HDradio.com Launched

The HD Digital Radio Alliance has launched its own web site, HDradio.com, which is being marketed as “the new epicenter of consumers’ digital radio lifestyle.” The site’s main press contacts, Kim Holt and Michele Clarke, work for Brainerd Communicators, a PR firm that deals with “corporate & executive positioning,” “media management,” “issue & crisis management,” and “consumer & viral marketing,” among other specialties.
The site has lots of content but no real substantive information. Even so, a couple of interesting aspects can be found. There’s a section of audio samples that purport to compare traditional analog AM and FM radio to the new HD sound. The analog samples often include demonstrable interference artifacts, like bits of static and fading, as if the recordings were made near a station’s fringe-coverage area or the receivers were slightly mistuned. The HD radio clips, of course, are interference free.
There is no mention on the site about HD radio’s “blend to analog” function, which is what receivers will do when the digital signal dies in areas of interference. However, “specific features have been designed into HD radio-supported receivers to improve the existing analog reception.”
The FAQ section contains a gem that would seem to suggest that early-adopter consumers might find themselves somewhat screwed out of HD radio’s “killer application,” multicasting:
I think I have an HD Radio but I can not find the HD2 channels, what do I do?
Contact your manufacturer. Some radios were produced with the improved HD digital radio sound quality but they do not have the HD2 channel capability. Most manufacturers have help line phone number on their web sites and the web sites are featured on the Products area of this site. If your HD radio does not have HD2 channel capability, you will need to purchase a new receiver to fully experience the HD digital radio revolution.
It also claims these “HD2 channels” will be commercial-free “for the next few years” when the industry commitment is actually an 18-month advert moratorium.