I’ve heard some wishful thinking lately about a merger condition IBOC proponents would like to see: The merged satellite company would be required to put HD Radios in their in-dash receivers.
This specific scenario didn’t come up yesterday but Mel threw out “HD Radio” several times as an example of the type of competition satellite radio faces.
At one point Sen. Hatch said to Mel, “What you ought to do is get the auto companies to put you in (their vehicles) automatically. They will do that because people will trade up. Over a period of years, you will get that and have no competition.”
But Hatch was using the point to illustrate how potentially big satellite radio could become if the merger was approved, saying that what Sirius and XM seek is “a unique model” and that down the road, the merged entity would be a “colossus.”
Mel countered by reminding the senator of the competition satellite radio faces in the car, including HD Radio.
And he brought up conditional access on multicast channels without calling it by that name: “HD Radio may someday evolve into a subscription service,” said Karmazin. “They may choose to do that someday.”
This point was not followed up in the hearing but don’t be surprised if it turns up in the merger review.