Harker: 'Is PPM Killing HD Radio?'
September 23, 2015 at 12:12 PM (PT)
In the latest post on their Radio Insights blog, HARKER RESEARCH asks rhetorically if the PPM is killing HD Radio. Why? Because "an HD station playing identical content to a traditional analog station is unlikely to encode as well as the analog station," they assert.
"To enable HD to deliver multiple digital streams within the bandwidth of an AM or FM channel, the digital channels are highly compressed using a proprietary algorithm that removes a great deal of content," they wrote. "In this regard, HD radio is like a low quality MP3 copy of a song.
"... Were it not for PPM, the quality degradation that comes with the HD radio compression algorithm wouldn't be a ratings problem for HD Radio," they continued. "However, the process of compression eliminates large amounts of masking content, the very content PPM needs to consistently encode the broadcast. HD radio turns highly encodable analog content into unencodable digital content."
Their conclusion: "Granted, HD Radio has issues that go well beyond algorithms, but the medium shouldn't be further punished because of NIELSEN's inability to accurately measure its audience."