HD Radio Addresses 'Chicken-And-Egg' Problem
March 26, 2007 at 5:48 AM (PT)
THE NEW YORK TIMES gave some ink to HD DIGITAL RADIO in SUNDAY'S (3/25) edition, writing as drivers pick their way down the WEST SIDE HIGHWAY of MANHATTAN, the noise is often more annoying than the traffic, and it’s not just the honking. What’s so irksome is the static from the car’s sound system, a result of congestion in the radio frequency spectrum in an area packed with AM and FM stations. But that analog annoyance may fade away as radio broadcasters, carmakers and consumer electronics companies make the transition to digital radio.
The sound improves over a conventional AM station by delivering a better dynamic range, the difference between quiet and loud sounds. In addition, HD is better at reproducing the high notes of music: HD is capable of highs up to 15 KHz, compared with the current top end for analog AM of 10 KHz, making it sound as good as a traditional FM station. Better yet, HD FM stations can deliver audio that is nearly as good as a CD in quality, with a frequency response of up to 20 KHz, comparable to satellite radio.
"There was the proverbial chicken-and-egg problem," said HD RADIO ALLIANCE CEO PETER FERRARA. "Consumer electronics people didn’t want to make radios until there was content available, and broadcasters didn’t want to invest in putting out the content until radios were available."
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