Debunking the Prometheus Top 10 Problems with HD Radio


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7. The future of radio is entrusted to a single company.
It's a single technology developer for HD Radio, I agree. But anyone can step up -- and already have. Leonard Kahn has tried to develop an AM system. Digital Radio Express has developed FM Extra.

Prometheus says the "FCC decided to go with a proposal from Ibiquity." After several years of filings, yes. Prometheus ignores that fact that Eureka 147 was considered at one point. In the early days, there were several systems being developed, but the current Ibiquity system is what remains.

Prometheus claims, " IBOC [is] limited to the in-crowd of industry broadcasters." No, it's available to anyone who wants to license it. We know it's not cheap, and Prometheus doesn't like that either. Prometheus calls it a monopoly. It's not a monopoly because it's not mandated.

8. Proprietary software keeps this new technology shackled.
Continuing the monopoly cry, Prometheus calls the "proprietary software structure" of HD Radio an "outdated business model that prevents others from 'checking under the hood' or contributing ideas that might improve digital radio." Actually, the NRSC recommendation does not force anything to Ibiquity. It specifies a system that Ibiquity has developed, but it could be implemented in other ways. Is that simple to do? No.

Ibiquity stepped up to create a system. Others have tried but have not yet achieved the same success.

9. HD radios are expensive.
The first device of any new technology is expensive. The price will come down. We already have a portable FM HD Radio for $50. Prometheus is quick to point out that HD Radio doesn't work, but doesn't acknowledge that it has seen dramatic improvements in the past 10 years.

10. What kind of future is this, anyway?
Prometheus gets into its finest name calling at this point by saying "Leave it to the broadcasting industry that brings you channel after channel of the same garbage to propose a digital future with no new ideas."

Prometheus brings up the proposal from the Broadcast Maximization Committee to use TV channels 2 through 6 for radio. This idea is on the table, and while it offers some advantages to provide a new digital service without harming the existing analog service, it creates a logistic problem for the broadcasters who may be moved to the new spectrum. There are no radio receivers available there. It only transplants a problem, It does not solve it.

The one point that Prometheus raises that has some merit is to institute added public interest obligations. While there is some merit to the idea of requiring broadcasters to share bandwidth with non-comm groups, that is harder to implement.

While Prometheus hopes to demystify digital radio, we'll continue to clarify the group's misinformation.




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