Stephen Hill: HD Radio is DOA

Stephen HillPublic radio producer Stephen Hill, host of the popular electronic/space music show Hearts of Space, thinks that High Definition Radio is dead on arrival, and that podcasting and other Internet audio options dug its grave.

HD Radio is a standard for delivering near CD-quality audio over radio waves.

“HD reminds me of DCC (Digital Compact Cassette),” notes Hill, “another attempt by a mature industry to administer life support to a sunset format. That didn’t work either, and today almost no one even remembers it.”

“Of the major usage trends that are driving the growth of Internet radio — new “long tail” niche and alternative content, on-demand delivery, user-created content, podcasting (subcriptions and portability), and time-shifting — only time-shifting is even doable with HD, and then only in a relatively crippled way due to memory and interface constraints,” notes Hill. “Even this undermines the one incontestable advantage of conventional radio: ease of use.”

At his blog, Hill makes a persuasive case for the advantages of podcasting and on-demand Internet audio over digital radio. He notes that typical Internet audio is already higher quality than HD, there are more options on the Internet and people don’t need to purchase a special $500 HD radio

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