All-Digital AM-HD Testing Planned

From the doubling-down department: the National Association of Broadcasters is recruiting candidates to test iBiquity Digital Corporation’s all-digital AM-HD Radio system.
So far, Beasley Broadcast Group has offered the use of one of its AM stations for the purposes of experimentation, and reportedly two other broadcast companies are also on board. When the tests will be conducted, and which specific stations will be involved, remains to be determined. Continue reading “All-Digital AM-HD Testing Planned”

HD Radio at NAB '12: Stayin' Alive

HD Radio proprietor iBiquity Digital Corporation made three announcements at the NAB annual convention, which winds down today.
iBiquity, Emmis Communications (an Indianapolis-based broadcast conglomerate) and Intel unveiled a prototype smartphone with FM-HD reception technology. The FM-HD phone chip also includes a feature developed by Emmis called TagStation which will allow FM-HD stations to broadcast targeted advertisements to listeners on cell phones within a station’s coverage area.
Called “a landmark” in the digital radio transition by Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, the companies will now attempt to woo phone-makers to include an HD chip in their devices and telecom companies to support the effort. Continue reading “HD Radio at NAB '12: Stayin' Alive”

Cumulus Acknowledges HD Malaise

An interesting disclosure in Cumulus Media‘s yearly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission:
On December 21, 2004, we entered into an agreement with iBiquity pursuant to which we committed to implement HD Radio systems on 240 of our stations by June 2012. In exchange for reduced license fees and other consideration, we, along with other broadcasters, purchased perpetual licenses to utilize iBiquity’s HD Radio technology.
That was then…this is now: Continue reading “Cumulus Acknowledges HD Malaise”

HD Radio: Listeners Still Missing in Action

The slow-motion struggle that is HD Radio proliferation in the United States continues to bobble along with no meaningful developments in traction. This is exemplified by the results of a recent survey which shows that consumer awareness of what HD Radio is is stagnant at best. A bit more than half of those surveyed have “heard of” HD Radio – but of those knowledgeable folks, one in three don’t have any clear idea what it actually is. Continue reading “HD Radio: Listeners Still Missing in Action”

Skids Greased for Further FM-HD Experimentation

The FCC’s put a proposal by iBiquity, NPR, and NAB out for public comment that would allow FM-HD broadcasters more flexibility to increase the power levels of their digital sidebands independently. Called asymmetrical transmission, this flexibility conceivably allows more HD-enabled stations to pump up the power of their digital signals to make them reliably receivable in a station’s primary coverage area.
All signs are that the comment/reply comment rigmarole in this instance is a formality. As at least one industry lawyer has noted, the fact that the FCC’s scheduled the comment period for a short three weeks before Christmas – and a week for reply-comments to be filed between Christmas and the new year – means there is little likelihood that a robust record of public debate will be assembled over this latest wrinkle in the HD Radio saga. Continue reading “Skids Greased for Further FM-HD Experimentation”

HD Radio Still Awaiting Breakthrough

It’s still a mystery just how iBiquity Digital Corporation remains in business as its proprietary HD Radio standard continues to go nowhere fast.
According to the FCC, less than 20% of radio stations in in the United States have adopted the HD protocol, nearly nine years after its proliferation was sanctioned; some have since turned it off. The technology has failed to crack any significant international markets. iBiquity and its mostly-conglomerate backers have tried various tweaks to the system in hopes of improving its robustness, but none show any potential to be a game-changer. Continue reading “HD Radio Still Awaiting Breakthrough”

Squeezing Blood From the FM-HD Stone

It has long been understood that HD Radio signals do not play well with others. The digital sidebands of an HD transmission have the potential to cause interference to nearby radio stations. The problem is most notable on AM, but there’ve been issues with FM-HD as well.
Initially, digital FM sidebands were broadcast at 1/100th the power of their analog “host” signal. The weakness of the digital signal caused all kinds of reception difficulties. After years of wrangling, the FCC approved a ten-fold increase in digital sideband power in an attempt to make the signals more robust. Continue reading “Squeezing Blood From the FM-HD Stone”

The People v. HD Radio

It’s not quite going in that direction – yet – but another law firm has opened an inquiry into “defective” HD Radio receivers in high-end automobiles. The first firm on the scene, Keefe Bartels, is now soliciting consumer complaints about problems with HD Radio reception.
Details are few, but there’s always the chance – if a lawsuit is filed – that the plaintiffs could push for class-action status. Both firms appear to be working in concert. Continue reading “The People v. HD Radio”

HD "Lawsuit" Gaining Traction?

An interesting observation noted by Keeping the Public in Public Radio, who referenced this post to a thread on a broadcast-related e-mail listserve about the possibilities of zinging iBiquity Digital Corporation with legal action, including the potential of bringing the company down as a result, written by someone who’s been following the potential litigation effort more closely than I:
Whether any of us believes there’s a chance the victims will win, the litigation will cost a fortune. The lawyers are looking for victims and witnesses. Since I’ve probably done more [HD reception] field testing than anyone…I’ve been asked to participate either as a witness or a complainant…. Continue reading “HD "Lawsuit" Gaining Traction?”

How Does iBiquity Stay Afloat?

Many have pooh-poohed the “investigatory action” by a law firm looking into the degraded reception characteristics of HD Radio receivers in certain models of high-end vehicles. The pre-suit, I will admit, is a fishing effort – but then again, some spelunking efforts actually make for justice.
This first quasi-legal shot-across-the-bow to HD Radio is not directed at the originators of the technology – iBiquity itself. But there are two ways in which, should this legal effort gain momentum, could hurt iBiquity badly: Continue reading “How Does iBiquity Stay Afloat?”