Wednesday, January 05, 2011

CES - HD Radio = CES + HD Radio?

Three news alerts hit my inbox almost at the same time, all talking about HD Radio in context with the 2011 Consumer Electronics (CES) show. The first comes from Jim Motavalli, blogging for Forbes Magazine. His post certainly had an engaging headline:

HD Radio: Is it the auto industry's next big thing?

I had to double-check the date. I could have sworn I saw that headline at least once in 2010, and 2009, and 2008, and each year back to 2004. But wait! There's more! Motavilli writes:

Is HD Radio the next big thing for in-car audio? Well, it’s not like the transition from AM to FM (that was a big leap), but it’s an interesting improvement. And it has a big advantage over satellite radio — it doesn’t cost anything. As long as you have an HD-equipped radio (three million have been sold by Ibiquity, which is owned by big-league radio chains) you can listen to the digital signal free, without a subscription, and at the same frequencies, too. [NOTE: It's taken seven years to move 3 million HD Radio units -- 10.3 million iPads were sold in 2010]
Classic 2004 talking points, playing off what the radio industry thought would pull listeners back from satellite radio subscriptions (better content is why they left in the first place -- content they were willing to pay for). I had to wonder where Mr. Motavilli's been for the last seven years if he thinks this is a startling new innovation.

The second piece is from Radio Survivor. Paul Riismandel writes about what he anticipates is the role of HD Radio at CES.

While all the biggest buzz around the show is in anticipation of new tablet competitors for Apple’s iPad, we can still expect to hear announcements of new radio gadgets across the spectrum, from analog broadcast and HD Radio to satellite and internet radio.
On the satellite radio and HD Radio front things have been quiet for the pre-show period. In fact, it doesn’t seem like iBiquity is even ready for CES this year, since their press release site is still touting a special section to highlight HD Radio at the 2010 CES from twelve months ago.

And finally, Mark Ramsey of Mark Ramsey Media weighs in on the subject, with his post-Toyota's Entune raises the stakes for Radio Online and on the Road.

Here’s a peek at Toyota’s new Entune in-dash entertainment system, which includes Pandora, iheartradio, local search, movie tickets, dinner reservations, and a whole lot more – all powered by an app you download to your mobile device and driven by your phone’s data plan.

Interestingly, Radio Ink reports that the system includes HD Radio and SiriusXM, too, but it’s telling that those assets are nowhere to be found in Toyota’s promotional video or on the Entune page of its website. Does that suggest that these assets are either too fuzzy or too non-compelling to merit a full frontal pitch?
You bet it does

That doesn’t mean they won’t be used, of course. Just that they won’t be used to sell cars.
That last sentence from Mr. Ramsey seems to neatly answer the question raised by Mr.Motavalli's headline. (And in case you're wondering, the algebraic expression in the title works if HD Radio = zero)


  1. Anonymous10:32 PM

    Yeah I am a big fan of HD radio .. I just bought a SONY HD radio and it sounds cool to me ..I will definitely recommend to anyone and everyone .... it's an experience ...get it ....

  2. Anonymous10:35 PM

    from my point of view HD radio is the next big thing that gonna leap all boundaries ..... it sounds coool .. I agree .....overall I will rate my experience with HD radio as great 5/5....not to forget the DAB radio in europe sounds cool too .....