Radio Companies Try To Force Satellite Radio Devices To Play HD Radio Too

from the let-us-tag-along! dept

Well, the terrestrial radio companies failed to stop the XM-Sirius merger from a happening with a rather ridiculous campaign against the merger, but that doesn’t mean they can’t continue to try to cause problems. The latest is that they’ve convinced Representative Ed Markey to introduce legislation requiring all satellite radio devices to include the ability to play HD Radio (terrestrial radio’s attempt to provide a better quality product to compete with satellite). The FCC had just begun investigating whether or not such an HD Radio mandate made sense, but apparently Markey can’t wait and is pushing to have the mandate pushed through as law before the FCC can study the issue. Is it worth mentioning that the NAB, the lobbying arm of the terrestrial radio stations (and the group that resorted to all sorts of questionable actions in trying to prevent the Sirius-XM merger), is one of Markey’s biggest campaign contributors? Oh, and that XM CEO Mel Karmazin contributed to Markey’s campaign back in 2001 (when Karmazin worked for Viacom), but apparently hasn’t contributed more recently? Feel free to express your thoughts on the bill with this voting widget (if you’re reading in RSS, click through to see it):

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Companies: fcc, nab, sirius, xm

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Comments on “Radio Companies Try To Force Satellite Radio Devices To Play HD Radio Too”

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some old guy (user link) says:

I think this is a GRATE IDEA!*

Forcing the satellite broadcasters to upgrade to HD quality is a grate idea! That will surely make buying music obsolete! Why would you want to buy an SD mp3 stream from an online store, possibly with DRM, when you could just save some money and get one of those satellite devices that allows exporting of a nice HD stream instead!

Now that would be a subscription music service that I would actually see value in.

*that was sarcasm

ok, unfunny sarcasm aside, I thought XM/Sirius was already being “broadcast” at a higher quality than terrestrial radio, and the reason terrestrial was on the grade rampage.

tubes says:

Re: I think this is a GRATE IDEA!*

HD Radio does not mean the same thing as HD Television. In fact HD Radio probably sounds worse than normal radio if that is even possible.

“HD Radio” is the proprietary trademark for iBiquity’s in-band on-channel (IBOC) technology, which was selected by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2002 as the only current digital audio broadcasting technology for AM and FM broadcasting in the United States.[3] According to iBiquity’s website, “…The ‘HD’ in ‘HD Radio’ does not mean ‘high-definition’ or ‘hybrid digital’.

some old guy (user link) says:

Re: I don't understand.

Because it’s an artificial regulation with the sole intent of harming a competitor for the sake of harming a competitor.

If the market called for a satellite radio device that could play terrestrial radio signals, then the market will provide it. Why would legislation demanding something the market does not want help anyone? It won’t. It will only increase licensing and development costs, and that’s the only goal of the bill.

Twinrova says:

Re: Re: I don't understand.

But does anyone have proof the market doesn’t want it? Or does one really believe consumers want two (or more) devices to play a simple song?

I’m definitely ignorant on this subject because something doesn’t seem right.

Especially when no one seems to care iPod features are placed into automobiles, a feature not addressed by the market (that I’m aware of).

I agree forcing this into a law is a bit extreme as it would seem to make more sense to offer the “all-in-one” product for consumers (if one doesn’t exist already).

I’d simply vote “No” given this step is a “natural” evolution in radio receiver design to begin with.

Much like marrying the PC to the TV (actually, this one is real late coming to the table).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I don't understand.

More proof most receivers at least for cars can play SD radio and have an input that makes them XM ready. Some support HD radio and are XM ready. So the user already has an over the air receiver and have to add on the XM receiver.

Why would you want to have to terrestrial receivers in your car. If you would just want to add HD then just go out and buy a new receiver it would be about the same price as if you bought a new XM receiver.

What would make more sense is to require all new terrestrial receivers to support HD.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: I don't understand.

“But does anyone have proof the market doesn’t want it? Or does one really believe consumers want two (or more) devices to play a simple song?”

XM/Sirius have been out for a while now. If there was enough demand for a satellite radio that played terrestrial radio it would exist. Hell it probably does, or at least I hope so. Personally I would want one that does both, but that doesn’t mean I think this law is right in any way.

“I’m definitely ignorant on this subject because something doesn’t seem right.”

That would just be the dawning realization that lobbyists are running the country. For years I’ve thought people that said that were kooks, but why else with EVERYTHING that is going on would this yahoo be pushing this piece of legislation?

“Especially when no one seems to care iPod features are placed into automobiles, a feature not addressed by the market (that I’m aware of).”

What “features” of the iPod? The iPod has nearly zero unique features. And the ones that are unique to it are duplicated in other products almost since the launch of the iPod for the most part.

Are you perhaps talking abuot iPod integration with your stereo? Because that DID get pushed by the market, by the demand. People were replacing multi-disc CD changers with iPods.

“I agree forcing this into a law is a bit extreme as it would seem to make more sense to offer the “all-in-one” product for consumers (if one doesn’t exist already).”

Then why argue?

“I’d simply vote “No” given this step is a “natural” evolution in radio receiver design to begin with.”

Thank FSM/Cthulu for common sense.

“Much like marrying the PC to the TV (actually, this one is real late coming to the table).”

Actually, people have been doing this for years. There wasn’t any real point before the late 90’s to doing it but since then there have been DIYs and even a handful of commercial products that do this.

yatesjj says:

Re: I don't understand.

Intergrating the ability to receive both types of signals isn’t bad, but that doesn’t justify passing a law to force businesses to add it. If it was voluntarily added, that would make the product much more competitive which is good. But when a bill is introduced by a political figure who is receiving money from the same sources who are trying to forcefully push their services into a competing businesses product with no return is simply wrong, bad juju and not a place politics has business in.

Anonymous Coward says:

Co-Sponsors are doing well running thru the NAB and Clearchannel money pit too! Glancing over it, I estimate total contributions to be over $250k.

It seems like a waste of everyone’s time. Give it a few years and the market will demand it. Think of it like buying an AM/FM Radio. You’ll eventually get both!

Twinrova: There could be a few reasons for this. I’m not an HD-Radio expert, but maybe it requires some proprietary hardware or patent that would need to be licensed from the HD-Radio camp.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

The whole notion of HD radio is simply absurd. It’s not high def by any standard. It’s not SACD quality. It’s merely CD quality, nothing more! CDs have been around since the 80s, so it’s not like this is anything new or innovative.

And even if it was SACD quality, which it isn’t, who in the frick is going to listen to this generation’s crap in a high quality format?! There’s no subtilty, depth, or dynamic range in the production of today’s music. And this is not merely an old geezer’s opinion. It’s scientifically proven over and over again. Consumers today are more than happy with low quality songs they’ve downloaded.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re:

Uh, last I checked, the radio plays more than “this generation’s crap.” There are oldies stations, classical stations, classic rock stations, country stations, and talk radio.

So, curb your rant, Mr. Grumpy Old Man, there is plenty decent to listen to on the radio (except it’s usually interrupted by so darn many commercials. Curse those radio-business whipper-snappers and their demand for a profit!)

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

There are oldies stations, classical stations, classic rock stations, country stations, and talk radio.

I agree that true HD SACD quality radio would be cool for classical, classic rock, and jazz, you forgot jazz. However, you missed the point of my comment, HD radio is not high def quality. It would be no better than me listening to my own CDs at home, except at home I would not have any commercial interruptions. In other words, there is no point to it.

Second, exactly why do you think anyone would want to listen to “talk radio” in a high quality format?! (Once again, HD radio is not a high quality format!) Exactly what audio nuance is being lost in the Rush Limbaugh Show?!

interval says:

Re: Re:

Of course its absurd. Its terrestrial’s attempt to take some thunder out of satellite. But they will never be able to compete with satellite’s ability to allow me to listen to one station while I drive from los angeles to seattle without any static.

“Its over, Johnny. OVER.” Put a fork in terrestrial. The body is just throwing a few last kicks before burial.

dan says:

Last ditch effort to get more attention to HD Radio

Its important to note that the bill is meant to force a proprietary, unpopular format to work on hardware meant for a different, competing format.

These are not only competing formats but competing companies. The backers of Terrestrial radio are watching their profits dive because there is now real competition in radio. They couldn’t stop the merger of the two satellite companies and now they want to force their format to be included on the other formats hardware? Rediculous.

If manufacturers came out with an all in one unit then I would be for it but why in hell would we want government to spend time and money creating a bill to force it on us?

Greg Smith (user link) says:

Markey is a fraud and HD Radio is a farce!

Senator Markey’s bill to require mandatory inclusion of HD Radio into Satrad receivers is absurd. Senator Markey has received over $10,000 in campaign money from the NAB. HD Radio has been rejected by consumers, so the NAB/iBiquity is trying to force this flawed digital technology, that suffers from dropouts and poor coverage, onto consumers. The fool Markey doesn’t realize that this will not affect “Satellite Radio Ready” car receivers, or virtually all portable Satrad receivers. There needs to be a Congressional investigation into this HD Radio scam:

HD Radio is a complete give-away of our airways to iBiquity/HD Radio Alliance.

hegemon13 says:

Alternative possibility

When I first read this article, I misunderstood. I thought it was saying that all radios would have to include HD Radio capability. I actually thought that was a pretty good idea, the same way the FCC required all tv tuners to include a digital tuner after a certain date.

Now, I see it is satellite radio tuners they are talking about, and that makes no sense. First, a satellite radio receiver may not even have a standard FM tuner in it. Plus, they are singling out a small piece of the market, which belongs to their competitor, which strikes me as borderline antitrust.

WolfWitch says:

I hope this never happens!

HD radio is a joke. Broadcast radio is basically just trying to do what Satellite radio has been doing for years. Wow- you mean it displays the song information right there on the radio?!?! Gee whiz. I even heard an advertisement for HD radio the other day that said it has a CLOCK! OMG- a clock!

People left broadcast radio for satellite for a couple of really big reasons. First- they didn’t want company’s like Clear Channel dictating what they listened to, and second- they didn’t want to listen to 20 minutes of commercials for every hour of content. A lot were also probably sick and tired of stupid-ass DJ shows too.

Satellite radio gives me at least 100 more choices of what to listen to than local broadcasts, almost all of which is without commercials. “HD” radio just gives me the same local broadcast crap, with slightly better sound quality and a few features I’m already getting from satellite. The bottom line is local broadcast stations are losing competative ground to satellite, and now they are trying to get the government to save them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hmm, I think I may have gotten the shaft in this deal. I bought a new vehicle recently that came with 1 free year of Sirius satellite radio. The problem is that my vehicle has the highest quality sound system available from the factory, and while FM radio and CDs sound awesome (and even most MP3s), the satellite radio sounds like MP3s that were encoded at 64kbps, i.e. super crappy quality. Plus there’s the fact that it tends to be like cable TV, where even though you have around 150 or so channels, and nothing good is on much of the time.

I dunno, maybe the manufacturer just put the cheapest piece of junk radio receiver in it, or something, but if that’s the quality of service I can expect, I doubt very much I’ll be renewing my subscription once the free period is up. I just don’t see the value in it at this point. Also, I know I’m weird, but the type of music I enjoy (Asian imports) doesn’t exist on satellite radio, not in the USA anyway, so my iPod keeps me plenty happy with that.

tubes says:

Re: Re:

You are seriously a douchebag!! First of all, you just took it in the ass from the car manufacturer “my vehicle has the highest quality sound system available from the factory”. There is no such thing as an awesome factory sound system. There might be a better than stock but for what you just got charged for your factory sound system, you could of purchased an aftermarket setup that will sound better then almost any home system.

How can you say FM & CD’s sound awesome but the sat radio sounds like crap. I don’t think your sat radio is hooked up right. I’ve been a subscriber for almost 4 years now & I can’t say one bad thing about it. Granted its not the best sound but nothing will give you the best sound except for a LP record. Everything is compressed CD’s, FM, SatRad…

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yes, a lot of sheep seem to think one party is different from the other.

the values and goals of the republican party are vastly different than the democratic party.

the republicans are owned and operated by the telecommunications and oil industries.

the democrats are owned and operated by hollywood and trade unions.

as you can see, they are completely different.

happy honu says:

If they *really* want to push HD Radio...

Instead of forcing the extra cost and tech licensing fees onto the satellite companies, why not take the HD Radio mandate straight to the consumer and go the DTV route?

You know, announce that on a certain date, if you don’t have an HD-capable radio (or converter), all you’ll get on your radio is static. (Although some people might not notice the difference…)

Why won’t they do this? Easy. They’re afraid it will kill terrestrial radio! Consumers don’t want to spend more money to get commercial-driven radio, and they perceive HD Radio to be more of the same. And broadcasters are terrified that if consumers were forced to “upgrade” their radios, they would choose satellite over HD.

Although I have not heard HD Radio, I have heard the marketing campaign for it, and it’s horrible. So instead of taking responsibility for the lack of consumer interest, NAB and the HD Radio group turn to an old friend (one of the best friends money can buy!) for this lame mandate.

And seriously, how pathetic is it that this bill was introduced while our lawmakers should have been focusing all their efforts on the worst economic disaster we’ve seen in several decades?

I definitely hope this bill gets voted down.

Morley says:

Its them Dems again...

No idea what this article was talking about, as I don’t listen to the radio much. I see it is a Dem proposing the bill.

When are they going to learn that when the govt messes with business, bad things happen? Let the consumers vote with their money. If people want “HD” radio then let them buy it. Have the politicions learned anything? Look what all their meddling got us (ahem 700 billon bailout was the result incase anyone missed that fact…).

Let businesses be businnesses and work for my dollar. Let consumers be consumers, not mindless drones that have to eat whatever the lobbyists feed the politicians.

Anonymous Coward says:

While he’s at it, why doesn’t Mr. Markey add a provision that requires Coke to provide a few cans of Pepsi with every case they sell.

I’m sure this legislation won’t get anywhere (at least I hope that’s the case) but its idiotic that its even brought up. Deal with some issues that actually affect your constituents – there’s plenty of them to pick right now – rather than doing whatever you can to fatten your bank account.

Hoov says:

wouldnt it be the same as.......

yahoo, griping about google kicking their ass in the search engine market, and then going to the govt, and asking them to add yahoo search to googles page ??

market your own crappy product HD radio people
i dont want it in my Sirius/XM

who wants to hear cd quality commercials?????
hd is nothing different than todays radio in cd quality

so why the hell would i want that on my satelite radio??

the goverment has was toooo many things on their plate to worry about this bs

Easily Amused says:

nothing to see here, move along....

Devices have been available for several years that play HD radio and XM/Sirius… almost any decent car stereo that has satellite built in will also do HD radio. Personally, the only time I EVER used terrestrial radio was in the car. Home/office has many more enjoyable sources, from satellite and streaming media to terabytes of stored data. I think the HD radio tuner in my car has been used maybe a total of 4 hours in 3 years. And since I hacked the unit’s iPod input to accept thumb drives I don’t even listen to satellite much anymore…

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