Tuesday, 18 March 2008


Marketing triumph (not)

Radio World's Thom Moon tries to buy an HD radio, finds comedy of errors:

[At Best Buy] On display, next to one another, were the Sony XDR-53HD table unit and another house-brand Insignia product, their NS-HD2114 HD radio/DVD player with matching speakers.  Even though both were connected to an external antenna, neither unit received enough RF input to lock onto the HD-R stream.

Another problem was, I never did figure out how to tune the Insignia unit, and a Best Buy employee who wandered by and offered to help was just as puzzled as I...

The Insignia was tuned to 107.1, home of Class B1 WKFS(FM).  That should have been fine, as the station’s antenna is less than 10 miles from the store.  But the radio wasn’t receiving any signal at all.  That’s not a strong recommendation of the unit.
[At Circuit City] As I expected, their selection of home HD Radios was underwhelming: just the Sony XDR-53HD.

Of course, it wasn’t connected to an antenna, so it wouldn’t link with HD-R, even though I was only about six miles from the WKRC(TV) tower, home to all of Clear Channel’s local FM’s and Entercom’s WKRQ(FM).
A Target is just across the street, so I sauntered over and looked around their home electronics section, located about as far as possible from the front door and against an outside wall. HD Radio?  Nada.  Zero.  Zip.

Talked to the gentleman who appeared to be in charge and he said, “Nope, we don’t sell those.”  When I said I had found Target mentioned on the HD Radio Web site, he just said, “Oh — it must be Internet only.”  And, indeed, the Target Web site lists three HD units...
You get the idea. Out of eight retailers, the only one where Moon got satisfactory demonstration (“I could actually audition an HD Radio without several other audio sources blasting at me.”) was the local Alamo Electronics chain.

Moon blames the retailers (“...the few HD Radios displayed aren’t able to receive an HD signal. It’s bad when you’re trying to sell an expensive unit and the prospect can’t hear the main selling points of the technology...”), but my cynical reply is:  If HD Radios were flying off the shelves there would be no problem with working displays.  (Just walk down the aisle and look at the HDTV department.)

It does make you wonder what the radio industry is actually getting for its multi-million-dollar HD ad campaign.


Via:  “rbrucecarter5” at Radio-Info

Posted by: Old Grouch in Radio at 15:28:10 GMT | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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