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Three Great Reasons to Buy an HD Radio

Jan 29, 2008
Have you heard one of your local stations say it was "now broadcasting in crystal-clear HD radio," and wondered what the heck is HD radio?

The simple answer is that HD radio is digital radio, vs. the radio you are hearing now, which is analog. Analog radio is like an old tried and true friend that's been around almost forever and is probably an integral part of your life. In comparison, digital radio is the new kid on the block -- a new technology that does for radio what high definition does for television. It takes the same programming, and just makes it one heckuva lot better.

Reason number one: Once you hear it you won't want to go back

HD radio sounds so much better than conventional radio, it's like the difference between a 1948 Hudson Hornet and one of today's Lexus LX-400s. Listening to AM radio broadcast in digital HD is so clear and static-free you may think you're listening to FM radio. And FM radio broadcast in HD is so superior to normal FM, you may think you're listening to a CD. I have personally tested several different HD radios and can tell you from first-hand experience that once you have heard your favorite stations in HD, you just won't want to go back to conventional radio.

Reason number two: Those neat. "hidden" stations

When you listen to conventional, analog radio, you're missing a lot. That's because, in between those stations are probably other stations that you can't hear it unless you have an HD radio. Because HD radio is digital, it allows broadcasters to pack several different channels on the same frequency. In fact, I have heard that broadcasters could literally sandwich eight different channels of programming on the same frequency. While this may be true in theory, as of today, HD broadcasters are adding only a second or HD2 channel. There are two interesting things about these HD2 channels. First, most are commercial free. That's right, commercial free. You can listen to one of the stations all day and never hear a radio spot. Second, most broadcasters with HD2 channels are using them for different, and in some cases, experimental programming. For example, we have a station here that broadcasts easy listening music on its primary or HD1 channel and all blues on its HD2 channel.

Reason number three: It's radio that can send you messages

When stations broadcast in HD - or digital radio - they are also sending you text messages. Today, these messages consist mostly of station call letters and frequency, and the artist's name and song title. However, this is just the beginning. In the not-so-far future, stations will be using this ability to send weather updates and alerts, traffic updates, and who knows what. I saw recently that an HD radio had been demonstrated that does scrolling text messages, much like closed captioning. This could make something like talk radio, totally accessible to the hearing impaired. And there are probably a dozen other uses for this texting ability that haven't yet been announced.

I saw one estimate recently that by the year 2012, there will be 30 million HD radios in use, and I believe it. HD radio is the wave of the future, and there is no better time than now to buy and HD radio and ride that wave.
About the Author
Douglas Hanna is the publisher of the popular web site, http://www.hd-radio-home.com. and proprietor of http://www.hd-radio-home.com/sangean-hd-radio-store.html

Hanna is an expert author and has published nearly 200 ezine articles on a variety of subjects, especially those having to do with HD radio.
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