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High Definition Radio and New Content Alternatives

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the time-to-buy-a-wider-radio dept.

305

An anonymous reader writes "Many people are aware that satellite radio is a viable consumer option thanks to massive marketing campaigns. What many people do not know is that an alternative, High Definition Radio, exists in most major US markets. IBM DeveloperWorks explains how HD Radio works and why the masses may soon be scrambling to adopt this technology and expand it to alternative content as fast as possible."

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305 comments

In conclusion (1, Interesting)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482001)

HD radio is coming soon. The first real receivers are out, and more are coming. Expect a steady stream of content gimmicks in the near future, as broadcasters try to jump-start consumer acceptance and spur the sale of HD radios. They've learned their lesson from the satellite guys, and are ready to start fighting back.

There is no way possible that Satellite radio can be beaten by HD radios ... no way ... too late into the game.

Re:In conclusion (3, Insightful)

_pi-away (308135) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482136)

I'll start by saying that you may very well be right, lead and market penetration means alot especially in this industry.

But, that said, satellite radio sucks. The music/programming choices are great, but the sound quality is terrible, it is so ridiculously compressed I just couldn't handle it. Not to mention that I couldn't get any reception at work or home, it only worked in the car.

If HD radio gives you decent reception and actual high quality audio I might consider it.

Re:In conclusion (1, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482244)

Depends on what you want. Personally I don't give a shit about quality, I want stations that play good music (find me a blues station in Seattle- I can't. There's all of 1 classic rock station) and I want to lose the annoying freaking commercials. HD doesn't solve either problem, so there's no reason for me to even look at it.

Re:In conclusion (5, Insightful)

heptapod (243146) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482268)

I want a station that actually plays music rather than a twenty two minute parade of commercials interspersed with idiotic chatter and random telephone calls. Fix then content then talk about technology.

Re:In conclusion (1)

killercentipedes (782350) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482354)

Thats why i love college radio. shameless plug --> 91.7FM WMSE

Re:In conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482456)

College radio is laughable. Your money is better spent on satellite radio.

Free beats non-free every time (1)

stankulp (69949) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482146)

It's the American way.

Re:Free beats non-free every time (1)

lucifig (255388) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482235)

It's the American way.


I don't know a single person who doesn't have cable or satellite TV.

Re:Free beats non-free every time (1)

theelectron (973857) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482534)

I don't... I just buy a season of Stargate SG1 on DVD every now and then... I'm not kidding...

Re:In conclusion (1)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482364)

There is no way possible that terrestrial free radio can be beaten by satellite radios ... no way ... too late into the game.

Errm...

Re:In conclusion (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482496)

I don't have satelite radio. I don't even know anyone who has satelite radio. I'm not interested in paying for radio, even sans commercials. If I want to hear new music, the traditional or internet radio stations can provide it. If I want music enough to pay for it, I will pay for it once and only once. Satelite can't meet my needs. I can understand how it might meet yours. But its a niche.

HD on the other hand is (to me) just an extension of traditional radio. It's a general replacement, not a niche. It's like replacing my 8x CDROM with a 32x CDROM. Heck, all HD has to do to market itself is say "Better quality than satelite and traditional radio and no messy contracts!" Sold. And I bet I could sell all my friends and family, too. If I said "satelite radio" to them, their eyes would glaze over.

No way possible? What about... (4, Insightful)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482540)

1.) Localized content. I've heard localized content is available on some satellite stations, but I don't know the details, and I suspect they don't offer dozens of local choices like current broadcasts do and HD potentially can. While music is typically my main criteria for selecting a station, sometimes I'll pick one's that I know do traffic, weather, or news updates frequently. There's also local talk shows and busy parents or alumni who love listening to local high school and college sporting events broadcast on the radio.

2.) Lower cost. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't XM and Sirius both subscription services?

3.) Embedding. XM or Sirius haven't made their way into car or home stereos as a standard feature. AM/FM antennae have long since. I didn't understand all the technical details from the article, but it sounds to me that there's not much needed beyond a decoder for the HD broadcast to be playable.

4.) Standardization. The article mentioned this format has been accepted by the FCC as a standard. Again, I don't know the details of satellite radio, but it sounds like the equipment is not inter-compatible.

5.) Independent operation. Stations handle the production and distribution of their programming themselves, instead of passing off the latter to the satellite owners. I tend to think of this as a good thing.

That's how I see it anyway. I'm no expert on this, so I welcome more information or rebuttals of my points. I'm also no fortune-teller, so I'm not saying HD is going to kick butt, but I disagree that it's too late to grab market share.

It may be digital.. (4, Insightful)

porkUpine (623110) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482013)

But it is still BLOATED with commercials!!! Give me my XM @ $9.95 a month with no (or VERY limited) commercials any day!

Re:It may be digital.. (4, Insightful)

EL_mal0 (777947) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482252)

One day, your precious (almost) commercial-free satellite radio content will go the way of commercial-free cable TV content. Prices will go up, and amount of content will go down owinf to commercials creep in "to pay the bills".

Looks into crystal ball
I predict that in the not-too distant future satellite radio stations will be just like their terrestrial ancestors.

Re:It may be digital.. (1)

Instine (963303) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482260)

Don't won't commercials, try the BBC. Think its only got bad music, look around, try BBC Radio 6. Its all free.

Re:It may be digital.. (2, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482397)

But it is still BLOATED with commercials!!! Give me my XM @ $9.95 a month with no (or VERY limited) commercials any day!

a) Think that's gonna last forever? XM is several billion in the hole, and neither them nor Sirius has had a profitable quarter yet. Right now, they're doing a US-Soviet Union style cold war, spending like drunken Republicans until one of them goes bankrupt. At that time, the winner will be able to capture the whole market, and will then start raising subscription fees, and having limited (and then less-limited) amounts of commercials to drag themselves back out of their financial hole.

b) Aside from all that, HD Radio is much higher quality than satellite radio, with bitstreams 4-6 times the size. They're also working on a surround sound algorithm for it.

High Definition Radio? (4, Funny)

mustafap (452510) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482019)

Another nail in the coffin of Standard English. We might as well start speaking C++.

Re: High Definition Radio? (4, Funny)

dotpavan (829804) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482067)

like BASIC? [bash.org]

Veav: I would do weird things with my kids.
Veav: Their first language will be BASIC.
Veav: They'll be running around yelling "10 print daddy, 20 print daddy, 30 print can I have some candy, 40 input x?"
Chef Brian: So Veav, I take it they won't be functional members of any society?
Veav: And I'd be all "X = NO!"

Re: High Definition Radio? (2, Insightful)

ystar (898731) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482151)

Audio signals can be spoken of in terms of resolution when they are digitized. Whether such a usage is applicable to this particular example however, is less clearly...defined.

Re: High Definition Radio? (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482210)

Care to point me to the reference for "standard English"?

Re: High Definition Radio? (2, Informative)

mustafap (452510) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482280)

You could start with the Oxford English Dictionary.
Then move onto Fowler's Modern English.

Re: High Definition Radio? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482342)

Care to point me to the reference for "standard English"?

Any recent dictionary, with the addition of Strunk & White.

This is not at all the same thing as pointing you to an authority for standard English and the references all contain noticable disagreements between them.

There is such a thing as standard English. There is no such thing as proper English, because English is not defined, it is spoke/wrote, the reference definitions being created from usage post hoc. The very reason why it is proper English to refer to it as standard English rather than proper English. Or at least that's the standard.

KFG

a big bucket of Meh (3, Insightful)

Churla (936633) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482021)

The only stations in the DFW market I've heard utter a peep about digital radio are the ones that are all already owned by the big conglomerate media powerhouses. I don't think TFAs concept of this helping out any kind of independent will gain any traction.

On the other hand it is a fully digital signal without paying a monthly subscription fee.

Re:a big bucket of Meh (1)

HardCase (14757) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482216)

In the Boise, ID market, KBSX and KBSU are digital. KBSS in Sun Valley is digital, too. They're all public radio, so maybe your local public radio stations are digital, too. They didn't make a big fuss about it here for some reason.

Of course, NPR in glorious HD Radio is...well...talk.

-h-

Re:a big bucket of Meh (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482240)

That's another point for why I don't bother with HD radio or XM/Sirrus. As I mentioned to my wife once. I listen to one station, it's local, and it's all talk. Why exactly do I need any of this other technology?

Re:a big bucket of Meh (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482427)

Of course, NPR in glorious HD Radio is...well...talk.

Oh, that's just the start... I work for an all-news/talk NPR station that is now in HD, and we're looking at HD2 - giving digital multicasting, data streaming, etc... So, tune into us for long in-depth reporting, get bored when we start fundraising, so press a button and a buffered traffic and weather report comes out (updated every 5 minutes, say), and then return seamlessly to the show.

Counterexample (1)

bob_herrick (784633) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482547)

KFOG 104.5 (San Francisco) broadcasts in HD, and is employee owned. It is also available for streaming at kfog.com. KFOG progrsms ClassincRock/best of modern rock. There are commercials for sure, but not to an onerous extent.

DAB? DRM? (4, Informative)

Kitsune818 (927302) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482022)

I don't think digital radio is a very big "surprise" to Europeans. There are over 50 DAB channels in London alone. 30 countries use it IIRC..

Why the US has to be different once again I haven't figured out.

Re:DAB? DRM? (1)

nosaj72 (615582) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482074)

If you read the article, it says that the DAB frequencies are not available for use in the US. This system uses the current frequencies to carry the digital signal along with the analog one.

IBOC not DAB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482110)

If you had actually rtfm (ha!) you would have been given the answer as to why.

a)DAB uses spectrum not available in the US
b)IBOC is so much better that its only the stubborn English out of those 30 that are sticking with DAB

Re:DAB? DRM? (0, Troll)

gambit3 (463693) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482414)

Why the US has to be different once again I haven't figured out.

Just to piss off arrogant pricks like you. Did it work?

Re:DAB? DRM? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482507)

DAB has had no impact on the radio market though.

The promise of better quality didn't happen because the stations all overcompressed so much a lot of their stuff is on a par with AM.

Digital radio is also available cheaper via DTT (£40 for a TV receiver that does radio, vs. £80 for just a radio..or you can stick with £5 for your FM radio that you probably have already).

Not met anyone with a DAB set yet.. they won't get wide adoption until they're as cheap as standard radios.

Does this really beat Satellite? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482026)

Is this the same High Def radio that is limited to cities and when I travel long distances all I'll ever get is digital Country music? Or better yet, is this the hi def radio with inconsistent stations so that even if I find one I like, I'll lose it after driving beyond the signal? No thanks, I'll pass.

Re:Does this really beat Satellite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482095)

Um,
Isn't every radio such that if you drive beyond its signal, you lose it???
What are you thinking? Use a cd player then, but then I suppose you will be upset when it gets to the end and repeats the same songs you heard in the previous half hour!

Re:Does this really beat Satellite? (1)

shawngarringer (906569) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482150)

Except satellite radio. Satellite radio is coast to coast. So there is no driving outside of its signal... Which, of course, is why the subject of his post is "Does this really beat Satellite?"

Re:Does this really beat Satellite? (1)

mikeisme77 (938209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482290)

That's why I use my MP3 player for long trips (enough songs on it so that I don't have to hear the same song more than once as long as I'm not driving more than 8 hours a day or so)--and this way I'm not trying to take a CD out and put a new one in while driving. I'll normally flip over to the normal radio every so often though just to get a feel of the local music/listen to stuff I haven't heard before.

Re:Does this really beat Satellite? (1)

ankarbass (882629) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482293)

Precisely. The advantages of satellite radio are not simply that it's "digital" as the industry clown in the article wants people to think. In fact, I doubt most people who subscribe cite sound quality as the most important advantage. As another poster pointed out, american consumers have shown that they are not willing to pay more just for improved sound quality. In the long run I think broadcasting sans network will lose out. I would look to the cell phone carriers to providing any significant alternative to satellite. You must have good selection of content and the ability to reach consumers where they are.

Open standards? (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482033)

What I want to know is how open are the Ibiquity HD standards - is it a published standard like DAB or DRM (the digital radio mondial, not the rights management thing) that you can work with on your own if you want, or is it closed, licensed and NDA encumbered?

I don't see the motivation (4, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482036)

I don't see the motivation for HD radio right now - the receivers are WAY to expensive for what you get.

If you are in your car, you won't be able to tell the difference between HD Radio and plain-old FM Multiplex (unless your car is so well soundproofed that it poses a danger to everyone else on the road because you cannot hear horns/emergency vehicles/etc.)

If you are at home, for the cost of an HD setup you can get a HELL of a lot of music, or listen to sat radio.

Now, *IF* they were *replacing* radio stations with a pure digital block, then I could begin to see the advantage.

But I fear this will be just like HDTV - the broadcasters will use it to transmit FIVE TIMES THE COMMERCIALS! not actually transmit really good content.

Now, *if* auto makers start shipping HD radio in cars by default (or at least as part of the top of the line radio systems)....

SOS Radio (1)

davido42 (956948) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482128)

Here in central North Carolina I haven't heard anything about HD radio (yet), not that I'm interested. The only real radio stations around here are the 3+ excellent college stations I listen to daily (WXYC, WKNC, WXDU). I had the opportunity to rent a car with Sirius for a weekend, and while the selections were pretty good, my local dudes kicked their collective satellite asses! (Subliminal message: support college radio).

Have a random day,
david

http://www.bitworksmusic.com/ [bitworksmusic.com]

Re:I don't see the motivation (1)

JesusPancakes (941204) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482463)

I have to seriously disagree with your assertion that FM radio is all the quality you can experience in a car. Hell, my shitty Hyundai Elantra has transformed (with +$1000 of equipment) into a great audio environment, and even in the other cars I drive there's a HUGE difference just between FM and CD.

One of my friends has an excellent setup and has a 1/8" adapter to connect his iPod. The difference between FM-transmitted audio (via iTrip or similar) and the direct RCA connection is phenomenal, whereas the difference between FM transmitting in my mom's shitty old minivan and the direct-line CD changer is less, although still noticeable - and that's just a stock Chrysler stereo running to damaged paper cones. And you can bet your ass that the CDs sound much, much better than even the best FM stations.

I agree that HD radio is overrated, but you certainly can get much better audio quality than FM in a car without soundproofing your entire car. In fact, your argument that you'd have to soundproof a car until it's dangerous indicates a total lack of knowledge about either car stereos or good quality audio. It is common to use expensive damping material in car doors to increase sound quality to very high levels, and does not pose any risk to the driver - you can still hear perfectly well what's happening around you.

Sound dampening insulation like DynaMat is meant to reduce generic road noise, not to soundproof a car. And high-quality 5.1 car stereo setups are certainly doable for under a few hundred dollars - one model of Acura ships with a DVD-Audio capable stereo. More to the point, the idea that a stereo FM signal is adequate sound quality is just plain silly - even laymen can tell the difference between a CD and an FM signal. If HD Radio improves audio quality to just CD quality, it will be an improvement.

(Although from what I hear, it doesn't really. HD Radio definitely kind of sucks. But it's silly to assert that FM is good enough. And as for the price, a simple Google Search [bizrate.com] demonstrates that HD-capable aftermarket CD players can be had for as little as $105, and easily in the $100-$200 range (which is the low-end market for aftermarket players))

Re:I don't see the motivation (2, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482512)

If you are in your car, you won't be able to tell the difference between HD Radio and plain-old FM Multiplex (unless your car is so well soundproofed that it poses a danger to everyone else on the road because you cannot hear horns/emergency vehicles/etc.)

Not true - in addition to higher quality audio and the potential for surround sound, HD Radio has error checking built in, so you don't get multipath interference effects (picket-fencing).

Now, *IF* they were *replacing* radio stations with a pure digital block, then I could begin to see the advantage. They are. This is the first step - combined digital/analog transmission. Step 2 is turning off the analog, once the vast majority of consumers have digital receivers, and increasing quality even further (and adding in more program streams).

Now, *if* auto makers start shipping HD radio in cars by default (or at least as part of the top of the line radio systems)....

2007 cars. Enjoy.

HD? Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482039)

High-def you say? It must be good!

High Definition Radio? (4, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482044)

Shouldn't that be "High Fidelity Radio?"

Definition: Sharpness of an image (as seen by the clarity of detail) formed by an optical system. Definitions of definition on the Web [google.com]

Fidelity: A term used to describe the accuracy of recording, reproduction, or general quality of audio processing. Definitions of fidelity on the Web [google.com]

Re: High Definition Radio? (1)

HardCase (14757) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482147)

Yeah, well, we got WiFi, so HD radio seems like a minor mistake. Besides, it's too late now...

Re: High Definition Radio? (1)

DaemanUhr (829300) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482149)

Seriously, I almost want to boycott it on principle. I can't see it as anything other than an attempt to cash in on the HDTV marketing efforts.

Re: High Definition Radio? (1)

DrifterX79 (824302) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482204)

It can't be considered High Fidelity Radio. The bitrate would be too low too be considered High Fidelity. IIRC the bitrate for HD radio was pretty low. I guess they call it HD because you will see more useless broadcasts.

Interactive is the future. (1, Insightful)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482049)

I won't pay for anything until I get Launchcast in my car. Having the ability to access tons of stations and rate songs is where its at. If I don't like a song... *poof* I'll never hear it again! It's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Also, I can have a mix of music from rock to classical on one station. Satellite and HD radio can't do that.

http://psychicfreaks.com/ [psychicfreaks.com]

Re:Interactive is the future. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482265)

Launchcast is a great system. I used to run it almost constantly at my old job. Always heard music I liked, or new music that fit my preferences, after a few months I rarely had to rate a song/albumn/artist to 0.

-Rick

Not really (4, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482058)

What many people do not know is that an alternative, High Definition Radio [GC], exists in most major US markets.

People aren't buying satillite for higher quality (although it IS), they are buying it for content (O&A, Stern, etc) and for commercial free music. Not just commerical free, but typically genres that are totally ignored by traditional radio and in a censor free format.

Re:Not really (2, Informative)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482153)

XM and Sirius music stations are *lower* quality than FM. This is widely known.

The sound quality is roughly on par with 96kbps MP3. Comparing to a 128kbps MP3 makes it obvious that the MP3 has higher sound quality.

Re:Not really (0, Offtopic)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482353)

XM and Sirius music stations are *lower* quality than FM. This is widely known.

Funny, because XM sounds better than any FM channel I can get. most of the lower quailty complaints come from dopes that use the FM transmitter. The ideal solution is to hook the radio to the input of your head unit; I use the tape deck adapter, and it sounds great. I suspect this is because my deck understand Dolby, which the tape adpater outputs.

The sound quality is roughly on par with 96kbps MP3. Comparing to a 128kbps MP3 makes it obvious that the MP3 has higher sound quality.

Where exactly are you getting th 96kbps? Making it up i assume? Perhaps you haven't listened to either hooked up properly; that's usually the problem.

Re:Not really (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482545)

So is DAB. And 'HD' Radio probably will be too.

Which one do you think the broadcasters will do?

1. Transmit the same number of channels at much higher quality.
2. Transmit 10* as many channels at the same or lower quality allowing them to massively increase their advertising revenue for negligible cost.

We've been through this is europe already. The answer is 2.

Re:Not really (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482559)

XM and Sirius music stations are *lower* quality than FM. This is widely known.

The sound quality is roughly on par with 96kbps MP3. Comparing to a 128kbps MP3 makes it obvious that the MP3 has higher sound quality.

Worse than that, particularly the XM/Sirius talk stations. They know they can get away with a much lower bitrate, so they do - between 12-24 kbps.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482193)

They also buy it if they do a lot of travel, and they cannot get even mainstream music while on the road. I drive the east coast a lot and there are too many zones where all I can get is classic rock or country music. With Satellite radio I can get mainstream rock whenever, wherever.

Yay! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482059)

CD quality commericals, I can't wait. I'm still waiting for HD Radio - DRM Edition.

Radio execs don't get it (2, Insightful)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482071)

Content is the key. That is why I continue to pay $12/mo for my Sirius satelite unit. Programming on the local stations is SO BAD that even cheapskates like me pay to escape from it!

Bitrate (2, Informative)

ncw (59013) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482072)

That article was all very interesting in a "how do I squeeze yet another subcarrier in" sort of way, but it didn't actually mention what bitrate it is going to transmitted did it?

Wikipedia has this to say which clears it up a bit

In hybrid mode, the AM version can carry 36 kilobits per second of data for the main audio channel, while FM stations can carry information at 96 kbit/s. HD Radio can also be used to carry multiple distinct audio services, called multicasting but actually more like multiplexing. Secondary channels, such as for weather, traffic, or a radio reading service, can be added this way, though it may reduce the audio quality of all channels on a station. Datacasting is also possible, and RDS-like metadata about the program and station are included in the standard. Stations may eventually go all-digital, meaning they could no longer be heard on a regular radio.
Interesting to preserve backwards compatibility, but not as technically innovative as DAB...

Thanks to Sirius (1)

mattkinabrewmindspri (538862) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482075)

If you're going to be buying a new radio anyway, you might as well get Sirius satellite radio [sirius.com] .

I have 67 channels of commercial-free music, plus tons of non-music entertainment channels, comedy, sports and other channels at my fingertips. I trust them to provide worthwhile content much more than I trust Clear Channel.

Re:Thanks to Sirius (1)

UnderC0ver (920560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482444)

Howard Stern fan are ya? I used to listen to HS on free radio in NYC, but haven't popped for a Sirius or XM receiver just yet.

Why haven't more of my fans followed me to Sirius, asks Howard Stern [yahoo.com] recently?

Maybe it's because I have a great FM radio in my geeky Prius [poconopcdoctor.com] , with a six CD-Changer that also plays MP3's, WMA, etc. I have way more than enough stuff to listen to in the car during my commute, and (are you listening, Sirius and XM?), it's FREE.

I'm sure the free vs pay controversy has been done to death here at /., but I still resent paying for content that was formerly free.

When they start charging for air, I'm outta here! gasp!!!

Re:Thanks to Sirius (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482554)

You do realize that Clear Channel has a stake in XM don't you? I wouldn't trust them further than I could throw them.

My prediction (5, Funny)

sootman (158191) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482083)

I bet HD radio will be as much of a sensation as SACDs, with adoption rates possibly greater than MiniDisc and DAT combined!

New Technology (2, Insightful)

bym051d (980242) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482093)

Same crappy programming. Can't they figure out, it's not the sound quality of satellite radio, it's the programming.

Re:New Technology (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482230)

CDDA had the biggest impact on Radio, probably even bigger than the impact of Stereo FM.

People under 30 don't even realize that there was a time when music broadcasts routinely featured record scratches, skips, different dynamic characteristics, and so on.

But once we crossed that threshold, where even the cheapest radio now has better dynamic range than some of the true audiophile rigs of the last generation, the idea of "improving quality" is lost on an audience that has already seen a plateau, the limits of human perception being reached and exceeded in some cases. Why should they care?

Actually low-resolution (5, Insightful)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482116)

See, even the Slashdot editors fell for the "HD Radio" scam. The "HD" doesn't stand for anything, much less "High Definition". In fact in-band digital radio sounds much worse than analog FM radio. The CODEC sounds so bad that the FCC came close to not approving it. Only strong lobbying by iBiquity, the holders of the patents on the CODEC, convinced the FCC to approve.

HD Radio has many many problems, notably that its sideband transmission scheme crowds out adjacent low-power FM stations. Basically, it's Clear Channel's master plan to finally kill off the local competition. Oh, and guess who is a major investor in iBiquity and its patent portfolio? Yeah, Clear Channel.

So have fun with your "HD" Radio. It's a great way to crowd three times as many commercials and mindless corporate pop music crap into the same FM band, while destroying local stations, implementing DRM, and removing fair-use rights. Joy!

Re:Actually low-resolution (2, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482328)

Speaking of crowding out the low-power FM stations, all of the short-range iPod and Satellite FM transmitters are REALLY getting on my nerves. I have a two-hour-each-way drive each week, and it's hard enough listening to my chosen stations over that range of highway without the increasingly common 5-30 second interruptions by some pop music crap that happens to be driving along near my car.

Pretty soon, the usefulness of broadcast radio will be gone, and everyone will *have* to subscribe to some DRM'ed digital channel, or plan and download their own content of choice for long drives.

Re:Actually low-resolution (2, Funny)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482406)

Buy your own iPod transmitter and click on "Psycho shower scene sound.mp3" in your iPod every time you hear BS.

HD does not matter (2, Insightful)

Mullen (14656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482155)

HD radio does not matter because the content still sucks. 18 minutes of commercials during 60 minutes of play is not good, no matter how good it sounds.

Satellite is still better because I can get it anywhere in the US, Canada and Northern Mexico (Assuming you are in the US), you never have to hunt for "good" stations while on the road, there are no or very few commercials (Howard Stern is 3 or 6 minutes per hour, if that) and the content is MUCH MUCH better.

The problem is that normal radio or HD radio is pretty much broadcasting crap. No matter how good it sounds, it is still crap.

Re:HD does not matter (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482228)

Wow, you pay $15 a month to get commercial-free radio but Howard Stern still has commercials? That sucks.

Re:HD does not matter (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482306)

5 minutes vs 20 minutes.. the guy has to take a break once in awhile. The show is like 5-6 hours long every day.

So when it hits commercial time switch to one of the bazillion commercial free music channels.

Re:HD does not matter (2, Informative)

Mullen (14656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482337)

3 or 6 minutes of commericals per hour, if that (That's worst case). It is really less than that and the guy has to take a break.

I don't think much of it to be honest and I listen every day.

It's also $13 per month not $15.

Re:HD does not matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482498)

No, what sucked was 22 minutes of comercials an hour (I have an 8 mile/no traffic commute, there were days in the terresterial era where I didn't get to hear Howard at all in the morning because of commercials), at least 4 people with trigger happy dump buttons, between Howards lips and your ears, and stupid Citadel Communications cutting the show off at 10:00, when the show was still going, and the local grunts flat out lying to their listeners, when they took Howard off the air. A couple of commercials an hour is nothing. For god's sake the show goes over 5 hours, the man's got to piss sometime.

Re:HD does not matter (1)

derF024 (36585) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482386)

Satellite is still better because I can get it anywhere in the US, Canada and Northern Mexico (Assuming you are in the US), you never have to hunt for "good" stations while on the road, there are no or very few commercials (Howard Stern is 3 or 6 minutes per hour, if that) and the content is MUCH MUCH better.

The problem is that normal radio or HD radio is pretty much broadcasting crap. No matter how good it sounds, it is still crap.


There's usually one or two stations in an area that play decent content with very few commercials. In Boston I've found 4. Also, I like the fact that with normal radio I can hear local news, events, sports, traffic, whatever. All you're going to hear about on XM or Sirius is what's going on in New York or Washington, and because they're broadcasting the same stream to the rest of the country, they won't even talk about that.

Sure, maybe they've got some guy reading through regional weather and traffic reports, but that's not what I'm looking for either.

If you want just music out of your radio, you can get an iPod for really cheap these days.

I'm done with radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482157)

... whether satellite, HD or whatever. Why bother listing to the songs I don't like on the radio when a tiny 20GB Archos Gmini contains all my music I want to hear?

About couple of years ago I used to listen to radio every day, now I do not even own a FM receiver. Radio's future (at least when it comes to the music stations) is not very bright.

Re:I'm done with radio (2, Informative)

mattkinabrewmindspri (538862) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482273)

I thought the same way before I tried a three-day trial streaming sirius [sirius.com] . It's not the greatest quality stream, or even really a good quality stream, but they played a lot of music I didn't know. I liked it so much that I listened to it pretty much straight through the trial, even though my mp3 collection is ripped at a much-higher quality 192kbps vbr.

That's the appeal of Sirius for me. They play a lot of music I'd never hear anywhere else, and they have a lot of good stations from many different genres. It helps me find a lot of new music to add to my iPod.

Next-Gen Radio over the pond... (1)

bitkari (195639) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482162)

As noted in TFA, the UK have plunged into DAB for digital radio provision - however as enthusiastic for "HD Radio" as the article is, I doubt that the UK [or the rest of Europe for that matter] will switch to this IBOC malarky.

It has taken a lot of effort to get people to make the jump to digital [for both radio and tv...], and switching to yet another format simply won't work, if it requires new things for people to buy.

OFCOM [the UK version of the FCC, if you like] seems to be leaning towards possibly introducing DAB with an AAC codec - but again, it's not likely that this will work unless enough DAB manufacturers build a degree of forward-compatibility into their devices NOW, rather than try and sell completely new hardware further down the line.

uh-huh, sure. (3, Insightful)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482196)

from TFA: "Because HD radio builds on existing listening habits, and requires only a modest hardware upgrade, it could be the vehicle for the dissemination of truly alternative programming."

They said the same thing about cable TV.

As long as the FCC keeps such a tight rein on who gets to set up a transmitter, we'll always have the same schlock on the radio, HD or otherwise.

Re:uh-huh, sure. (1)

proxima (165692) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482580)

They said the same thing about cable TV.

Certainly cable isn't the greatest, but don't you think it has gone a long way towards giving people more choice? Granted, most of cable is dominated by big companies (who also buy out the smaller ones that come along), but most people went from 3-4 channels in the 60s to 40 or so channels in the 80s, and now with digital cable, 100+. You might think 90% are crap, but you have a greater number left in that 10% these days.

That said, I gave up cable a year ago and got Netflix instead. Reducing the time spent watching TV (which went way up after I bought a TiVo) was very good for me.

Downside to HD Radio (3, Informative)

Mean Variance (913229) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482197)

I haven't heard HD (as it's too inconvenient at this point to bother). However, I follow a Usenet group that is dominated mostly by radio engineers - along with the typical set of Usenet freaks. The majority of opinions is that it's an expensive, hyped technology under the control of a single company, iBiquity, that is wooing the radio conglomerates without providing much of a real benefit.

In addition, there is apparently a big problem with interference, referred to as "hash" by the posters.

http://groups.google.com/group/ba.broadcast/search ?group=ba.broadcast&q=iboc [google.com]

Satellite radio fees (2, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482202)

Somehow paying $10 or $15 a month just to get radio (even if it is commercial free and digital) seems like another recurring cost I can live without.

I imagine there's enough people that think like me to make any free digital radio the defacto standard/most popular.
 

Re:Satellite radio fees (1)

Enry (630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482420)

There's ~12M people (and increasing) that would disagree with you. The $12.95/mo I spend on my Sirius is well worth the selection of channels I can get anywhere I drive. The free streaming over the web is is nice too.

Ummm.. (2, Funny)

porkUpine (623110) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482242)

Will they be able to say "FUCK" now that it's digital? :)

Re:Ummm.. (1)

mattkinabrewmindspri (538862) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482309)

That's another good thing about satellite.

Although the FCC doesn't think people are strong enough to hear an impolite word, neither Sirius and XM will destroy a good song by bleeping out words.

Re:Ummm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482451)

No, but they'll be able to say 0x4655434B. :-)

Meh.. (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482261)

Heard this same BS a few years ago and I was actually intrested. However nothing happened then and nothing will happen now. It's a stillborn piece of tech in the US. The market for that is on Sirius & XM allready. Everyone else will continue to listen to free shit FM until the nobs fall off thier sterio or longer.

FCC+Clear Channel = HD Death Knell (1)

axmonkey (533393) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482287)

It's dead before it can even start. Anything the FCC has it's tendrils on turns to pablum. Satelite rocks for the same reason Cable rocks, adults can actually get some entertainment. HD radio will fail, unless the gov steps in and mandates it, like digital TV....

Sirius allllll the way (0, Troll)

Electric Eye (5518) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482314)

I'm so fucking fed up with the radicalism that's taken over our government and the censorship brigade, that I'm 100% in sat radio's corner. I have had Sirius since January and could never go back. My only beef is that reception here in the northeast (where there are plenty of leaves in the spring/summer) can suck ass at times and leaves me screaming at my radio. But Howard Stern uncensored? I'm there for life, folks. F the FCC. I couldn't care less about regular radio, HD or not. It's becoming more censored and you're still subjected to corporate-governed, lame playlists. No thanks.

Coming when? (2, Informative)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482326)

Thus far HD radio (yes, the "HD" stands for nothing, not "High Definition") has been a bomb because

a) it's nearly impossible to buy an HD Radio
b) the ones that you can find are several hundred dollars
c) XM and Sirius got there first
d) the quality is not necessarily better enough to interest people
e) There are significant reception and quality problems.

Sure, the broadcast trades keep talking about HD as The Next Big Thing, but really no-one has figured how to sell it to the public. For 95% of people FM is more than OK, and besides, everyone already has an FM radio that has more or less the same programming.

Heck, even HD radio owners aren't all that impressed [hear2.com] .

As has been pointed out by some commentators [hear2.com] :

Fundamentally, everybody needs to understand that folks generally don't buy a radio. They buy things that contain radios. Clocks, alarms, cars, CD players, the stray mp3 player, you name it.

i do satellite (1)

jaimz22 (932159) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482403)

now, i know that HD radio is free, once you have the reciever. but I'd WAY prefer my sirius over HD radio anyday, i get to listen to music i like where ever i am, with HD radio i can only listen to the stations in the area that i'm in.. pppfffttt

Dressing up a pig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15482525)

I've heard the spiel from one of the Clear Channel stations in DFW. I think they're missing the point. I don't pay for satellite radio because I'm concerned with the quality. I pay because I'm SICK of the BS rambling of their morning DJ's and the ridiculous number of commercials they play per hour. I remember a few months back when they began advertising "less commercial, more music". Did anyone see this as anything more than a pathetic and half-hearted attempt to win back some of the listeners they had lost due to their abuse?

HD will be nothing but another revenue stream for the corporate conglomerates.

These guys don't get it (2, Interesting)

therealking (223121) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482581)

Satalite radio is not gaining popularity because it's digital, no one really cares that it's digital. The sound quality is the same as a strong FM signal.

What they care about is that:
1. Music is commercial free
2. The content is very well grouped and partitioned by genre and not TOP 40.
3. The audio is uncensored.

The end quote was such a load, "Who will be the HD radio Howard Stern?", no one thats who. Because HD Radio is the same station broadcast on the same frequency, only digitally. Who cares. This is BS hype over a technology that is not really important to anyone. No one is clamering for better sounding radio.

Ads anyone? (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 7 years ago | (#15482582)

What's more interesting is that now even terrestrial broadcast will be pushed into the pay arena and you'll still have to put up with ads.

And the likes of Clear Channel and Infinity have problems differentiating formats for their owned stations. Who believes that they won't just time shift content on the additional channels?
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