Tuesday, 20 May 2008


“Potemkin village” demos for HD radio

HD Radio: Finally, buyers get to experience the technology:

In several hundred stores, [iBiquity, HD’s developer] has placed “retail demonstration modules” (RDMs) that connect to up to 10 HD Radios at a time to walk consumers through a simulated demo delivered through the radio’s own speakers. The demo includes a recorded explanation of the technology’s benefits, a recorded A/B comparison of analog and digital reception, and a demonstration of multicasting and metadata capabilities...
Now they’re not hearing the real programming. Stores often can’t demonstrate HD because
Most... lack outdoor antennas because for decades, “consumers have not needed FM demonstrated to them,” [according to Bernie] Sapienza [iBiquity VP for retail business development]... The antennas are often needed, however, to pull in digital AM/FM signals through the walls of commercial buildings and through a cloud of RF interference generated by flat-panel TVs and other electronics in a store.

Well, I dunno. This does address the problem of finding a working HD demonstration. But iBiquity’s decision to create its own “station” out of whole cloth, rather than simply figure out a way to get existing broadcast signals to the radios, doesn’t say much for its confidence in either the radios’ real-world performance or in the attractiveness of the HD programming that the stations are delivering. It fails to answer the buyers’ next question, “OK, the technology is neat... now what can I actually get on it?” And I wonder what the local HD broadcasters feel about iBiquity’s no-confidence vote.

Retailers already have problems with HD sets being returned because of poor sensitivity. I wonder how many radios will come back because buyers think the programming sucks?

Via: The Infinite Dial


Posted by: Old Grouch in Radio at 01:23:22 GMT | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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