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I think broadcasters forget that once you get to the level of a basic intelligible signal, content matters a heck of a lot more than high definition does. Thinking that a one-time increase in definition is going to solve all their programming problems forever is classic wishful thinking.
You also have to consider what people use the medium FOR. There are people who are going to watch Vast Scenic Movies- think Jerimiah Johnson, maybe- on their home TVs, where a huge screen and ultra high definition are going to make the experience breathtaking. But many, perhaps most, radio listeners use radio for more utilitarian purposes.
Don't most people listen in their cars? They'll be listening for a limited period, and perhaps the most important thing to them is getting the current traffic report. If they can understand what the announcer is saying, why does a listener like that need high fidelity at all?
Posted at 09:31 AM in Radio Lovers Can't Be Cured | Permalink
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I think the greatest advantage to HD radio is the expanded content and not necessarily the sound quality. On alternate NPR stations I can listen to the BBC World Report, only local news and weather, or only jazz. I can listen to previously only AM sports radio, an all blues station, a classic rock station that only plays live cuts, etc.
All without commercials (for the time being) and for no subscription costs.
That said, I don't know if it will last either as streaming radio takes over. But for now I think it would be stupid to get a car radio without it.
January 12, 2013 at 10:40 AM
First of all, remember that HD radio does not stand for high definition radio, rather for hybrid digital radio (i.e. digital radio co-existing with analog).
Secondly, the trend towards full digital radio (not hybrid) cannot be stopped. China is on its way to role out HD radio with many more features and better performance than what we have here. What this means is that we will adapt too and the HD radio you see now may very well turn into something else in 5-10 years.
Third, if anything, the US is suffering from being an early inventor and early adopter of this technology. No doubt there are problems, but give it time, and think evolution ...
January 12, 2013 at 10:57 AM
One current problem with HD radio in the U.S. is greatly reduced range, because the digital portion of the signal is broadcast with much lower power than the analog portion. You have to be much closer to the transmitter to get digital reception than you do with analog.
January 12, 2013 at 11:32 AM
I say leave digital audio transmission to the internet and to satellite radio. It won't be that long before you can listen to anything available on the world wide web anywhere you go.
If we insist on having digital radio, I say create a digital-only band on FM between 76 and 88 mhz and remove what few tv stations exist on channels 5 and 6 to other frequencies. Considering that HD radio hasn't really taken off yet, I'd much rather see a new radio with 3 bands - AM (analog only), FM (analog only 88-108) and FM digital (76-88)
I have no idea what the raw numbers are, but if you add up clock radios, car radios, home stereos, portable radios, any any other radio you can think of, there must be close to if not over half a billion analog radios in existence in the United States. I would hate to see all those radios go obsolete.
January 12, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Look at the history of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) adoption in the UK and Europe. It isn't going well.
By the way, the "HD" in "HD Radio" doesn't stand for anything. It's just a trademark. Since the data compression scheme can't ever be updated, it's a dead-end technology from the get-go.
Bill's analysis is on-target. Broadcasters can't seem (or aren't willing to spend the money) to create content that people want to seek out. HD or similar technologies just permit the broadcaster to send out multiple streams of crap instead of a single stream.
Mark Roberts |
January 12, 2013 at 02:28 PM
There's less diverse radio programing today than 50 years ago.
Tom Welch |
January 12, 2013 at 04:21 PM
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