[opendtv] Re: News: DTV Converter Box announcements

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 10:13:41 -0500

At 12:49 PM -0500 1/8/08, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
HD Radio is doing well, according to that article just posted by Craig,
because radio broadcasters seem to actually care.

How did you infer from my post that HD radio is doing well?

The story only talked about the number of ads that have been run promoting the technology. This is clearly helping to raise awareness about HD Radio, but the jury is still out on what impact this will have on sales. I did a quick search and did not find much info about actual sales. The following is a year old story that cast a negative light on prospects for 2007:


Study: HD Radio Sales Estimate Reduced

Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 8:56 AM

According to a recent study by Bridge Ratings, the percentage of respondents who would be interested in purchasing an HD Radio has dropped in the past six months.

As a result Bridge has reduced their original projections for full year 2007 HD Radio sales from 2.1 million to 1.5 million total HD Radio units sold. The study also shows that "awareness" of HD Radio is on the rise, something that terrestrial radio fanboys trade publications would rather focus on, though they are completely ignoring the reduction in full year sales estimates.

Oddly enough, while "awareness" of HD Radio is climbing, knowledge of what exactly HD Radio does is on the decline. This most likely has to do with the brand confusion between HD Radio and HDTV. Everyone knows what HDTV is, so it's a pretty simple jump to be aware of HD Radio - so perhaps general awareness of the term "HD" is just on the rise itself.

One thing I'd like to kindly point out to the boys at Bridge Ratings. In their 2nd question they asked respondents: Do You know what HD or High Definition Radio is or what it does? - this question in syntactically incorrect. The fact is, the "HD" in "HD Radio" doesn't stand for "high-definition" as it's television brethren does.

As Peter Ferrera, president and CEO of the HD Digital Radio Alliance said, "Quite honestly, it [HD Radio] doesn't stand for anything. The concept was somewhat of a steal from HD television, where viewers know it means better quality"

And Bridge's study punctuates that point.

You are correct that the radio guys are promoting the hell out of this technology, with widespread support from the manufacturers of the receivers and NEW automobiles, where they are being offered as an upscale radio option. But it remains to be seen how successful this technology will be.

Looks like DTT will at least be given a try by many people, just going
by the newspaper reports on the applications pouring in for the coupon
program, and the recent announcements by Echostar and others (Philips,
Zoran are other recent ones) of their intention to participate.

This too remains to be seen. It is too early to infer much from the number of coupon requests. When there coupons are redeemed we will have a better idea about demand. What IS clear is that the demand for flat screen TVs remains very strong, but these devices do not need the NTIA subsidized boxes.

People do use ATSC receivers, when they have access to them. Even if TV
broadcasters remain amazingly shy about DTT. Even on this list, you have
seen several DBS users who also use DTT, either with the built-in ATSC
receiver, or via the DBS provider's STB. And I don't need to remind you,
I hope, that it wasn't until summer of 2007 that I finally saw the very
first reasonably priced DVD recorders with built-in ATSC receiver.

Yesterday I heard an interesting promotion for DTV from Kim Comando, who does a radio computer technology show and short commentaries that are carried by the stations that carry her show. She was promoting the virtues of FREE over the air TV using an ancient technology - a TV antenna.

But the story I posted today about the efforts of TV manufacturers to find new connections to content suggests that the trend is moving in another direction - away from broadcasters and the "umbilical services" that have traditionally delivered TV content.

Time will tell.

So it looks like DTT is and will do reasonably well, but much of the
thanks goes to the FCC -- the coupon program and the 1 March 2007
receiver mandate. Otherwise, the TV indistry in general, including the
CEA, seemed much more eager to get everyone hooked on subscription
schemes. And everyone marching along in lock step.

I think it is fairer to say that the broadcasters are being forced to give back spectrum that MAY be put to more innovative uses...


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