Wednesday July 27, 2005

HD Radio From the Future

All you people putting money down for XM and Sirius satellite radio might ought rethink your position. HD radio is coming, and it may make these pay services seem obsolete.

Here’s how it works: each existing radio station will broadcast it’s present signal, plus a digital sub-signal. Say 99.1 is your main signal; well, 99.15 might be the frequency of the digital signal. The sound is CD-quality, and the signal can contain non-sound information, such as track and artist names that could appear on your radio’s display. You’ll need a new radio (compatible units will be sold in new cars next year), otherwise you’re stuck with the analog signal.

It’s all over England already, so we’re playing a little bit of catch-up, but a bunch of stations are alerady broadcasting HD, including Power 96, which, Radio Ink reports has just launched a digital commercial-free all-dance station. Why commercial-free? Radio Ink editor Reed Bunzel writes: “They’re broadcasting under an experimental license from the FCC, which stipulates they can’t generate revenue from it for 12 months.” WLRN is planning three digital substations, at least one of which will play classical music exclusively.

Apparently, though, getting the radios is a little difficult so far; we stopped by Best Buy and the car audio guy had no idea what we were talking about. When you do find them, they cost well over $500. But prices will come down, and the units will get better. The guy in Best Buy will hear about them. Give it a few months.

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  1. Miami Harold    Fri Jul 29, 10:00 AM #  

    Take a pile of steaming shit, shape into the Taj Mahal,
    and you’ve still got a pile of steaming shit.
    Take WLRN (or PWR-96) programming,
    remove the ads and broadcast it at CD quality, and…
    well, you get the analog-y (sorry).
    You still have the la-ti-da we’re oh so smart smarminess;
    the nails-on-blackboard screech of
    Diane Reem’s frail Parkinsonian croaking;
    he-yuk Phil Latzman trying (and failing)
    to conceal his redneck roots;
    and the general lockjaw-inducing yawn its programming evokes.
    Here’s my money.
    Gimme the satellite.