HD Radio - Next Big Thing or Flop?

What Are Your Thoughts on HD Radio

  • I use it and love it!

    Votes: 4 8.5%
  • I have it but don't use it

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • It's a fad and will die out

    Votes: 14 29.8%
  • It's got potential

    Votes: 24 51.1%
  • What's HD Radio?

    Votes: 5 10.6%

  • Total voters
    47
A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
HD Radio makes sense. Digital music with meta information similar to mp3, but with even more flexibility. As the digital transition looms nearer for televisions, radio - for the most part seems bent on staying analogue, even though the same fuzzy AM and FM radio has been annoying us for decades. HD Radio proved to change all that, but similar to HD DVD, there seems to be only one main technology player in town - iBiquity and they aren't exactly having adopters sign up in droves for a non-mandatory digital radio transition.


Discuss "HD Radio - Next Big Thing or Flop?" here. Read the article.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I have done an installation with an HD radio. I also have experience with the European DAB. Both Ibiquity's HD and DAB sound worse than FM. They sound brittle and have the same audio defects as mp3 files.
A good FM tuner with a good FM roof antenna sounds significantly better than so called HD, which is not HD, it is LD. If there was a lossless codec then it would likely be satisfactory.
 
M

markw

Audioholic Overlord
After much soul searching, I have to say it's got potential.

but, it's not making much use of that potential.

And, their biggest selling point is that the "HD" in their product is mistaken for "High Definition" and, I'd venture to say that most people that fall for this can't even tell the difference. ("Dude, I just got me a hi def radio! It sounds gnarly!") ok, so I'm dating myself here :rolleyes:

The sound is, well, acceptable for non-critical listening but that shouldn't be too much of an impediment for it. Lots and lots of people listen to crappy MP3 recordings and don't mind.

But, the availability seems to be the hang-up here. When other systems* came into the marketplace, the inventors/licensors went out of their way to make it palatable for manufacturers to include it in their products at little or no extra cost, thereby making it a "freebie" to he consumer. The more consumers that got the stuff, the more ingrained into the fabric of the system it became. Those pennies of licensing fees seem to add up.

At the heyday of cassettes decks, and even today, you're hard-pressed to find one without some form of Dolby NR or another and look where Dolby is today.

As I say, a lot of us audiogeeks aren't really ready to part with $$ for an inferior product of unproven nature and Joe Sixpack, who would be their most likely target, doesn't seem willing to pay a premium for it either, assuming that hardware was readily available, which isn't the case anyway.

Ibiquity is gonna have to wise up if it wants to be a playa.

Unless, of course, the government pulls a fast one on us like they just did for TV, but at least digital TV is a marked improvement over analog TV and they ARE mandating inexpensive converter boxes aand offering coupons to help the sting. "HD" radio isn't.

* like FM stereo, MTS stereo and Dolby NR for tape decks
 
Midcow2

Midcow2

Banned
I agree with the its got potential category

If you listen to radio; I like talk radio in the car and sometimes at home then I think it has potential but it is in the beginning neophyte stage. More radio stations will have to add the format and it will evolve into AVRs; now it is just the higher end.

In the past receivers had very good AM/FM tuners. in most cases now it is an afterthought because everyone is interested in DVD and satellite (with Sirius XM) HDMI or PC Internet streaming and AM/FM are not really looked at that much.

I recently bough a AVR that had HD and I listen to it occasionally and it sound very good to excellent. I also recently bought a Sony XDR-S3HD radio and it sounds very good. But what do I know, I have a Bose wave radio that actually pulls in stations well and sounds good :)D notice I did not say very good as with the Sony or 80002 HD).


I think you will see more and more HD radio in the future. Not that they are always the lead indiactor, but I noticed BMW and probably other car manaufacturers are offering their Harmon Kardon radio with HD now.
 
E

Exit

Audioholic Chief
I listen to FM radio very little and generally in the car. I usually listen to CDs or MP3 CDs rather than the radio. At present I would not be inclined to add to my monthly bills or lay down the cash for initial purchase of a satellite radio. If I were a traveling salesman or something like that I probably would subscribe to satellite radio. I would be much more inclined if there was a lossless format. I have got candidate radios in my audio system and four cars. That would be a big investment and monthly bill. I will stick with free FM radio for now.
 
Biggiesized

Biggiesized

Senior Audioholic
The FCC should move to invest/support the newer DAB+ standard. I think that's a better way to go than the proprietary nonsense from iBiquity.

FM isn't much better at all than some of these digital formats. I called up one of my local CC radio stations and I was surprised to learn that they broadcast music in the 128 kbps MP3 format. Yuk!
 
P

pereze

Audiophyte
Have it, Like it

I have HD radio in my car. I installed it almost two years ago when I was upgrading my stereo and wanted to have a few different options. I like listening to the radio sometimes and I had a little money to blow (if I remember correctly it was about $150). At the time, we were looking at some homes that would have given me a good size commute, so I thought having HD radio may be good to have.

One of the biggest draws was not that it was high quality, but that I could get multiple stations from one frequency. One of the more popular radio stations in Atlanta, 99X, just moved to an online/HD format only so you can't get it with a normal radio. I would not describe myself as a typical consumer, but I am not completely an audioholic. I appreciate audio quality, but I can also listen to an alarm/clock/radio and enjoy myself too.

The quality of the signal can be great at times. At other times, it can be a bit “compressed”, which I would say is better than the hiss of a typical analog station. Some stations are better than others. One of my biggest gripes is that the analog and digital broadcast can be out of synch and if the radio has a hard time locking in on the HD it is obnoxious because it will switch back and forth between the two.

Otherwise, I am happy with my purchase. This is the only thing I have ever bought that would be considered "cutting edge", but I feel it was a good purchase.

Now I am going to go listen to my HD2 station that you can't hear.:p

Eric
 
P

PocketRadio

Audiophyte
HD Radio simply doesn't work!

“Is HD Radio Toast?”

“There are serious issues of coverage. Early adopters who bought HD radios report serious drop-outs, poor coverage, and interference. The engineers of Ibiquity may argue otherwise and defend the system, but the industry has a serious PR problem with the very people we need to get the word out on HD... In other words, everything you can find on the regular FM dial... The word has already gotten out about HD Radio. People who have already bought an HD Radio are telling others of their experience (mostly bad) and no amount of marketing will reverse this.”

fmqb.com/article.asp?id=487772

"Renowned Cambridge SoundWorks HD Radio Designer Explains HD Radio"

"HD Radio broadcasts require a consistent, stronger signal than analog broadcasts... Below the minimum required signal le vel, the HD Radio program switches back to the analog signal... There is a limit to how far you can be from a transmitter and still receive an HD Radio transmission. For flat land with no obstructions, this limit could be as far away as 20-25 miles. For hilly terrain, the limit may drop to 10-15 miles. For the strongest signal within 20 miles of a radio transmitter, the user should position the provided 30 inch dipole antenna either horizontally or vertically along a wall or window."

hdradio.com/the_buzz.php?thebuzz=87

"Questions About High Definition HD Radio"

Q: Why do I get drop-outs or silences on the HD2 Services?

A: This is a sign of marginal signal strength at your radio. It is important to remember that the HD Radio multicast channels (HD2, HD3, etc), unlike the HD1 channel, do not have an analog signal for the radio to 'fall-back to' when digital reception is lost. So a listener with marginal reception that is losing the digital signal will experience periods of silence until the signal is regained.

wpr.org/hd/hd_faq.cfm

Of the automakers listed, Volvo, whose sales are doing poorly along with most of the automakers offering HD as just an option, is the only one offering HD standard. HD/IBOC jams on both FM and especially on AM. It's range is 1/3 to 1/2 of analog. Consumers have zero interest, and who buys radios anymore, except for radio-geeks. Chrysler and BMW are offering in-dash Internet this Fall, so other automakers will have to follow. HD Radio would just be a downgrade.

HD Radio is all about lies:

hdradiofarce.blogspot.com
 
Last edited:
1

10010011

Senior Audioholic
There is a limit to how far you can be from a transmitter and still receive an HD Radio transmission. For flat land with no obstructions, this limit could be as far away as 20-25 miles. For hilly terrain, the limit may drop to 10-15 miles. For the strongest signal within 20 miles of a radio transmitter, the user should position the provided 30 inch dipole antenna either horizontally or vertically along a wall or window."
This is my main problem with HD radio and the digital TV transition. I live too far from any major cities to get any HD radio or any digital TV OTA. I can receive a few analog TV channels and plenty of analog radio.
 
Biggiesized

Biggiesized

Senior Audioholic
What kind of antenna do you have for digital OTA?
 
C

chadnliz

Senior Audioholic
HD radio will most likely go the way of SACD, Blu Ray and Beta........it doesnt offer the sound it claims, stations are slow to jump on as it costs over $250,000 to do this and the public in general just doesnt really care. Add to that the fact it is a campaign of lies......HD means "Hybrid Dgital" and there has been lawsuits over this yet they still use the term "Hi Def" in some commercials and when they dont flaunt this lie they surely and fully expect folks to assume HD means "Hi Definition".......dont buy the lie!
 
Thunder18

Thunder18

Senior Audioholic
I have a JVC KD-HDR1 that I installed in my car a year or so ago and then installed another in my fiance's car. Unit cost was a little over $160 for one and later on $150 fr the finace's car.

I like it. The difference is noticeable especially when you switch between the full analog stations and the digital station. One for example in my area is radio disney which I could never even get with my previous car stereo. Radio Disney is an AM station that typically hisses and sizzles at you on the analog station, but in digital, it sounds like a strong FM station.

Also, like someone else said, there used to be a station here called the Oasis, a jazz station, tha no longer plays on analog FM, but it is present on the HD-2 digital station.

Will it keep going, hard to say? JVC so far has the only decently priced automotive HD radio tuner that is all inclusive. Alpine and Kenwood make some that require expensive add-ons that make it pretty much not worthwhile. (actually Best Buy has an Insignia brand for a few bucks less than the JVC, but the JVC is already available for only $150 so why bother).
 
A

allargon

Audioholic General
My issue with it is the additional cost. Who's going to pay $300 or even $150 for a home unit that plays radio??? CD players don't even cost that much.

Based on the list of auto manufacturers, it is barely more successful than DVD-A in automobiles. (Was SACD ever available in cars.)

In fact, I see two major brands that still offer DVD-A playback msising from the list--Acura and Cadillac. Scion is in the list but not Toyota (I have a Prius.) or Lexus. The brands I found to have the best sound in the entry level luxury sedan market are Lexus, Acura, Audi and Cadillac. This needs to be offered as an add-on from all manufacturers the same way CD's were. There's no way I would put a non-stock radio in a luxury car unless I was prepared to take a big hit on resale ("Pimp My Ride" not withstanding).
 
I

irfan

Audiophyte
i hate the statement "theres no more static" ... same thing cell providers say these days.. the "either you get it signal or you dont" is BS... because when you are low on reception you will have your audio cut in and out repeatedly... and while its not static ... you are going from "getting it" to "dont get it" back and forth, and its just as annoying as static.
 
Mr.M-500t

Mr.M-500t

Enthusiast
I have the Sangean HDT-1 tuner and for the most part I like it.
It does a killer job on AM HD Broadcasts at all times. Can't be beat.
The FM HD IMHO leaves allot to be desired. I only have it hooked to an indoor dipole antennae and the FM HD is as good as your older AAD CD's.
Very sensitive to atmospheric conditions.
I have an old Carver TX-11 FM Tuner that sounds just about as good for analog listening.

To me it was well worth the money I paid for it new. $150.00 I think ?:cool:
 
1

10010011

Senior Audioholic
i hate the statement "theres no more static" ... same thing cell providers say these days.. the "either you get it signal or you dont" is BS... because when you are low on reception you will have your audio cut in and out repeatedly... and while its not static ... you are going from "getting it" to "dont get it" back and forth, and its just as annoying as static.
I prefer the static any day!
 
Mr.M-500t

Mr.M-500t

Enthusiast
pereze said,

I have HD radio in my car. I installed it almost two years ago when I was upgrading my stereo and wanted to have a few different options. I like listening to the radio sometimes and I had a little money to blow (if I remember correctly it was about $150). At the time, we were looking at some homes that would have given me a good size commute, so I thought having HD radio may be good to have.

One of the biggest draws was not that it was high quality, but that I could get multiple stations from one frequency. One of the more popular radio stations in Atlanta, 99X, just moved to an online/HD format only so you can't get it with a normal radio. I would not describe myself as a typical consumer, but I am not completely an audioholic. I appreciate audio quality, but I can also listen to an alarm/clock/radio and enjoy myself too.

The quality of the signal can be great at times. At other times, it can be a bit “compressed”, which I would say is better than the hiss of a typical analog station. Some stations are better than others. One of my biggest gripes is that the analog and digital broadcast can be out of synch and if the radio has a hard time locking in on the HD it is obnoxious because it will switch back and forth between the two.

Otherwise, I am happy with my purchase. This is the only thing I have ever bought that would be considered "cutting edge", but I feel it was a good purchase.

Now I am going to go listen to my HD2 station that you can't hear.

Eric

I like the sound and the commercial free listening but out here on the west coast you get allot of drop out in the mobile units. Got tired of it and canceled my subscription. To many high bluffs & cliffs where I live. :mad:
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Midcow2

Midcow2

Banned
Actually, static does come in depending on the weather

I prefer the static any day!
I like to listen to an AM talk radio station that is 90 miles away. I can receive it on my car most of the time unles the weather is inclement. With amplitude modulation you can still get static, even with synthesized digital tuning. However, it is much better than the AM radio with reverb in my first new car. But back then, ou could always slip in an eight track or twiddle with the tuning knob.

I agree HD seems to be clearer on both AM and FM. I have HD on my current receiver and listen to it occasionally. I also have a Sony XDR-S3HD which provides nice clear sound ..most of the time.

I don't like most Terk antennnas, but I have found the Terk AM-1000 Advantage passive AM indoor Antenna does a very good job in pulling in distant AM radio stations, both HD and non-HD.

Has anyone besides me gone back and relistened to old songs that you orginally listen too on scratch AM car or home radios/receivers. You should try it the sound clarity on a good HT system is incredible ;)

.... The Old Goat -ME :D
 
Shadow_Ferret

Shadow_Ferret

Audioholic Chief
You mean HD radio is real? :eek: I've heard the commercials, but I thought it was just so much marketing hooey to get you to buy a new equipment.
 
newsletter

  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top