First there was digital television, called "the latest breakthrough in television." Now, HD radio is catching on as a popular form of broadcasting. Although the FCC has moved a step closer to bringing HD radio to millions of Americans, at this time radio broadcasters are not required to convert to "all-digital" broadcasting.
What is Digital Radio?
HD radio is one of the most significant advancements in radio broadcasting since the introduction of the FM stereo more than 50 years ago. HD radio technology enables AM andFM radio stations to broadcast their programs digitally--a tremendous technological leapfrom the analog broadcasts of the past.
HD radio is the transmission and reception of sound that has been processed using technology comparable to that used in CD players. In short, a digital radio transmitter processes sounds into patterns of numbers, or "digits"– hence the term "digital radio." In contrast, traditional analog radios process sounds into patterns of electrical signals that resemble sound waves.
FM HD radio is capable of providing clear sound comparable in quality to CDs. Digital receivers provide significantly clearer sound than conventional analog radios, just as CDs sound clearer than record albums.
AM HD radio is capable of providing sound quality equivalent to tha tof standard analog FM, and sounds dramatically better than analog AM. Some broadcasters believe that digital broadcasting may bring music back to the AM band.
HD radio reception is more resistant to interference, and eliminates many imperfections of analog radio transmission and reception. There may be some interference to digital radio signals in areas that are distant from a station’s transmitter.
Do I Need a New Radio to Receive Digital Quality?
YES, A HD radio is needed to receive digital signals, but you can use the same radio to also tune to stations that are still broadcasting in analog, not digital.
The best part! Once you own the HD radio, the digital signal is free of charge! There are no subscription costs, service plans, or monthly bills.
Advantages for Listeners
HD radio offers a number of consumer advantages over traditional analog radio, including:
Better audio quality, more robust signals, and new auxiliary services, such as multiple audio programming channels, audio-on-demand services, and interactive features.
Enhanced radio designs with simplified functions. Simply select the station you want from the call letters or names displayed on the digital radio liquid crystal display (LCD) and the computer within the radio will dothe rest.
Potential to introduce new data and information services that will be displayed on the radio’s small screen when “all-digital” operations are introduced. For example, a station could send background information about a band when that band’s music is playing. Advertisers could send information about discounts and sales. Listeners could program their radios to receive customized weather reports, news, or stock quotes.