP3 download [at 128 kbps], not at all close to "CD quality" and definitely not HD, which I define as audio recorded and reproduced at 96 kHz/24-bits.

It is interesting that the people actually selling the new system will not state the the HD stands for High Definition. It's a pretty obvious attempt to claim a new level of quality when it's really less.

It's going to be a very big deal this year...Clear Channel is one of the driving forces and now Wal Mart has jumped in. Just when we should be looking for an improvement in audio quality we get this deception...and they've got the FCC agreeing with them.

Ibiquity never said that HD radio was high definition radio. Ignorant salespeople aside, it stands for Hybrid Digital. By the way, I own 2 HD receivers, A B.A. Receptor and a Sangean HDT-1. The audio quality on both is superb and through my stereo system which consists of a Macintosh MA-6100 Amp/Pre-amp, & Infinity Reference Standard 2 speakers, the FM HD audio is far superior to Analog FM. I also own a Sansui TU-717 Tuner to make the comparisons. The high end on the HD is much brighter because they don't have to filter out audio above 15 K with HD and the noise floor and stereo seperation of the digital audio blows away the analog.
post #3 of 277
I notice the biggest difference on the AM side of the house. Gone is the static, hum, electrical interference, etc. Crisp and clear. On the FM side, I think the biggest benefit is the additional subchannel programming and no commercials (at least thru 2007). I can't really notice much difference between analog and digital FM sound quality wise. It might be because I'm old enough where I probably can't hear any frequency over 15 K !
post #4 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. AIX View Post

it seems to me, is a deliberate attempt to jump on the HD bandwagon without the fidelity to back it up.

Heck, everyone is doing it now. On the new Chevy 2500 pickups, they have HD in big bold letters after the 2500. Yea, it stands for Heavy Duty, but it was never on there before the term "HD" became a catch phrase for "something that's far better". I saw an add on TV the other day for HD sun glasses. (By the way, the ad was not HD.)

I have HD Recieivers (JVC-HDR1) in both of my cars. Believe me, when you can lock onto the station, the "HD" is far better than the analog in both FM and AM. THere is for all practical purposes ZERO background noise.
post #5 of 277
Dr. AIX - yea, we know!. It's Hybrid Digital radio. Even so, HD Radio is higher "definition" than FM Stereo or AM. I (unfortunately) don't own an HD Radio, but I've heard samples from a number of different radios, and played with a couple my self. While I'm no fan of compression, I have to say- it sure beats analog FM any day, same with AM.

Everything these days is "HD." HD is the "space age technology" of the 21st century. Sounds totally "high tech" and "must have" to the joe-six-packs of the world.

I was in Wal-Mart a while back, and passed a display of $10 Kodak disposable "HD" cameras. They had a "standard disposable camera vs. Kodak HD disposable camera" comparison. On the display were the pictures of two COMPLETELY IDENTICAL photos. The only difference was, the "HD" photo was bigger.

I can't wait 'till they start marketing HD (Highly Delicious) food
post #6 of 277
96kbps HD IS higher definition than analog fm stereo! The frequency response extends a half-octave higher. The dynamic range is at least 35-40db greater. There is no loss of hf information from pre-emphasis/de-emphasis. All of which contribute to HIGHER DEFINITION AUDIO.

As for lower bitrates and multicast audio, well MOST of what's on digital tv is still at 480 lines of resolution...exactly the same as analog tv.
post #7 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. AIX View Post

They allocate 96 kbps of bandwidth to a single station. The station can use all of it for a single additional digital station or split it into two stations...one at 64 and one at 32 kbps.

You might want to read a little more on this. Almost all stations are dividing it into two 48 kbps channels.

Quote:


Even with the new compression schemes, the quality is about the same as the average MP3 download [at 128 kbps], not at all close to "CD quality" and definitely not HD, which I define as audio recorded and reproduced at 96 kHz/24-bits.

The 96 kbps stations I listen to are closer to are closer to a 256 kbps variable bitrate MP3 to me. I've heard some cuts on a local jazz station that I've listened to a lot on CD and the quality is remarkably similar.

Someone on a local radio board pointed out that many HD Radio stations are using music servers full of songs have been severely MP2 compressed to be barely acceptable for analog FM radio and a lot of the artifacts we're hearing on HD stations are clearly audible in the studio.

Thanks for defining "HD" audio for me. I'll start throwing my CDs away right now.

Quote:


It is interesting that the people actually selling the new system will not state the the HD stands for High Definition.

As others pointed out, that's because it doesn't stand for high definition.
post #8 of 277
LOL
I'm now the new
eddy_windsHD
post #9 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by R.F. Burns View Post

Ibiquity never said that HD radio was high definition radio. Ignorant salespeople aside, it stands for Hybrid Digital.

As a Trademark attorney, I can tell you right now that it doesn't matter what the seller tells you it stands for... it's what the consumer perceives it to mean.

Ibiquity can tell you till they are blue in the face that "HD" doesn't mean "high definition." But consumers would be reasonable to assume that "HD" means "high definition." Section 2(e)(1) of the Lanham Act (the federal Trademark Law) does not allow registration of trademarks that are deceptively misdescriptive. Nowhere in the law does it require intent to decieve on the part of the producer... all that matters is whether or not consumers would be likely to be deceived, and whether their incorrect assumptions about the product would affect their purchasing decisions.

Any half competent attorney should be able to produce sufficient evidence to support the assertion that most consumers would assume "HD" means "high definition."

Now, what does "high definition" mean when it comes to radio? Therein lies the million dollar question...
post #10 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by pduncan View Post

Heck, everyone is doing it now. On the new Chevy 2500 pickups, they have HD in big bold letters after the 2500. Yea, it stands for Heavy Duty, but it was never on there before the term "HD" became a catch phrase for "something that's far better"

Okay... for the second trademark lesson... You look at the term in relationship to the product. Just because "HD" can mean "heavy duty," you look at how consumers would interpret the term in relationship to the product. Trucks have a history of "heavy duty," and broadcast electronics have a history of "high defintion." Thus, consumers would not see "HD" on a truck and think "high definition," but they would when it comes to media broadcasts.
post #11 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonblair View Post

Now, what does "high definition" mean when it comes to radio? Therein lies the million dollar question...

Fifty years after the term "high fidelity" was introduced, no one can define it either.
post #12 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. AIX View Post

I understand the motivations of iBiquity to enhance free radio through the use of digital sidebands but the application of "HD" to the name, it seems to me, is a deliberate attempt to jump on the HD bandwagon without the fidelity to back it up.

Of course, Mark. This has been apparent from the beginning when they were only demonstrating the technology and had only prototypes. They adopted the name with cynical intent.
post #13 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by pduncan View Post

I have HD Recieivers (JVC-HDR1) in both of my cars. Believe me, when you can lock onto the station, the "HD" is far better than the analog in both FM and AM. THere is for all practical purposes ZERO background noise.

You can also feel the difference in terms of the SRS. It feels far more like surround sound when it's in hd. Feels like there's more speakers in the car even when they aren't...so even if a channel isn't offering a subchannel it's still better to hear it in hd.

my only major gripes would be not all of them are taking full advantage...the rare classic rock sub station doesn't list the tracks yet...one college station's sub one isn't really defined as of yet...within time I'm sure these will come about.
post #14 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by R.F. Burns View Post

Ibiquity never said that HD radio was high definition radio. Ignorant salespeople aside, it stands for Hybrid Digital. By the way, I own 2 HD receivers, A B.A. Receptor and a Sangean HDT-1. The audio quality on both is superb and through my stereo system which consists of a Macintosh MA-6100 Amp/Pre-amp, & Infinity Reference Standard 2 speakers, the FM HD audio is far superior to Analog FM. I also own a Sansui TU-717 Tuner to make the comparisons. The high end on the HD is much brighter because they don't have to filter out audio above 15 K with HD and the noise floor and stereo seperation of the digital audio blows away the analog.

It doesn't stand for Hybrid Digital either. It stands for nothing.
post #15 of 277
Speaking of HI-FI

Digital music libraries and devices portend death of hi-fi sound

By Ron Harris
1:26 p.m. April 17, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO - Music lovers remember a familiar advertising image from the past: a man reclined in a chair, head back, blown away by music from his high-fidelity sound system.

Like the Marlboro Man before him, Maxell's pitchman is now a relic.

With their ability to store vast libraries of music in your pocket, sleek digital music players have replaced bulky home stereo systems as the music gear of choice. But the sound quality of digital audio files is noticeably inferior to that of compact discs and even vinyl.

Are these the final days of hi-fi sound? Judging by the 2 billion songs downloaded from Apple Inc.'s iTunes service, the ubiquity of white iPod ear buds, and the hundreds of thousands of folks file-sharing for free, the answer is yes.

In many ways, good enough (sound quality) is fine, said Paul Connolly, an art installation specialist and longtime audiophile from Sugar Land, Texas, who's now in the process of digitizing his 2,400 CD collection in Apple's lossless digital audio format.

The warmth and the nice distortion that the album had was beautiful, he said. But do I long for the days of albums? No. Do I long for the days of CDs now that we've gone digital? No. It's a medium.

Justin Schoenmoser, of San Francisco, also traded in his rack system for an iPod. Currently working abroad and toting along his iPod, the convenience of carrying thousands of songs in a gadget smaller than a pack of cigarettes outweighs the sacrifice of quality.

The last time I had a full-blown home stereo system was in the mid-90s, and it was a gift from my parents, Schoenmoser said. As I converted most of my stuff to digital over the last 5 years, I finally got rid of all my old equipment.

A song ripped from a CD at 128 kilobits per second - the default setting for most software - retains only a fraction of the audio data contained on the originally mastered disc. Whether you downloaded the track from iTunes or copped it off LimeWire, the song remains the same. The small digital music file is a highly compressed shadow of the originally mastered recording.

And regardless of how advanced your home audio setup is, if you're pumping a low-rate MP3 or iTunes file into it, you're getting a low-rate rendition of the original song out of it. It's listenable, but still lacking the luster of a CD played on the same system.

Some experts say the sound quality lost in the process is undetectable to most untrained ears. But Michael Silver can hear the difference.

Audio High, his high-end stereo shop in Mountain View, sells things like a $5,000 needle for your turntable and stereo cable at $2,700 a meter.

It doesn't compare, Silver said of the sound quality offered by today's portable digital music players and their compressed audio files.

If his high-end gear is like a Ferrari for sound, and run-of-the-mill stereo equipment is a Honda, a moped is an iPod, Silver said.

That difference in sound quality, perceptible or not, hasn't saved some of the bigger traditional stereo and music sellers.

Tweeter Home Entertainment Group Inc., a Canton, Mass.-based retailer of mid-to-high end audio equipment, is closing 49 of its 153 stores nationwide. Slumping sales at Sacramento-based Tower Records led that former industry juggernaut to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August.

And Circuit City, the nation's No. 2 electronics retailer, is laying off 3,400 of its most experienced clerks.

Year-to-date data from a recent Nielsen SoundScan report shows sales of prerecorded CDs in the United States down 20 percent from last year.

Everybody has a certain amount of money to spend. It's not that they're choosing not to spend it on the old-style audio. It's that something new came along, said James McQuivey, principle analyst for media technology at Forrester Research Inc.

The MP3 player integrated the collection of the music with the playback of the music, he said. Now all of it's seamlessley hidden away on a hard drive somewhere.

With the networked household ready to fill the void left by the demise of rack stereo systems, McQuivey sees a steady stream of new devices on the horizon that will erase any lingering drawbacks to going all-MP3.

Santa Barbara-based Sonos, Inc., for example, sells a system that allows you to use a handheld device to navigate streamed music from your PC to an existing amp and speaker or home theater setup, sort of a hybrid between the old guard and the new.

A CD is not relevant to me anymore, said John MacFarlane, founder and chief executive of Sonos. The iPod and that type of portable music player has even accelerated that trend.

Even when consumers do buy CDs these days, the first thing you do is rip your CDs and put them on your iPods, MacFarlane said.

MacFarlane isn't even convinced that casual listeners can hear the difference between CD-quality sounds and the dumbed-down MP3 files, which he calls good quality, not perfect.

When Philips and Sony first made the CD, they didn't cut any corners because they were careful to preserve everything that was there, even if you couldn't hear it, MacFarlane said. That 128 is pretty darn good. A lot of Ph.D.s went in to making that 128 kbps work well and sound well.

Schoenmoser, the globetrotting Californian, agrees.

I honestly can't really tell the difference between CD, tape and digital, he said. I'd even accept a lower quality as long as it's digital and portable.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/t...fiamerica.html
post #16 of 277
If you want a really dumb marketing term, how about "Wi-Fi"? I have actually seen it explained as being short for "Wireless Fidelity". Fidelity? Well, most if not all network data protocols include error-correction, so that means they should have "perfect fidelity", right?

I prefer to "believe" that the HD does stand for Hybrid Digital, even if it does not "officially"; that way, I can fool myself that no one will be silly enough to think it means "High Definition radio".
post #17 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwagoner View Post

It doesn't stand for Hybrid Digital either. It stands for nothing.



Where'd you get this from? It stands for Hybrid Digital. Ibiquity has spoken before our chapter of the SBE and that is how they define it. You disagree, call Ibiquity and ask them.
post #18 of 277
Ok, I'll attempt to define "high fidelity". Reproduction which does the least damage to the signal along the way (when referring to the transmission and reception of radio, or the reproduction of a recording). When the waveform reproduced by the speakers more closely mimics the waveform on the original recording, it is of "higher fidelity". HD qualifies. The waveform reproduced by the speakers more closely matches the original recording than does analog fm stereo. Subjective? Not on your life! These things can be quantified mathematically! It can actually be PROVEN objectively that a waveform transmitted via HD more closely resembles the original recording than one transmitted via (band limited/noisy/dynamic-range limited/separation-limited) analog fm stereo.

To me "high fidelity" is a separate issue from "sounds better". Analog lp may indeed "sound better" to you. But it's relatively simple to prove that it is of far lower FIDELITY (the medium changes the waveform in quite measurable ways!) Ditto with HD.
post #19 of 277
Well, it may not stand for HD but in terms of AM, it is high definition. When my radio locks in on a AM HD signal, the switch is very noticeable. Can't tell so much on the FM side.
post #20 of 277
So much for HD Radio haters on this board!

I think people are getting the wrong impression. HD Radio isn't this evil plot created by some overzealous and greedy people to con the public into buying something. HD Radio is an answer to the competition from Satellite and other media sources that are desracting listeners away from radio.
post #21 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Walker View Post

To me "high fidelity" is a separate issue from "sounds better". Analog lp may indeed "sound better" to you. But it's relatively simple to prove that it is of far lower FIDELITY (the medium changes the waveform in quite measurable ways!) Ditto with HD.

If i understand digital audio compression correctly, you can't describe fidelity in terms of preserving waveforms any more.

Before we learned about how lousy human hearing is, we assumed human hearing was perfect within a certain range and any measurable electrical difference within that range surely had to be audible. It turns out we have far less ability to hear things than the equipment we've been measuring audio with. In fact these weaknesses are very consistent and seem to be fundamental to how our hearing works (or doesn't work). Recent audio compression has been all about exploiting these weaknesses.
post #22 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by scowl View Post

Fifty years after the term "high fidelity" was introduced, no one can define it either.


hahaha.
post #23 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgooch View Post

"Some experts say the sound quality lost in the process is undetectable to most untrained ears. But Michael Silver can hear the difference."

I wonder who this guy is.

Quote:


"Audio High, his high-end stereo shop in Mountain View, sells things like a $5,000 needle for your turntable and stereo cable at $2,700 a meter."

Well that's a shock! He hears the difference in his paycheck!

Honestly, I have a 30 GB MP3 player with three thousand songs encoded at 256 kbps variable bit rate and I can't tell any difference between them and the CD's they came from. I can optionally copy the songs in raw PCM to it if I want them in exact CD quality (I still have over 12 GB free) but I just couldn't tell the difference between them and the 256 kbps MP3 versions.
post #24 of 277
Thread Starter 
My point in starting this thread was not to discourage anyone from purchasing and enjoying "Hybrid Digital" Radio [although I agree with the poster that said it stands for nothing...and I have called and asked the iBuiquity people]. It was created to compete with Sirius and XM and it might sound better than AM and equal to "CD Quality". But it is not on the same level with REAL HD Audio...that's the point. They have appropriated the HD prefix without meeting the standards for "better then CD standard".

I know Michael Silver and have spent time in his shop in Mountain View. Listening to my Laurence Juber -Guitar Noir recording [which won the CEA "Demmy" Award for best high resolution, 5.1 track] through a set of Tetra speakers was amazing...way above the sound quality of a CD. When I listen to 96 kHz/24-bit/5.1 HD AUdio tracks in my own room [B&W, AUdience, Cardas, Bryston, Meridian], there is no going back to CD or to stereo. This is the real world of HD and until you've experienced it, you just can't know how dramatic it is.

I've been creating new HD Audio surround music for over 7 years now and have built up a pretty sizeable library of content recorded in a purist style at 96/24. I have never released a CD of these tracks [although I have tried to downsample the material for use in CD demos for others...without success]. MP3s and lossless Apple files are fine for capturing CD resolution or what I would refer to as Standard Resolution...but new recordings done in HD and surround are a dramatic enhancement. That's why I have a problem with iBuiquity adopting the HD prefix...they are a long way away from HD.

I believe there is a market for HD Audio...I sell products in this format all day. And soon media center users will be able to download files in HD AUdio and 5.1 surround....iTrax is coming. High end audio is not going away...just like Ferraris are not going away. Some people in the world appreciate a no-compromise approach to automotive engineering...I think the same holds true for recordings...I feel like I produce the racing fuel that powers the high end systems to their maximum potential.
post #25 of 277
I think that any tool that they can use to help indicate to people the difference is helpful. Complaining that HD Radio isn't High Definition is like complaining that high-speed internet isn't really high-speed because there are faster speeds out there is a bit of a stretch.

I agree that there is better audio out there, and I agree that consumers will confuse HD Radio to mean High-Def Radio. . . But is that a bad thing? Imagine what we will call HD Audio when it becomes even better? Will it become Extreme Audio? Will HDDVD become EXDVD? Who knows. . . But in the great scheme of things does it REALLY MATTER?
post #26 of 277
Thread Starter 
I think it does matter. My definition of HD Audio goes something like this: HD Audio is recording and reproduction fidelity that is equal to or almost equal to the limits of human hearing. In specifics this means a frequency response to a minimum of 20 kHz [although I personally advocate to 45 kHz] AND 125-140 dB of dynamic range. If we're there, then there is no reason to go higher...so the elevation to EXD AUdio is unnecessary. We will get more channels but the fidelity aspect is taken care of.

If we accept arbitrary terminology and definitions...then the terms lose all meaning. Obviously, for a guy that is spending a great deal of time and money to create a catalog of new HD Audio recordings, it is important that some that has decidedly less fidelity not claim the same terms.

Yes, it matters.
post #27 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by R.F. Burns View Post

Where'd you get this from? It stands for Hybrid Digital. Ibiquity has spoken before our chapter of the SBE and that is how they define it. You disagree, call Ibiquity and ask them.

I have. And I rememebr when it was first released as a trademark. It means nothing. You can't trademark a phrase. Besides, the HD system has one version that is all-digital. Think they'll change the name?

Currently the system IS hybrid digital. But HD doesn't stand for that. And Ibiquity told me that immediately upon releasing the trademark, as I write a radio column and have covered the system since it was just a thought.
post #28 of 277
You know, it isn't even hybrid digital. it is a hybrid system allowing the reception of analog AND digital. Hybrid digital makes no sense.
post #29 of 277
Sure it does... It is a "hybrid digital" signal (that is, a signal that is both hybrid as in a combination of two different things, and that includes digital information).
post #30 of 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwagoner View Post

I have. And I rememebr when it was first released as a trademark. It means nothing. You can't trademark a phrase....

"I'm Lovin' It" "I love what you do for me" "The choice of a new generation"


Quote:
Originally Posted by rwagoner View Post

Currently the system IS hybrid digital. But HD doesn't stand for that. And Ibiquity told me that immediately upon releasing the trademark, as I write a radio column and have covered the system since it was just a thought.

Once again, Ibiquity can say it doesn't stand for anything, or mean something else... It doesn't matter. No one knows what they are talking about on this forum. Consumers THINK the term means "high definition," and that is what matters.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: HD Radio
AVS › AVS Forum › Gaming & Content Streaming › HD Radio › HD Radio Isn't High Definition!