Radio needs more power but ...
of the issues facing HD radio is a lack of power. Due
to the fact that digital signals are limited to just one one-hundredth
of the analog power of radio stations, HD Radio coverage can be far
less than analog. In some cases, you need to be within a few miles of
the transmitter to pick up HD radio.
the current 1 percent power level, digital coverage with car hd radios
is typically 85 percent of the normal analog coverage. However, for
home and portable radios with smaller antennas, digital only hits 38
percent of analog’s coverage area. If the
digital power is increased to 10 percent, however, car radio coverage
actually is better than analog, at 117 percent. For home and portable
use, it increases to slightly more than 80
percent. However, increasing the power of digital
would cause substantial interference, decreasing analog coverage areas
as much as 50 percent. Stations you once heard may just disappear on
your current radio.
hints about the future
There was an
interesting article recently in the Seattle, WA paper. It
consisted of interviews with a number of top Seattle radio executives
where they were asked about the future of radio in 2008. Here were two
of the more noteworthy responses.
of HD Radio
radio's audience will continue to shrink as younger listeners find
music on other technology, and listeners of all ages (especially women)
go to public radio and other media for information.
still tuning in to commercial radio at about the same rate as 10 years
ago, but they're not listening as long. Time spent listening has
dropped overall by 15 percent (three hours and 15 minutes per week),
even more among younger listeners and women. High turnover is a sign
listeners aren't finding what they want ... and they're going elsewhere
to get it."
Bryan Lowe, program director, KING-FM/98.1: "KING-FM
will continue to expand its presence online and on HD radio, allowing
us to present even more of this great classical music.
new mantra is 'what you want, when you want it,' and our HD and online
channels will deliver. Listeners will be able to tune in and listen to
operas on demand or devote their weekend to the great symphonies of
Beethoven, Brahms or Tchaikovsky."
audio systems and tuners
The introduction of
new HD car radios has not exactly kept pace with that of their tabletop
cousins, but there has been some activity over the past few months.
For example, there are at least four new in-dash units currently
available. They are the JVC KDHDR1 50-watt CD Deck with built-in HD
tuner at $149.99; the Sony CDX-GT320 HD-ready CD deck for $99.99; and
two Dual radios. The Dual units are an XHD6425 50W x 4 In-Dash CD Deck
with HD Radio Tuner and Detachable Faceplate at $149.99 and the XHD6420
50W x 4 In-Dash CD Deck with HD Radio Tuner and Detachable Faceplate.
Finally, Directed Electronics has a Directed Car Connect Radio
Dice Electronics has an external HD Radio receiver called the HD Dice
HD Radio which it says will integrate to your factory car radio. There
are also HD tuners available that can be connected to existing in-dash
units for HD Radio reception. In this area, Alpine has a TUA-T500HD
Radio Tuner Module that is compatible with all new 2007 Alpine head
units. The T500HD has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price
of $250. Kenwood offers a KTC-HR100TR tuner for around $179 that can be
connected to compatible Kenwood in-dash units. And Sony has a tuner,
XT-100HD, with a suggested retail price of $99.95. Keep in mind that
this article was written in November and that there may be even more HD
radios forthcoming in time for the Christmas selling season. So be sure
to check back from time to time to see what new HD Radios have been
what you need to know
radio technology does for radio what
high definition does for TV – it makes it just one heck of a
crystal-clear, bright, clean and interference-free. In fact, HD AM
sounds as good as today's FM radio – with no annoying
crackle, hiss or
static of any sort. And HD FM sounds almost as good as if you were
listening to a CD.
static-free radio is only
part of what makes this technology so great. The other part
Radio technology makes it possible for stations to multicast or
more than one signal on the same frequency. This is a fancy way of
that a single station can become three or four stations with each
broadcasting something different. For example, one station here
an easy listening format on one channel and all blues on a second
It could even have hip-hop on yet another channel.
may have already heard of these subchannels without knowing about it as
they are usually called HD2 channels.
of all, the nation's HD Radio
broadcasters have pledged to keep these HD2 channels commercial-free
for at least throughout 2007.
my station sending me a text message?
many times have you heard a song you liked and wondered what it was or
who recorded it?
Radio technology also allows stations to broadcast text messages such
as a song's
title and artist. Or selected stations may choose to use this
technology to broadcast traffic alerts and weather bulletins. Wow, is
that cool or
you will find on this
you're interested in learning more
about HD technology, be sure to click on the menu button "HD2
Channels," "Texting," "Signal Coverage," and if
you're a real techie, "The Technology." Signal Coverage,"
sure to bookmark this
sure to bookmark this page and
regularly to see what's
happening in HD Radio technology. The new technology is changing almost
daily. There are new HD Radio stations announced just about weekly. And
there should be a whole slew of new HD Radios available soon. Be sure
to come back often to see what new radios are available, which stations
are now broadcasting HD2 channels, and more coming on-stream every day.
from previous column)