Tuesday, August 16, 2005
HD radio-another viewpoint
HD Radio -- Too Little, Too Late
I had been meaning to write about HD Radio for a while but Om's article in B2.0 just reminded me to do so. As the title of this post suggests, my opinion on HD Radio can be summed up in 4 words: Too little, too late. I'm sure it will be able to carve out a niche for itself in radio value chain, but it will not be Radio's great savior.
Radio is already fragmenting. Tens of millions listen to thousands of streaming internet radio stations, millions listen to hundreds of satellite radio stations, and hundreds of thousands access tens of thousands of podcasts. (I don't buy Pew's numbers, though they will be realized after Apple adds native support for podcasting into iTunes). Worse, as the article references, radio is losing relevance to the younger generations as they have many other media options.
HD's issue is the cost and availability of receivers compounded by an utter lack of excitement or awareness with consumers. It will be a while before HD radio receivers will hit the price points necessary for mass adoption. iBiquity, the main company behind HD Radio in the States, plans on selling a measly 100 K HD Radios this year. By the time they're at a price point to sell, say, 10 Million units, the other technologies will have had another 1 to 3 generations of innovation on their products. The broadcasters will also need to spend a lot of airtime & money educating the market on the benefits of HD Radio. I believe HD is much more successful in the UK, but that is probably because the cost of the receivers is relatively low.
June 15, 2005 in Digital Music Permalink