HD Radio needs more power but …
One 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.
At 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 broadcasts would cause substantial interference, decreasing analog coverage areas as much as 50 percent. Stations you once heard may just disappear on your current radio.
Interesting hints about the future of HD Radio
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.
Commercial 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.
People are 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.
The 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.
Car 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 introduced.
Here’s what you need to know about HD Radio
HD radio technology does for radio what high definition does for TV – it makes it just one heck of a lot better, crystal-clear, bright, clean and interference-free. In fact, HD AM radio 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.
Commercial-free HD2 Channels
Crystal-clear, static-free radio is only part of what makes this technology so great. The other part is HD Radio technology makes it possible for stations to multicast or broadcast more than one signal on the same frequency. This is a fancy way of saying that a single station can become three or four stations with each broadcasting something different. For example, one station here broadcasts an easy listening format on one channel and all blues on a second channel. It could even have hip-hop on yet another channel.
You may have already heard of these subchannels without knowing about it as they are usually called HD2 channels.
Best of all, the nation’s HD Radio broadcasters have pledged to keep these HD2 channels commercial-free for at least throughout 2007.
Is that my station sending me a text message?
How many times have you heard a song you liked and wondered what it was or who recorded it?
Wonder no more.
HD 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 what?
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Be sure to bookmark this page and come back 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.
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