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The high cost of HD Radio receivers

The high cost of HD Radio receivers

Nov 1, 2007 12:00 PM

It is amazing that in the article on why HD Radio adoption lags (Digital Radio Update newsletter, Aug. 22) you ignore completely what is probably the most important reason, namely the outrageously high cost of HD Radio receivers. One can buy a cheap portable AM/FM radio for $10. One can buy a pretty darned good tabletop AM/FM radio for $50. One can buy a very good Sony tabletop AM/FM radio and CD player combination for $100. Until very recently plain old HD Radio receivers have been typically $300 and up. Some of them are starting to be discounted down to $200 or so, but that is still a lot of money for something that is only a radio. For the same price one can get a combination AM/FM radio and stacking CD/DVD player, with 5.1 audio, including detachable speakers.

I have wanted an HD Radio receiver for some time, but only recently bought one when I found a Radiosophy unit I could get for $75 including shipping. (It was priced at $100 plus $15 shipping, with a $40 rebate from Ibiquity.) However, in every category except sound quality, the Radiosophy sucks compared to a $50 AM/FM tabletop radio. It is a clock radio, but the display is so small and dim that you can’t read the clock from farther than about three feet away. The user controls are very difficult to understand. The user guide is worthless. Even after one figures out the user controls, they are extremely awkward. The external appearance is hokey. I’m glad I have it, because I live halfway between New York City and Philadelphia, and it picks up stations from both cities with crystal clear quality, but I can’t say it was a great bargain.

When the price of HD Radio receivers comes down to where one does not have to pay a huge premium for them, the market will almost certainly take off. Of course, this may not happen for 17 years, when Ibiquity’s patent expires.
Gomer Thomas
Piscataway, NJ 08854

Thanks for the microphone

Just a quick note here to say “Thank You!” to Radio magazine and Transaudio for the Heil PR-20 microphone. It will be put to good use, as I routinely record live jazz concerts here in Nashville for broadcast on our local jazz station. It will be good to have another option for live vocals. I can’t wait to try it.
Tom Knox
Nashville Public Radio

Find the hidden mic icon on each month’s issue of Radio magazine and you could win a Heil mic, too. See page 6 for more information.

The write stuff

Bravo to Kapur and Ringer for their words in the September issue Field Report on Netia Radio-Assist! It pleased me to no end to see the comment, “In late 2006, after extensive user interviews, we identified 108 requirements…”

That is exactly how technology decisions should be made — by beginning with the end user and finding solutions that address their needs. Too often hardware or software is picked by a tech person, and users wind up spending the next six months trying figure out how to squeeze their work into a system that doesn’t really fit.
Barry Rueger
Hamilton, ON

Vampires and the RIAA

Ever notice how vampires operate? They suck your blood all the while making you think they are doing you the favor. It really does appear that the RIAA and its net representative, Sound Exchange, operate under the same principle.

The RIAA has the Copyright Royalty Board under its thumb and appears to dictate Web policy to that board, the RIAA tells webcasters what they will pay or else they go to jail or get sued. This seems to be coercion to me. So, in effect, the RIAA sets royalty payments unilaterally, sucks the funds from the webcasters and makes them think that the RIAA did them the favor.

If the RIAA had its way, there’d be no webcasting at all. Each note of music would have to be bought from one of the RIAA’s constituent members. No more free music of any kind, no more fair use would exist, nothing without payment. Pay through the nose, then give up your nose.

One thing that webcasters forget as victims of this policy is that they could put a stop to it fast. Just stop webcasting music. When the public starts complaining to Congress to do something about it, perhaps the RIAA can be controlled by reason and not avarice. Victimizers often forget that if they destroy the victim, their victimization ceases and they have no source left from which to suck.

Unfortunately, the so-called musical performance artists contribute to this victimization by profiting from the RIAA’s activities, whether vicariously or otherwise. You can’t take your profits with a clear conscience when the agency collecting for you is known to be set on destroying the source of those profits. Musicians can create music without an audience, but do they really want that?
Brian Lee Corber
Panorama City, CA