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  1. #1
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    HD radio/tv observation

    I note that the market flowed completely opposite when comparing hdtv to hd radio. When HDTV was coming down the pike the market was flooded with HDTV sets and receivers, yet programming was, and still is in my opinion, limited. But..... nearly every radio station in my city has converted to HD and nothing to listen to it on, unless, I want to buy a darn $299.00 Boston Acoustic table radio. And HD or not $299.00 is a bit expensive for an alarm clock radio. I am noticing on Crutchfield they say some car stereo are compatible but I haven't looked at them close since I'm not in the market for a car radio. I consider a new tuner or a HD walkman. Where do we listen to radio in, cars, backyard. work etc. I said walkman because I use public transit and not into downloading yet. Who's bright idea was it to put the first HD radios in an alarm clock?

    I guess manufacturers were wanting to tap that cash cow, HDTV, quick. I mean I'd rather sell HDTV's at originally, probably, $4k to $20k compared to $300.00 radios or tuners, so I can't blame them.

    Billy's next word problem, how many BA HD radios would you have to sell to equal one Panasonic Plasma?

    One common thread between the two is the consumer is forced to have patience.

    What gives here? The market usually dont' miss a chance to make a buck, why isn't there any HD hardware available?

  2. #2
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    no financial incentive probably..

    hd radio is a nice idea but who even knows about it? Ask around and you'll get a lot of blank stares. It's a good idea waiting for people to know about or care and for manufacturers of hd radio products to have a reason to bring anything to market. And why should they? With the exception of NPR, so they can listen to the same moronic commercial radio personalities, top forty crap and 20 minute strings of commercials? Anyone that really cares about what they listen to will have satellite radio or bring their own content in the form of mp3 players or cd's. No matter how good commercial radio is made to sound, it's still 98% crap. HDTV is a completely different model. People are passionate about television and everyone watches it. Beyond content, what drives much of the hdtv market is the form factor. Your wife may have a problem with the 6ft Martin Logan's or shed size crt rear projector but mention a 50" plasma and you'll get little argumwent aside from budget considerations. It's a good and meaningful day when 77% of women would prefer a flat panel to a diamond necklace:

    http://www.informationweek.com/story...SSfeed_IWK_All

  3. #3
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    good point, what exactly IS hd radio?

    my favorite station, kkjz 88.1 out of long beach california, the cal state LB station, has become an hd station. forgive my ignorance but i dont even know what it is and i am always reading the hifi mags. it seems like this should have been talked up a bit.

    after a very little reading, i see its digital and requires a special tuner. we'll see how it goes over the next couple of years, for now, my analog tuner is adequate.
    ...regards...tr

  4. #4
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I note that the market flowed completely opposite when comparing hdtv to hd radio. When HDTV was coming down the pike the market was flooded with HDTV sets and receivers, yet programming was, and still is in my opinion, limited. But..... nearly every radio station in my city has converted to HD and nothing to listen to it on, unless, I want to buy a darn $299.00 Boston Acoustic table radio. And HD or not $299.00 is a bit expensive for an alarm clock radio. I am noticing on Crutchfield they say some car stereo are compatible but I haven't looked at them close since I'm not in the market for a car radio. I consider a new tuner or a HD walkman. Where do we listen to radio in, cars, backyard. work etc. I said walkman because I use public transit and not into downloading yet. Who's bright idea was it to put the first HD radios in an alarm clock?

    I guess manufacturers were wanting to tap that cash cow, HDTV, quick. I mean I'd rather sell HDTV's at originally, probably, $4k to $20k compared to $300.00 radios or tuners, so I can't blame them.

    Billy's next word problem, how many BA HD radios would you have to sell to equal one Panasonic Plasma?

    One common thread between the two is the consumer is forced to have patience.

    What gives here? The market usually dont' miss a chance to make a buck, why isn't there any HD hardware available?
    Well, in this case you have no choice but to be patient. And what's wrong with waiting when the HD Radio hardware has barely been on the market for a year? Aside from table radios, there are many car audio units already on the market. And the list of licensees is pretty long. We'll see how long before they introduce HD Radio tuners.

    http://www.ibiquity.com/manufacturer..._manufacturers

    Remember stereo TV? The first independent stations went on the air with stereo broadcasts before the first stereo TVs were even available to the public. NBC started broadcasting in stereo about two years after the format was introduced, but it took years longer before all of their affiliates (and many cable systems as well) got on board. It also took quite a while before stereo TV were more the norm than the exception. Satellite radio has been around for 6 years, and it took the better part of 5 years before XM tuners began showing up on home audio components.

    Clear Channel started broadcasting in HD Radio less than a year ago, and only began its HD Radio marketing campaign in April. Keep in mind that the radio broadcasters have gotten on board with HD Radio because they are rapidly losing market share to satellite radio, internet listening options, and more people choosing their own music in the car (whether that's CDs, iPod connections, or other removable media).

    For broadcasters, the most important feature with HD Radio is not necessarily the sound quality improvement, but the multicasting capability. The HD multicasting feature allows an FM station to simulcast up to five feeds onto the same frequency. This means that rock stations can have a main feed and several niche feeds that focus on specifc subgenres -- pretty much the same thing that satellite radio currently offers but without monthly subscription fees.

    I think the future of HD Radio will depend on getting the format into OEM factory-installed car audio systems. If that happens, then you'll probably see HD radio tuners appearing in a lot more places. You're right that this is a different situation from HDTV because the broadcasters are very motivated to seed the market, but manufacturers are less motivated for the simple reason that HD Radio is a proprietary format, unlike HDTV which is an open specification.

    Links to previous threads below ...

    Revisiting HD Radio - Summer 2006
    HD Radio Rollout Now Starting Up
    High Definition FM. What's the story with that?
    Wooch's Home Theater 2.0 (Pics)
    Panasonic VIERA TH-C50FD18 50" 1080p
    Paradigm Reference Studio 40, CC, and 20 v.2
    Adire Audio Rava (EQ: Behringer Feedback Destroyer DSP1124)
    Yamaha RX-A1030
    Dual CS5000 (Ortofon OM30 Super)
    Sony UBP-X800
    Sony Playstation 3 (MediaLink OS X Server)
    Sony ES SCD-C2000ES
    JVC HR-S3912U
    Directv HR44 and WVB
    Logitech Harmony 700
    iPhone 5s/iPad 3
    Linksys WES610



    The Neverending DVD/BD Collection

    Subwoofer Setup and Parametric EQ Results *Dead Link*

  5. #5
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    Some good points, I am discouraged with commercial radio as well. I'm almost forced to listen while I commute though and one of the things that has me excited about HD radio is the multicast. I'm hoping the stations won't be so narrow minded on their programming with multiple stations to fill. And obviously the sound quality will be a good improvement. HD tuners will play analog stations, so it won't be like satelite where it's an entire different system, you just upgrade to a better tuner. I am starting to hear commercials promoting HD radio and giving either Crutchfield or Amazon websites to reference.

    I think Wooch hit the nail on the head with the commercial stations are rushing this along to try to regain some of their audience back. But the stubborn, blockhead programmers stick with their outdated philosophy on programming. They say they have to play a familiar song all the time or we will change the station. They say they spend large amounts of money each year on surveys to see what we want to hear. There has to be a flaw in the research or else every one I know is in the minority and I can't find this illusive majority of radio listeners that want the same songs all the time. A morning talk show just had a big discussion on air about HD radio and how radio stations pick what they play. Although nearly every caller said the station played the same thing, the guy kept denying it and defending what they do. I digress. Radio is a hot topic for me, I guess because of my situation. Maybe I should spend some more of my computer time trying to learn this download stuff.

    One thing about commercials, that's how the stations make their money and even satelite is starting down that path.

  6. #6
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    I got an email from a hi fi sales guy I know on the East coast, we were talking about HD radio. He says he is sorry to see it come because the signal is compressed MP3 void of any audiophile quality. It will be free of noise but the sound won't be as CD like as advertised. Take it for what it's worth. I wonder if satelite is the same thing? I learned one thing for sure, "digital quality", has a wide range of meaning depending on the digital technology being talked about.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I got an email from a hi fi sales guy I know on the East coast, we were talking about HD radio. He says he is sorry to see it come because the signal is compressed MP3 void of any audiophile quality. It will be free of noise but the sound won't be as CD like as advertised. Take it for what it's worth. I wonder if satelite is the same thing? I learned one thing for sure, "digital quality", has a wide range of meaning depending on the digital technology being talked about.
    The consensus with what I've read is that the signals with satellite radio indeed are compressed. The sound quality obviously would depend on the codec used and the quality of the encoders/decoders. But, the satellite radio providers keep their sound specs under tight wraps, so not too many people know for sure. I suspect that this is because they vary the compression levels for different programs. Even the uncompressed audio that's used on Directv's two-channel feed gets downsampled to 32/16 resolution.

    As for the quality of the audio, I would not count on anything approaching CD quality. Even if the HD Radio signal was uncompressed, most radio stations nowadays use digital media servers to cue up the music (like in the old days, when radio stations used carts instead of the original LPs or 45s) and who knows what format and data compression level they use there. And for purposes of FM broadcasting, radio stations have been using dynamic range compression for decades. If a HD Radio feed uses the same signal that goes to the FM transmitter, then it's not "CD quality" no matter what broadcast resolution is used.

    But, compared to FM, HD Radio would very likely improve the sound quality, even with data compression, simply because you're cutting down the background noise and interference. If you're at all familiar with how much the sound quality can vary with MP3s, it can range from downright awful to indistinguishable from the original under most listening conditions. And there are many other compressed audio formats that are out there, which are purportedly superior to MP3.
    Wooch's Home Theater 2.0 (Pics)
    Panasonic VIERA TH-C50FD18 50" 1080p
    Paradigm Reference Studio 40, CC, and 20 v.2
    Adire Audio Rava (EQ: Behringer Feedback Destroyer DSP1124)
    Yamaha RX-A1030
    Dual CS5000 (Ortofon OM30 Super)
    Sony UBP-X800
    Sony Playstation 3 (MediaLink OS X Server)
    Sony ES SCD-C2000ES
    JVC HR-S3912U
    Directv HR44 and WVB
    Logitech Harmony 700
    iPhone 5s/iPad 3
    Linksys WES610



    The Neverending DVD/BD Collection

    Subwoofer Setup and Parametric EQ Results *Dead Link*

  8. #8
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    Really, just to get the static out would be nice. There's a station that changed formats here not long ago, it was a jazz station, and when it went to it's new format the sound quality changed. They must be using one of these odd ball MP3 or compressed digital source servers. The sound is like someone took every other knob of a equalizer and pushed them way up or some way down. When you hear songs you are familiar with certain things are accentuated that wasn't before and mid bass seems to be void. It's hard to describe but it's odd. I've sent them emails but they won't confess.

  9. #9
    nightflier
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    Wooch,

    Would it be possible to agregate the five simulcast channels and provide high-quality music? Maybe even full high-res surround sound, SACD/DVD-A quality?

    I'm not suggesting that this would be something the radio stations are going to glom onto as a commercial prospect. But just for the sake of the quality, it might be something a university or other research institution could consider. If that was the case, and I had the tuner, I certainly would tune to it just to see, I mean hear, what it was like. There is still the problem with the compressed source, but that could be adressed in the project as well.

    If anything, it would be a great publicity stunt for HD radio.

  10. #10
    nightflier
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    It's not the only way...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    One thing about commercials, that's how the stations make their money and even satelite is starting down that path.
    There are other ways to fund radio stations such as subscriptions, donations, grants, sponsorships, etc. While this is hardly the right economic or political climate to extol the virtues of alternate funding opportunities, it should not be forgotten that privatizing and commercializing a medium is not the only way to pay for it. In the case of the airwaves, we have to remember that by law, these cannot be owned, something a lot of commercial interests are trying to change.

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