IBiquity Digital believes HD Radio has momentum in its consumer
electronics business, with accelerating growth in the key segments of
aftermarket car radios, premier home audio and portable navigation devices. This builds on
expansion in new cars that the company reported in 2012.
IBiquity executives Jim Spencer, Jeff
Jury and Bob Struble at the CES Show. Struble said he anticipates big gains for
HD Radio in 2013 across consumer electronics categories.
Photo by Leslie Stimson
President/CEO Bob Struble anticipates big gains for HD Radio in 2013
across CE product categories. The company predicts approximately 60 aftermarket
car and home products.
Aftermarket car brands Alpine, JVC, Kenwood, Pioneer and Sony are
expanding their HD Radio product lines. Home audio brands Denon, Marantz,
McIntosh, Onkyo, Integra and Yamaha are refreshing lines with new models. Most
of these will launch with “advanced” HD Radio features like Artist Experience,
in which audio is synched with visual elements.
anticipates 15 car models will be available with HD Digital Traffic this year. An expanded line of Garmin portable
navigation devices supporting HD Digital Traffic will also launch this year.
Struble said HD Radio is being used for more
than audio, and he expects that trend to continue. He pointed to traffic
devices that use the platform to deliver data to the car.
For example, Mitsubishi announced that its compact crossover, the 2014
Outlander, will be its first vehicle to have real-time traffic information
delivered via HD Radio signals to its dash navigation system. That car is due
out in summer.
Now 29 automotive brands offer or have announced plans to offer HD Radio
audio, traffic or data features. Many OEMs, including Toyota, Lexus and
Mitsubishi, plan to use the digital broadcasts to receive traffic and data
information as well.
VW, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and BMW are the first to offer Artist
Experience. Additional automakers, including Lexus and Toyota, have radios in
development and plan to offer the feature in coming months, according to
iBiquity. AE was available in 12 car models in 2012; that number is expected to
rise to 27 this year.
Toyota, Lexus and Mitsubishi were the first automakers to announce the
integration of HD Radio to receive both audio and digital traffic services.
Two service providers, Clear Channel and Nokia, have built nationwide
networks to broadcast real-time traffic and data information using the HD Radio
system. Nokia has partnered with radio station companies that comprise the Broadcaster
Traffic Consortium, while Clear Channel uses its own radio stations to support its
Total Traffic Network.
2013 vehicles in iBiquity’s CES Show booth featured factory-installed HD Radio
receivers with advanced capabilities, including a Chevrolet Traverse, Ford
Fusion, Toyota Yaris, Ram Pick Up and Hyundai Santa Fe. Struble singled out the
Traverse as notable, a high-volume-selling vehicle from one of the so-called
“Big Three” automakers that features Artist Experience.
The big screen
Looking ahead, Struble noted discussion that the federal
government might mandate rear-view backup cameras in vehicles for safety
reasons. “If they mandate that, you can expect to see a screen in every single
car” — and that would have implications at the station level.
“The fact is, if you’re an analog station,
broadcasting and being displayed on a screen like that, it’s largely going to
be a blank screen. In most instances it will just be your frequency displayed,”
said Struble, “whereas we know what the digital display will look like.”
Drivers of Chevys, Fords, BMWs or Volkswagens now can
see their stations displayed using HD Radio. With advanced data features,
Struble says, those receiver displays show album covers and visuals for
multicast channels as well as for other HD Radio features.“That screen gets
filled up” with digital radio, he said. “We think it’s a competitive necessity
for broadcasters to have a 21st century look” for their display.
someone is listening to SiriusXM, or Pandora, iHeartRadio or to their iPod in
the car, they’re going to be seeing that stuff; so radio needs to kind of catch
up.” Struble believes the industry is beginning to realize this as radio people
themselves buy cars with big infotainment screens.
IBiquity also demonstrated consumer
radio products supporting Active Alerts.
This technology allows radio stations to broadcast notifications from
the Emergency Alert System through the HD Radio digital broadcast system.
The notifications will generate pop-up text messages and trigger
wake-up/snooze capability on compatible receivers during weather emergencies or
other local events. Products such as the commercially available JVC
KW-NT810HDT carry the feature. IBiquity also demonstrated the feature on an
Insignia Narrator; it has previously showed a prototype.
An HD Radio receiver that supports Active Alert will be able to receive
an EAS Common Alerting Protocol message from a station that is using Active
Alert-enabled HD Radio transmission equipment. If the receiver is off but still
powered, it scans the band looking for an HD Radio station that provides the
Active Alert service. Once found, the unit rests on that frequency; when the
station sends an alert, the unit receives it immediately. The radio “wakes up”
and delivers the alert.