For the last couple weeks, I've been hearing about "the stations between the stations" and "hidden stations on the radio dial". In fact, the radio commercials are talking about HDRadio. This got me curious. What is HDRadio? How is it different from what I've already got?
So I did a little digging this afternoon. As it turns out, HDRadio is the radio equivalent to HDTV. To start out, radio broadcasting stations add a digital stream along with their analog stream. The HD stations are on subchannels of the analog stations. For example, in my area, a local classic rock station broadcasts in analog on 92.5MHz FM. They also broadcast in HD on 92.5-1. To draw an analogy, my local NBC affiliate broadcasts on channel 11 in analog and on channel 11-1 in HD.
So what is the benefit you ask? Well, they say that it's cd quality audio. All the time. No static, no pops, no fading in and out. It's a digital signal, so it's either there or it's not. On top of receiving the audio, HDRadio also has the ability to send text to a display as well. This can be the station identifier, song artist, stock quotes, weather forecasts, and pretty much anything else they want. And to top it off… it's still FREE!
Now what do you need to get HDRadio? Well, it looks like there are about a dozen different companies offering HDRadios at anywhere from $200 to $1500 depending on the features you want. Standard features seem to be the ability to pick up both analog and HD radio and display screen, as well as features you'd find on a normal radio like presets and alarm clocks (for home radios). Some have hookups for an external antenna, RCA and/or optical audio outputs, even RS232 and ethernet for controlling via a PC. Is it worth the price? That's for you to decide. I'm sure that with time, once this becomes mainstream, prices will fall. Until then, I'll have to be happy with the concept.
For more information you can visit http://www.hdradio.com/.