Monday, May 22, 2006

State of the Spectrum

Do you want your HD Radio? Digital Radio exists in Pittsburgh, but I really wonder how many people have the equipment to receive the signal. iBiquity, the company which seems to own the technology standard for digital radio in the US lists all stations in Pennsylvania currently broadcasting digital radio, 6 of which (WDUQ,WLTJ,WPGB,WQED,WRKZ and WWSW) are in the Pittsburgh media market. These stations are either simulcasting both in analog and digital or are multicasting, providing additional content in their digital feeds. Given the low penetration of digitial receivers though, it's hard not to compare digitial radio to the proverbial tree that falls in the woods: does it really make a sound?

Digital radio is supposed to have lots of advantages including clearer sound and better reception, but the real goal is to free up a chunk of the radio specturm for alternative uses. A digital audio signal uses a fraction of the bandwith of an analog signal now being used so its possible for existing stations to convert to digital, broadcast multiple feeds, yet still use less bandwidth than before.

Is anyone out there listening to terrestrial digital radio, i.e. other than via satellite?