We've all seen the proliferation of the HDTV. Now it's time to enjoy your favorite radio stations, in high-definition audio. High Definition Digital radio (HD Radio) is one of the most significant radio advancements since the introduction of FM Radio. Now AM and FM radio stations can broadcast their programs digitally. Conventional FM radio is broadcast with CD-quality sound and AM radio sounds as good as FM.
How it Works
HD radio works like a conventional radio. There is a signal origin on one end and a receiver on the other. Stations send out bundled analog and digital signals to provide audio as well as textual data like song titles, artist's names, stock information and news.
HD radios handle incoming signals differently. Normally, radio signals can bounce off objects, causing what is called multipath distortions. This is what causes the static on a regular radio receiver. With an HD Radio receiver, they are designed to sort through the signals which reduces the static, and other audible interferences. HD radio offers standard as well as High Definition. HD radio has a broader song lists with music that is more diverse including independent bands and artists, more talk radio, comedy as well as news programming.
How much does it cost?
It's all totally free. Once you have an HD Radio receiver, you're set. There are no subscriptions or activation fees. It's just like the radio you've always enjoyed, just a lot better.
How do I find the HD2 channels on the radio?
Similar to the transition from analog to a digital TV channels, you will find your favorite radio station the same way. If you are attempting to listen to 97.9 FM, tune your HD radio receiver to either 97.9-2, or 97.9-HD2. Read the product's user manual or call the manufacturer direct for specific instructions.
Can I hear HD Radio from my home town in another city?
HD digital radio is High Definition local radio. You are able to listen to local channels or stations available in the city where the broadcasts originate.
What about commercials on the HD2 channels?
Some radio stations have chosen to provide the HD2 channel programming in a commercial free environment for the next few years.
Transitioning Out of Analog
With IBOC-based HD Radio technology, radio receivers and other consumer electronics will receive traditional analog broadcasts from stations that have yet to convert and digital broadcasts from stations that have converted.
Current analog radios will continue to receive the analog portion of the IBOC-based broadcast, allowing for a smooth transition to a digital world. In fact, specific features have been designed into HD Radio-supported receivers to improve the existing analog reception during the "Hybrid Mode."
As the market reaches maturity, broadcasters will transition out of analog broadcasts and offer "all-digital mode". As a result of HD Radio's digital architecture, enhanced services such as increased data capacity, surround sound or other multicasting solutions can be made available across this unused bandwidth.
One really cool feature with the new HD Radio is the "iTunes Tagging". Some stations are broadcasting a tag-enabled HD Radio signal, which let you select a song for purchasing at a later time simply by "tagging" it. To do so, you will need three things: an Apple device; an audio/video component that includes an HD Radio tuner, iPod dock and "Tag" button; and a local radio station that's broadcasting an HD Radio signal that has enabled tagging.
As you're listening, just press the "Tag" button when you hear a song you'd like to buy. The component saves the song information in its memory (but not the song itself). When you dock your iPod to the device, the information automatically transfers to your iPod. The next time you sync your iPod to your computer, a list of the songs you tagged will appear, giving you the option of purchasing them through the iTunes Store. Purchase the ones you want, and voila, your favorite new songs.