Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Music Media Technology

High Definition Radio is Here 389

Posted by michael
from the high-definition-acne-ads-are-still-acne-ads dept.
nfranzen submits this story/advertisement: "Yesterday, I had the opportunity to buy the first High Definition (HD) Radio in the United States. HD Radio, invented by iBiquity Digital, adds a digital channel to the sidebands of an existing analog FM signal. The technology is still pretty new, but I can tell you first-hand that listening to my favorite local FM station in HD sounds just like I am listening to a CD. Well, except for the commercials (grin). Here are some links to local TV news coverage and a news release for more info. HD receivers will hit the open market following the Consumer Electronics Show next week in Vegas." We had an old story about the FCC approving these digital broadcasts in the FM radio bands.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

High Definition Radio is Here

Comments Filter:
  • by Mr Guy (547690) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:01PM (#7896391) Journal
    Comment should include the following:

    Piracy Claims
    Explanation of digital to digital broadcasting
    Comments about how to jack this device into Linux
    Mention of Kazaa
    Indignant remark about the difference between thievery and infringement
    • by Have Blue (616) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:41PM (#7896881) Homepage
      Hopeful comment to the effect that DVD Jon cracks this quickly.
    • As long as I don't have to buy a digital-to-analog converter to listen on my "old" Kenwood. Can't anybody leave anything alone anymore? What's next, a digital insert for our noses so we can smell digitally? I know, a digital condom! Why experience plain old sex when you can have digital sex! Is it April 1st already?
  • by micromoog (206608) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:02PM (#7896402)
    Yay, HD radio . . . wait, why do we want this again?

    Realistically speaking, the only big problem with FM radio quality is that it attenuates above 16kHz . . . a range that you more or less can't hear in the poor listening environments where FM is typically used (vast majority of the time being, of course, in moving vehicles).

  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:03PM (#7896417) Homepage Journal
    I bought into satellite a year and half ago and rarely listen to regular broadcast anymore. Audio quality is good enough and far fewer annoying DJ's and commercials. The only reason left to catch local broadcasts is traffice reports.

    Worth it? Yeah, I spend an average of an hour a day driving. It's definitely worth it.

  • What's the catch? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gpinzone (531794) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:03PM (#7896423) Homepage Journal
    Encoding digital signals in a small amount of bandwidth has to come with a catch. What's this sound like if the signal strength is low? What kind of digital qaulity is this? Is there lossy compression used?
    • Re:What's the catch? (Score:5, Informative)

      by IncohereD (513627) <mmacleodNO@SPAMieee.org> on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:33PM (#7896791) Homepage
      Encoding digital signals in a small amount of bandwidth has to come with a catch. What's this sound like if the signal strength is low? What kind of digital qaulity is this? Is there lossy compression used?

      Keep in mind that digital signalling techniques weren't really invented at all until the 1940s. And that AM was deployed before than, and FM either before that or not much after.

      Is it inconceivable to believe a brand new field has seen startingly gains in efficiency in 60 years time? Look at how much modems improved (56kps over the same line that once only supported 150bps...nearly a 400 times gain).

      There is no catch. Telecommunications technology has just improved a hell of a lot in the last 100 years.

      This is the reason why cell phone provides are so antsy to relaim all those 6 MHz wide UHF allocations....you can use that bandwidth so much more effectively with modern techniques, instead of throwing raw, uncompressed analog data out there.

      Also witness the huge number of digital channels cable providers have packed into coax, despite the continued presence of regular TV stations, AND internet connections.

      And this is the part where everyone should stop whining about taxes and having to give money to their local learning institution.
      • There is no catch. Telecommunications technology has just improved a hell of a lot in the last 100 years. This is the reason why cell phone provides are so antsy to relaim all those 6 MHz wide UHF allocations....you can use that bandwidth so much more effectively with modern techniques, instead of throwing raw, uncompressed analog data out there.

        Yeah, I never have drop outs or loss of quality with those ultra modern digital cell phones. And those digital TV stations sure ar perfect. Yep, no artifacts wh
  • I have a few questions, for the ones that did RTFA:

    1. Is there any kind of digital output ?
    2. What format is used to transfer audio? MP3, WMA, AAC, ... ?
    3. If answer to 1. is yes, is there some kind of DRM or we can record stuff onto one's computer?

  • All digital? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cat_Byte (621676) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:04PM (#7896440) Journal
    Is this all digital or dual mode? I still steer clear of all-digital networks of cell phones simply because the range is shorter. Instead of getting static when the signal gets weak it just shuts off. Anybody know if this is the case on these things?
    • Re:All digital? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mlyle (148697) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:18PM (#7896609)
      Yes, you can tune in plain FM stations with a HD-FM receiver.

      BTW, digital cellular is popular with the carriers not only because of spectrum efficiency, but because of superior link budgeting with lower output power. The range is actually better on digital cellular protocols (whether TDMA or CDMA) than FDMA/AMPS. The reason why your user experience is better with analog is that there is so much more analog stuff deployed. This is likely to change (not exactly a ton of AMPS equipment is still getting deployed).

      Data compression reduces signal bandwidth. And reduced bandwidth means less noise in the band where the signal is, and also means that the signal, since it is less wide, is stronger. This translates to better S/N and thus better link budget. Also, there are things like coding gain which you can't make use of with analog transmissions.

      I don't know how the HD FM divides output power/spectrum to the subcarriers. But it is likely that you can still get a perfectly clear digital signal when the analog FM station would be unlistenable.
      • analog vs. digital (Score:5, Informative)

        by wowbagger (69688) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:37PM (#7896836) Homepage Journal
        Well, there is a lot of analog out there, more than digital, but that's not really the problem - the problem is the "digital cliff" effect.

        With AMPS, as the signal gets weaker, the audio noise floor comes up, and you get wideband static on the signal. Wideband static is fairly benign, in that humans aren't as offended by it (since it sounds like the surf). The user of the phone knows he is getting out of range well before the call drops, and so usually can terminate the call gracefully.

        With digital, you get no real degradation of the signal so long as the channel bit error rate is less than the channel's error recovery capability. But when the BER gets above that threshold, then the quality drops dramatically. Moreover, the loss of quality is expressed as garbled vocoder output (I've always described it as "watery" - it sounds like you have water in your ears), or as complete failures of the vocoder (dropouts). Those are VERY offensive to the ear.

        Also, the difference between a signal level that gives you a fully correctable BER and a signal level that gives you a BER bad enough the phone drops is almost nil - so just changing position can drop the call without warning.

        Personally, if the phone makers would tie the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) into a variable noise generator, so that as the RSSI fell you started to get static, I think most people wouldn't bitch so badly about dropped calls.

        There is also the problem that the usual vocoders for phone use are compressing the crap out of the signal - taking a 64 kb/second audio stream down to less than 4kb/sec. VSELP, IMBE and AMBE all do OK when fed voice in isolation, but put in any background noise and they get "confused" - they start making poor choices about the vectors they encode, and what comes out the other end is pretty rocky.

        I had great fun feeding the first few seconds of Kansas's "Carry On Wayward Son" into an APCO-25 IMBE vocoder. While there is nothing but voice there, it is a chorus, and the poor vocoder just couldn't figure out what was going on.
        • by mlyle (148697)
          Agreed on all points. Yes, digital reception falls off much quicker than analog. But by the time digital drops, AMPS would have been unusable for a long time. Not to mention the benefits of adaptive transmit power on battery life, etc etc etc.

          Phone codecs have gotten a lot better at rejecting background noise and sending just speech. But yes, that needs to improve, too. There are problems with the user experience-- one of my brothers always talks very loudly into his cellular phone... causing clipping
        • by Detritus (11846)
          A lot is dependent on the design of the codec. The Space Shuttle uses a delta modulation system (Modified Abate Adaptive Delta Modulation [titan-aeu.com]) that was designed to degrade gracefully on high BER communication links.
  • Satellite radio (Score:2, Insightful)

    by glinden (56181)
    That's an interesting alternative to satellite radio [xmradio.com]. Both require new equipment, both have very high quality. Satellite radio has little or no advertising, but you do have to pay a monthly subscription fee.
    • Re:Satellite radio (Score:2, Informative)

      by ackthpt (218170) *
      Satellite radio has little or no advertising, but you do have to pay a monthly subscription fee.

      Take a long trip through the american southwest or into the bible belt and see what you think of broadcast. In the Mojave I only got AM stations at night, thanks to the lowered ionosphere. It can also be pretty tough anywhere finding a station you consistently like listening to. With the 4 presets I have for sat. I'm pretty happy and can listen to them in the middle of Death Valley if I want (which I have d

  • spoilt (Score:5, Funny)

    by relrelrel (737051) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:05PM (#7896448)
    High definition photos of Mars and now High definition radio? I do believe /. is spoiling us.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:05PM (#7896452)
    Or on my crappy $10 headphones. Or at the gym, cranked up to distortion levels on the hifi system. Seriously folks, few people listen to FM in an environment where 'high definition' radio makes a difference. Its like playing crappy MP3s on your free-with-the-PC speakers - you can't even tell that the MP3s suck, because the speakers suck more. I guess hearing the voices on NPR at 16bit,44.1KHz may make some people's day, but this is not like the upgrade path from tape to CD. This is a product looking for a market.
    • Yeah, and the very large majority of today's TV sets still don't use much of the resolution that DVD's have, but you don't see anybody bitching about that. If HDFM catches on, it'll be a nice feature eventually, and good future-proofing now.
    • by BrookHarty (9119) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:16PM (#7896575) Homepage Journal
      This is a product looking for a market.

      You don't understand, this is a simple upgrade for local radio stations to add digital. Sirius and XM radio are already an option or standard on new cars. Expect to see HD radio included in car radios also.

      This is like tv's going from Black and white to color, its a simple, its better, its about time.

      BTW, I listen to talk radio and Howard Stern, this will be a great improvement over sound quality.
    • From what I've read about digital radio in the UK, they can also broadcast additional programme information. It's always on the same frequency. I'm sure there are other benefits. I wish CBC Radio 1 would go digital...
    • Not everyone is listening to pop, rock or country. This will work well for jazz and especially classical, both of which suffer from the high noise level, limited bandwidth and heavy compression on FM.


    • Or on my crappy $10 headphones. Or at the gym, cranked up to distortion levels on the hifi system. Seriously folks, few people listen to FM in an environment where 'high definition' radio makes a difference. Its like playing crappy MP3s on your free-with-the-PC speakers - you can't even tell that the MP3s suck, because the speakers suck more. I guess hearing the voices on NPR at 16bit,44.1KHz may make some people's day, but this is not like the upgrade path from tape to CD. This is a product looking for a
    • "...Seriously folks, few people listen to FM in an environment where 'high definition' radio makes a difference. Its like playing crappy MP3s on your free-with-the-PC speakers - you can't even tell that the MP3s suck, because the speakers suck more. I guess hearing the voices on NPR at 16bit,44.1KHz may make some people's day, but this is not like the upgrade path from tape to CD. This is a product looking for a market."

      Agreed. A far more sensible use of digital broadcasts over regular frequencies is Digit [drm.org]

  • The sound quality of today's FM radio is fairly good, but the quality of the actual content is not. And it seems to be getting worse by the day.

    The same goes for television. Who needs digital high resolution television if there isn't anything you want to watch?
  • Oh no!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by infolib (618234) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:09PM (#7896501)
    Digital?? Thieves they are, thieves I say! Quick, pass some legislation to outlaw recievers (or at least make sure they cant *shudder* record anyting!)

    Sincerely,

    Your recording industry representative

  • My car's been equipped with COLOR radio for several years, now.

  • by Schlemphfer (556732) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:13PM (#7896544) Homepage
    I see a couple show stoppers that could keep this technology from reaching critical mass. First this link [kcrg.com] (from the summary) says that one station needed to pay $200,000 to switch to digital equipment. That's a helluva lot of money, especially in light of the fact that radio stations are cutting costs at every turn; and are even canning local DJ's, and replacing them with canned national announcers, to save dough.

    Which brings me to a second point: nearly all radio today is utter crap. The sort of early adapter who would be willing to shell out $400 extra for digital FM is exactly the kind of person who already shelled out $400 for satellite radio. And why would anyone with that kind of discretionary income want to listen to anything on the FM dial? At the risk of sounding terribly elitist, if you're smart enough to have earned gobs of money, your tastes are likely discriminating enough to want to want nothing to do with what's on the FM band.

    The one kind of station that might benefit from high fidelity is NPR, but considering that they're bellyaching for cash every twelve weeks or whatever during pledge drives, this is probably the last type of organization who could cough up the extra dough.

  • by mekkab (133181) * on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:13PM (#7896550) Homepage Journal
    Their playlist is the same-old same-old. Listening to it in CD quality won't make it sound any better.
  • Anyone know what the difference is between these two systems? Or are they one in the same? Here in Toronto, a few stations have been having ads about DAB being the future of radio... although I was shopping for receivers at christmas time and the only DAB compatible ones I saw were $600CDN+, too expensive for my tastes.
    • by sane? (179855)
      Here in the UK there are large numbers of DAB radios, of all shapes and sizes, costing 60 upward ($110 US, no idea in CDN)

      Works fine, all the benefits of digital (MP2) and selling better than their non digital counterparts.

      I've got one on my computer, 40, and it can download data, music, etc.

  • Hardly useful. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by irokitt (663593) <archimandrites-iaur@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:14PM (#7896554)
    Everything that's good about HD Radio is better when you spend (less) money on an in-car MP3 player. Flash memory, thank you, and it doesn't skip. And commercials don't exist. After all, I think most of us probably have a very diverse, vast collection of music on our hard drives already.
    • I have an Aiwa CDC-MP3 and an iPod in my car. I've noticed that they don't do very well with news, weather or traffic. The DJ isn't very entertaining either.
  • How does this compare with what the BBC already offers [bbc.co.uk]? According to the coverage map [bbc.co.uk], 70% of the UK population can already get it.
    • by Rob Parkhill (1444) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:45PM (#7896922) Homepage
      The have had the same system (as the BBC) in several cities in Canada [digitalradio.ca] for several years now.

      The US system is completely incompatible, of course. In 10 years when I drive my car across the USA/Canada border, my radio will stop working. Nice.

      • Y'know, I can't comment on this with any authority, but I'm sure I read that DAB radios are specific to the country they're designed for: a DAB radio bought in the UK (such as I have a few feet from me) is incapable of picking up transmissions in (say) France, if I took it over there. It has the country frequency allocation coded into it.

        Anyone know anything about this?

        • Sorry, that's rubbish - but I can see whey you're getting confused. Rather than get together and agree on an international standard, it seems we're being treated to a country-by-country bodge job.

          However most of the systems being implemented at the moment use some variant of the UK-led DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) system, the main difference being what frequency range you broadcast on.

          That said most DAB radios now being sold in the UK are multi-frequency and so can be used in other imlementing the s

  • "The technology is still pretty new"

    I don't know how it's different but we've had Eureka 147 DAB [bbc.co.uk] digital radio for 6 years in the UK. We're also pretty keen on mainstream digital terrestrial television broadcasting [freeview.co.uk] too.
  • Now, I've yet to RTFA because I don't have much time right now... I'd like to see what markets and stations are uising this... but right now, I have to say I really don't see the point. The problem I have with radio isn't so much the sound quality as it is the content.

    I wouldn't want to listen to music CD's with annoying DJ's yabbering over the into & closing seconds of every song, annoying station ID bumpers, and 25 minutes of commercials per 60 minute disc. So why would I pay for CD quality sound

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:20PM (#7896635) Homepage
    Why does telephony have to be 8-bit 8KHz audio in the VoIP era? If it doesn't have to go through the 64Kb/s phone system, the audio could be far better.
  • High Definition? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by -tji (139690) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:22PM (#7896652) Journal
    High Definition sounds kind of misleading for this technology.. Detail on the quality of the broadcasts is conspicuously absent from the information I could find on this technology. They only describe it as "CD-like".

    So, where High Definition video is clearly defined as 1920x1080i or 1280x720p (~ 5x the resolution of a DVD), "HD" radio is lower quality than a 25 year old audio standard.

    They should stick to caling it what it is, Digital Radio. It's really cool technology, with a lot of advantages over analog - but it's not setting a new bar for quality like HDTV is compared to DVD.
    • Re:High Definition? (Score:2, Informative)

      by lotsolint (709947)
      96kbps with a proprietary compression algorithm. if using secondary audio channel it's 64kbps for the main and 32kbps for the second. when digital stream fails the receiver falls back to the analog.
  • I saw an advertisment for their new TMS320DRI250 DSP with HD radio and MP3 decoding. I wondered who was going to use it. Now I know. It was going for about $30 in quantities, IIRC. The coolest thing I saw in the slick sheet was the possibility of TiVo-like rewind and timeshift features done in software, which I think would be great for talk radio or if you like certain radio shows.

    I, for one, welcome our HD-FM overlords.
  • Does anyone know any car radio capable of playing Internet radio streams? It would be great to have SomaFM [somafm.com] in my car. :)
  • What's the point of HD radio when you've got XM that doesn't play ads on most stations for when you're driving, or Net radio for at home & work (which is what I listen to 10+ hours/day). (I like launch.com)
  • Who in their right mind would actually grin when mentioning commercials? He should be frowning about that!

    Increasing the definition of the same crappy music interspersed among lame-ass DJs and commercials doesn't add any value for the listener.

    Sirius Satellite Radio [sirius.com], on the other hand, comes commercial free on all music channels. Forget about XM Radio, they expect you to actually pay for the privilege of listening to commercials. And though they play fewer commercials now than terrestrial radio stations

  • by rueger (210566) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:32PM (#7896782) Homepage
    "HD" Radio (formerly known as IBOC [beradio.com], or In Band on Channel), is an inferior technology which many have found less than awe inspiring [beradio.com]. It's adoption in the U.S. is the result of politics and money, not technological superiority.

    One reviewer above described IBOC thus: "Let's start with audio quality. It's my opinion that the current 96kb/s codec is incapable of reproducing even a simple male voice without generating objectionable artifacts. It gets worse with music. On the classical cut the strings were thin and harsh. For those of you who are broadcasting contemporary formats, the codec removes sibilance unnaturally, changes the timber of symbols and makes back up vocals strident. This is not CD-quality by a long shot. In fact, during my listening test I found that our station's plain old analog signal sounded better than the 96kb/s codec."

    At the same time that the U.S. has locked themselves into IBOC, the rest of the world has been moving ahead with Eureka 147 DAB [worlddab.org], a purely Digital technology without the legacy concerns. Fifty countries and counting, with DAB building steadily, especially in Europe [rwonline.com].

    • Indeed, Europe, Canada, Australia,... all are adapting DAB. The only other exception is Japan, which introduced its own standard, ISDB-T [dibeg.org] (Terrestrial Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting) in 1998. This standard covers both digital radio and television.

      Another article on ISDB-T [nhk.or.jp].
    • Have you ever listened to digital radio in the UK? I have no idea what these amateurs are thinking. No stations want to spend money on it and to get their signal to the multiplexes they seem to use low bitrate connections.

      So what you end up with is the music first comming out of a 256Kbit MP2 radio automation system, then going into a 128Kbit line, only to be decoded and re-encoded in 128Kbit for the DAB multiplex again.

      Now if that isn't bad enough, they can't seem to match levels. The signals are heavily
  • 96kbps stream is not CD quality. Their algorithm is proprietary - no chance for an online comparison to ogg/mp3. Then when the station starts using the secondary audio channel for added revenue at 32kbps, their main channel is now 64kbps... gee wiz, sign me up for upgrading all my radios. The FCC should have done the same for radio broadcasters that they did for TV broadcasters. Given them a new frequency band for digital. Instead radio broadcaster have to squeeze this digital stream on the same packe
  • The USA Stands Alone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TimSneath (139039) <tims@@@microsoft...com> on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:36PM (#7896828) Homepage
    It's astonishing to see how far the USA is prepared to be isolated from the rest of the world when it comes to technological standards like this. The rest of the world is switching to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) for digital radio as a replacement for FM, with countries like the UK being particularly advanced in their adoption. Here's a map [worlddab.org] showing DAB adoption across the world - notice the big empty space where the US is? Instead the US have decided to go it alone with this hybrid solution that will be the NTSC of the radio world. What a pity...

    I've had a DAB radio for six months now and have been really impressed with the sound quality, ease of tuning and extra information that's displayed with each broadcast. No more trying to guess the band playing a particular song - it scrolls automatically along the LCD display. Want to see what stations are available? Just scroll through the list, rather than speculatively twiddling a knob and trying to identify something through the white noise. There's a whole world out there that the US is missing out on...
  • Will this operate in competition with Digital Radio Mondiale [drm.org]? Do we really need competing digital radio standards? I suppose DRM's goal is not high-def radio, so they're not identical. I think we have a VHS/Beta, DVD +/- RW, 3.5"/5.25" battle on our hands.
  • When there is static you get total dropouts. I prefer analog TV because lighting causes static which is much less disturbing than lost bits in an MPEG stream. OTOH the resolution is fantastic when its working.
  • So I can have the same repetitive playlists of crappy pop, the same politically slanted news and the same assrapingly annoying commercials but now in full, cd quality sound.

    That's just great. Call me when you find the alternate universe where Clear Channel hasn't ruined radio.
  • Considering that all FM radio stations compress the crap out of the music they air, it would be impossbile to get a decent sound from any radio. Crap in means crap out.

  • Why bother (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DVD Spark (738596)
    Why would anyone want High Def radio when you can get an Ipod and carry 5000+ songs with you everywhere in CD-like quality? I hardly listen to radio now and not because of FM audio quality issues. Shuffle play on my Ipod is far more intersting than anything played on Radio.
    • Re:Why bother (Score:3, Insightful)

      Actually, it's even more basic than that.

      Why bother with High Def radio IN A CAR? The ambient noise level is louder than any difference in quality this'll make. Turn on your air conditioning or open a window (or sunroof) because it's summer, or crank up the defroster because it's winter... yeah, "HiFi", lol... never mind road noise.
  • So, to sum up. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i_r_sensitive (697893) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @05:56PM (#7897065)
    In summation:

    No-one sees the point of buying HD radio, after all who wants to hear 25 out of every 60 minutes listening to HD commercials. Better to just get an MP3 player, since we all have all the music we want on our hard drives anyways.

    But wait, if we all stopped unlawfully copying music to our hard drives, perhaps RIAA would stop trying to reclaim the lost revenues from other sources (read: increasing radio royalties), which would in turn allow the radio stations to reduce the ad content to bearable levels. (Okay, so the royalties aren't likely to come down in the near future, but no need to drive them higher...)

    Or alternatively you could go with satelite radio, but that has subscription costs, because they don't have commercials, but the subscription costs are pretty high, because they have to pay those same royalties, because RIAA perceives that they are losing money to our hard drives.

    So, before you pan radio for the problems, think about how much you have contributed to the sources of those problems.

    • Re:So, to sum up. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SnakeStu (60546) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @06:11PM (#7897232) Homepage

      Amazing that this nonsense is being moderated as Insightful. Where's the insight? I can't find it amongst the ridiculous assumptions, like how we're "all" "unlawfully copying music to our hard drives" and how radio stations would "reduce the ad content" (it's always so likely that a business will decline a revenue source!) if we contribute more directly to the RIAA's coffers, and that I have "contributed to the sources of [radio's] problems." What a load of bunk.

  • by dgp (11045) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @06:17PM (#7897302) Journal
    invented? thats a strong word. patented [uspto.gov] may be closer to reality. I havent gone through each patent but its likely that only iBiquity can say who makes these new HD-FM radios.

    If the FCC is going to be blessing a new standard for radio, it should be a free and patent unencumbered standard.

  • by HiKarma (531392) * on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @06:25PM (#7897387)
    Not that more bandwidth is bad, but the real excitement in radio these days is new ways to use it, more features.

    For example, since it's so easy and cheap to do, why not a car radio with Tivo like functions:

    a) Recording multiple stations at once, letting me switch among the recordings, FF, pause and rewind among them. Heck, with software radio record _all_ the stations, all the time.

    b) Know the local traffic stations (ie. traffic every 10 minutes on the 8s) and record that slot and give it to me at the touch of a button, or better still just tune in some digital traffic service that will tell me only of my route.

    Ditto the news, always record the latest newscast, let me hear it any time I want.

    c) Of course let me pause and resume. Also record my favourite talk shows (NPR for example) like Tivo, and let me play them.

    d) Have a speech interface so I don't have to look at the radio to select programs or tune it or otherwise control it! Just give me a little wheel or 4-way control on the wheel similar to what MP3 players have.

    e) And of course, what I am now playing with is using an MP3 jukebox to forget about radio entirely, exept for news, traffic and weather.
    I download NPR programs into the jukebox to listen to them. I can even record Morning Edition in the early morning and listen to it in the morning commute, except with FF and pause etc.

    Plus of course, music, which Mp3 jukeboxes do just great.

    f) Speaking of radio, put 802.11 in the car MP3 player so when it notices it is parked in the driveway, it syncs up my latest music and audio.

    More bandwidth is of course nice, but boring.
    Think about cool features.
  • by phoebe (196531) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @06:33PM (#7897450)
    The technology is still pretty new ...

    DAB is 10 years old already according to this history page [planet.nl].

  • by WebMasterJoe (253077) <joe@nospAm.joestoner.com> on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @08:50PM (#7898669) Homepage Journal
    It doesn't appear that anybody cares! And I'm not surprised; I don't care either. Sure, the idea might be somewhat cool, but the slashdot crowd has evolved along with the rest of the world out of the dot-com era where "cool new technology" was assumed to translate into something that will improve our lives. Just as nobody orders groceries through a web site, nobody turns on their FM radio for good entertainment anymore.

    My morning commute is 20 minutes long, and I don't want to spend 12 of those minutes listening to advertisements. I don't care what American media says, I don't need to purchase products to be happy. I don't need a new SUV (or a used one, for that matter) and tonight I won't be tuning into the latest episode of Fox's newest, most outrageous reality series that everyone will be talking about tomorrow. My morning commute is where I clear my head and prepare to deal with the onslaught of crap that I'll face at work. For that, the Dodge Durango jingle just won't work - sorry, but I need <insert your favorite band here>.*

    This is a solution to the wrong problem. We're not concerned with the quality of the FM radio feed, we're concerned with the idiots sending out the signal! This move is just a diversionary tactic that will result in crisp, clear crap. If I ever get tired of listening to my own albums, I'll be looking towards XM or Sirius.

    *I hate when people name-drop their favorite obscure band in an attempt to show off how cool they are. Just pretend I mentioned your favorite musician. And I'll pretend that your favorite musician is as cool as mine. :)

Man will never fly. Space travel is merely a dream. All aspirin is alike.

Working...