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Digital Radio: A solution without a problem

Or, it could also be phrased “A solution that causes more problems.”  Radio World, once again, has a good article on the consequences of increasing IBOC power of the FM hybrid system.  Especially telling is figure 24, a fuzzy 400 Hz sine wave showing how much distortion is added to the analog signal by a mere 4% HD  signal.  I’d be especially interested to see the results of the full 10% now allowed.

Naturally, HD proponents will cry “But this is only temporary!  Wait until the transition to all digital!”

Bunk.

If HD radios were indeed flying off the shelves as iBiquity claims, and if the public expressed interest, okay, maybe.  Clearly, that is not the case.  The only thing that HD radio is doing is creating more interference. Period.  More interference to the parent station and more interference to the adjacent channels all for an audience that does not exist.   Another way to put it: NOBODY IS LISTENING.  One of the station that I service had a Harris Deathstar go off line for four days.  NOT ONE PHONE CALL, NOBODY CARES!

The public did not perceive a technical problem with analog FM broadcasting.   Of course, that can always change as the band gets filled with interference.

Lets see where FM IBOC stands:

  • Rolled out with 1% digital power vs analog carrier, the system was found to lack building penetration and generally performed poorly in mobile listening environments (NPR labs study, Nov 24, 2009)
  • FCC allows up to 10% digital power vs analog carrier to overcome these problems, a few stations implement some type of power increase
  • The  shows that self interference is the largest problem IBOC needs to fix, one that is un-fixable due to the laws of physics
  • The public yawns, turns on their iPod

IBOC is a failure, both in AM and FM bands.

We are watching the self destruction of radio broadcasting in the US.

Axiom


A pessimist sees the glass as half empty. An optimist sees the glass as half full. The engineer sees the glass as twice the size it needs to be.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
~1st amendment to the United States Constitution

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
~Benjamin Franklin

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
~Rudyard Kipling

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers
~Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, Article 19

...radio was discovered, and not invented, and that these frequencies and principles were always in existence long before man was aware of them. Therefore, no one owns them. They are there as free as sunlight, which is a higher frequency form of the same energy.
~Alan Weiner

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