Investors Business Daily recently set up a comparative analysis between satellite and HD radio in a recent web article. While subjective, it sheds light on the dilemmas that each of these new technologies faces moving forward.
Satellite received big points for its content, but the reviewers noted that in and around the New York metro area (where the test occurred), there is some drop out where line-of-sight is difficult to come by.
For HD Radio, the author notes that the sound quality is very solid, and of course, the service is free. But as the article points out, "programming choices are scant." This is in New York City. If HD Radio and HD stations aren't fabulous examples in the Big Apple, how does terrestrial radio expect to pull off this technological challenge, and make HD Radio mainstream?
We have heard many stations and broadcasters say they will sink more into programming when there are more radios in the overall population.
But the chicken-and-egg-of-it is that selling more radios isn't going to happen on faith. It is great content that will drive purchases. It is word-of-mouth that will convince people to try HD Radio. It is the ability to be able to walk into a store, hear HD Radio, and tune in cool and interesting programming that will move these units off the shelves.
Articles like this one point out the uncomfortable truth that programming choice is indeed "scant," even in major markets - especially compared to satellite radio. And isn't that the obvious point of comparison?