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Hate Static on the Radio? March 25, 2007

Posted by K.C. in Auto's, Manufacturing, media, Technology.

Radio broadcasters and audio tuner companies are finally using digital Radio, a new type of radio technology. The technology is called HD radio, not an abbreviation for High Definition, was developed by iBiquity Digital Corporation and was introduced about three years ago. Compared to analog radio, which is currently broadcast, this new radio technology will supposedly produce much better sound quality without any static interference.

In its first introduction, the high cost of implementing the new technology deterred radio stations and audio component manufacturers from introducing the technology to consumers but because of a recent drop in costs have began to adopt it. When HD radio was introduced, broadcasters were hesitant to adopt the technology because of the high cost consumers would have to pay for the new HD head units (car stereo). However, prices have dropped and companies now offer HD head units for around $200 and installation is comparable with satellite radio conversions.

Aside from the quality of sound from HD radio, what is interesting is the fact that no subscription is needed to receive HD stations and most large radio stations offer or will soon offer HD radio broadcasts. Furthermore, HD radio broadcasters can also offer several different broadcasts on the same frequency. This will therefore allow radio stations to target several niches of listeners and give their audiences a choice of several different broadcasts. However, thus far only BMW has announced they will offer HD radio tuner options in their cars.  

Do people see this as a viable alterative to satellite radio? Can HD compete with Sirius/XM radio?   



1. Brian Mulligan - March 26, 2007

I think that HD radio will become the norm and replace the current radio system in cars. The same will happen to HD television sets because the prices will be dropping so quickly to gain access to a larger customer base.

If HD radio becomes the norm, then it will not be in contest with satellite radio. It will just be another feature in the higher priced cars. Satellite also requires you to pay a monthly fee for their service, which HD radio doesn’t. They are providing different services and their futures are very uncertain right now. Also, they are both very young industries, so who knows what will happen.

2. wilson7 - March 27, 2007

I agree with Brian, I believe that as the price for the HD radio begins to decline more and more it will begin to be the norm in most vehicles. As of right now while the price for this new radio begins at around two hundred dollars only people who buy BMW or individual who are willing to pay this price for the new technology. I don’t think that anybody likes to hear static coming from their radio but people are use to this because all radios have static. In years to come I believe that automobile manufactures will do away with the old radios and every car will contain the HD radio.

3. silviamocanu07 - March 28, 2007

Given the recent drop in the costs that it involves, as well as the superior quality and the diversification of broadcasts that it offers on a given frequency, I agree that HD radio will become commonplace.

Even though, so far, BMW is the only car manufacturer that has announced its implementation in their vehicles, other car manufacturers will soon join in.

4. Jordi - April 10, 2007

Kiron, Will the technology enable glocalization- global technology for local variation? People care about local news, one of the big drawbacks of Xirius (hehe).

This is a great opportunity to talk about technology and niche formation. Does this add to resources in radio niche, or create more intense competition? Who will absorb costs of technology deployment? How will this change relationships between advertisers, radio stations, Clear Channel and other mega corporate owners, and listeners?

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