HD Radio chipset gets smaller, fits in MP3 player - Orbitcast

HD Radio chipset gets smaller, fits in MP3 player

| 20 Comments
HD Radio portable MP3 player
Last year at CES, HD Radio showed off how small their chipset could get in a compact (albeit, ugly) proof of concept, even in a cellphone. This year, it's no proof of concept, and it fits in an even smaller package.

What you're seeing below is the KRI Armband Portable HD Radio Receiver. It's being touted by iBiquity as a portable HD Radio, with MP3 player capabilities.

Features are pretty simple, it's an HD Radio with a MicroSD slot. Plug in your headphones and you're awash in HD Radio bliss. Apparently the device has "store and replay" functionality as well (where's the RIAA on this?), but I couldn't get further details on how that works.


HD Radio portable MP3 player

HD Radio portable MP3 player


The device itself isn't what's impressive - I don't see too many people scrambling to buy an armband HD Radio when the iPod/iPhone is out there. Additionally, HD Radio doesn't really offer any "unique" content like Satellite Radio, so there goes another selling point.

But what this does show is the evolution of the technology. With the reduction of the chip size, comes a reduction in costs. With the reduction of production costs, comes an increase in distribution. More and more aftermarket manufacturers are including HD Radio in their units, and this is yet another step forward for them.

The question is, will anyone listen to HD Radio?



20 Comments

"HD Radio: Portable vs. Reliable"

"Lawson Digest reported that iBiquity will be releasing this Spring new HD Radio chipsets that will require less power. Not sure if they are referring to the 200 mW chipsets recently shown by iBiquity and Samsung at CES... Mobile phones (the holy grail of mobile platforms) are already power hogs. The current cellular chipsets for the iPhone use almost 300 mW...and this BEFORE Apple implements 3G chipsets (or even Silverthorne). Incorporating an HD Radio chipset that uses almost 200 mW does not seem feasible right now... With the Samsung solution, chipset size shrinks from a cellphone-size module to one that is about 25mm by 30mm (roughly 1 inch by 1.2 inches) and a few millimeters deep."

http://tinyurl.com/5h5qh9

Take a look at the size of the power cord - supposedly, it runs with a minimum of 200mw. It still sucks way too much power and the chipset is still too large.

In this case, you can judge the book by the cover. The cover is ugly and HD radio is ugly (to the ears).

With this new development, expect some bozos in Congress to push even harder to get HD chips in sat radios. Of course, we all know how silly it is, but they are our elected officials.

The real question is can a portable HD radio pick up as well as it's home/car brothers. I saw no ext antenna. So I say no.

There's still no consumer demand for it and if it performs like the current larger HD radios it doesn't matter how small or how much power it uses - consumers will still ignore it. Why? because it's junk technology.

I'm convinced that the only way HD radio will ever work is if the public is forced to switch to HD radios. The broadcasters should stop broadcasting in analog and switch everything to digital. Otherwise, no one is ever going to buy this technology. They have no reason to, there is just much better content available from other sources.

Better sounding AM/FM. Is that what we are talking about here? I have an idea that will make it sound better; take a pillow and hold it over ANYTHING that is transmitting terrestrial radio - muffle that shit as much as possible. That is the only way to change AM/FM radio for the better!

I hear the reception is fnatastic and it does sound good

Stay far away from HD Radio. It is horrible. Sound quality is far worse than XM and Sirius, the monthly subscription rates are insane, and it is not backward-compatible with regular FM and AM.

I don't care if it fits on the head of a pin... It is Digital Shit radio.

"What is MSN Direct"

"Connected Navigation Made Simpleā€¦Get up-to-date traffic, current gas prices, weather, news, stocks, local events, movie information, and Send to GPS all sent wirelessly to your navigation device."

http://www.msndirect.com

"Microsoft sticks with analog"

"The company's MSN Direct was developing a new traffic and local information service using HD Radio signals. But after two years of investigating how HD Radio could be tapped, Microsoft decides to stick with its current analog system instead of converting to an HD Radio data service."

http://tinyurl.com/8unwdu

On a side-note, did anyone notice that Microsoft MSN Direct Traffic Services just dumped HD Radio! iBiquity can keep "playing" all they want, but it won't matter. Mandate HD Radio and consumers still will not buy the radios. I wish they would switch to digital-mode, now, then we can be done with terrestrial radio, as a whole!

In 2003 I sat in a radio class at Brown College in Mendota Heights, Minnesota and they told me about the "future" of radio...HD. I told them that it would never work.

But the instructor said "It's the *future* of radio. The government's going to require it." And I said, "Maybe so...but it will never work."

They can make the chipsets as small as they want, but a bad idea is a bad idea. If you live in a big city, HD radio is possible...but it's useless if you live anywhere else. And even the biggest of cities only have 3 or 4 stations. Nobody is buying those HD radios, and they're never going to unless they don't have a choice because every radio station in the country is required by law to convert to HD. And at that point, why wouldn't the consumer just get a satellite radio?

So it's not only never going to work...it's never EVER going to work.

@Greg: MSN Direct is going to be shut out of major markets as they switch to HD Radio. The MSN Direct signal is on an analog subcarrier and the first thing these radio stations will do is to nix the analog subcarriers to get more bandwidth for the HD signal.

@Greg: MSN Direct is going to be shut out of major markets as they switch to HD Radio. The MSN Direct signal is on an analog subcarrier and the first thing these radio stations will do is to nix the analog subcarriers to get more bandwidth for the HD signal.

Oh, look dad! It's AM stereo revisited. No body cared then and.. now that there are fewer people listing to the radio than ever before..even fewer will care now.

Not sure where you got that info, Ron.

HD sound quality is actually better than satellite as it uses a superior codec and more bandwidth.

Also, there are NO monthly subscription rates.

Finally, every HD radio made gets regular analog FM.

People need to understand before they offer dumb info. NO SERVICE FEES
AM stations can now be heard in STEREO, without static. Most stations are able to broadcast several program "Sub channels" of content. People will start using it quick enough. if you can receive more content for free for the same or close to the same price I (yes more $ at first) but the hardware will replace standard radio hardware (which is not very cell phone friendly as is)

I personally think that this device will go over well since HD radio technology will greatly enhance FM stereo.

Just like cable greatly influenced the way that we watch television, I personally think that HD radio will do exactly the same for audio. For starters, you can have more stations on the dial with HD radio, whereas with traditional FM, you're stuck with the same set of stations that any city, or town can offer.

Not only that, but not everyone can afford a subscription every month for satelite radio, so HD radio will be a great alternative.

I personally think that the Kri HD radio is the perfect solution for people who love listening to FM radio. I know I for a very long time was searching for the perfect FM portable radio, and now it looks like it has arrived!

It is time that radio got into the digital age. With the development of the Internet and Internet broadcasting, traditional radio has started to fall by the wayside.

HD radio will revive it again with even more flare and more channels in which to choose from. Already some stations are broadcasting multiple streams of audio data. For example, just because a station traditionally is country, doesn't mean that it will now only broadcast country music. It may broadcast news, and other music formats on their alternate frequency.

Just as cable television has revolutionized the way that we watch TV, so will HD radio when it comes to listening to FM broadcasts.

I think that the Kri radio will indeed sell well, and as far as where it is going to be sold, my best guess is probably Best Buy, since Circuit City is no more.

At under $50, you can't beat this technology. That puts this device in reach of most people, which also means that HD radio will definitely be expanding as more and more HD devices come onto the market such as the Kri HD portable armband radio.

As far as the recording capabilities of the device, who knows what that will be like. As far as the recording industry goes, well they can't stop the spread of MP3, so why should they start now?

People have recorded from the radio for as long as I can remember. I did it with tape cassettes on a boombox that had dubbing capabilities built-in. So where was the recording industry then when we were recording from tapes?

As far as digital rights management, well; that's a pure joke because anyone with half a brain knows how to get around that little problem. However, that's not what this is about. It is about HD radio.

Remember when FM radio first came onto the scene, and how great that was? Well you can think of FM radio going through a revival because that's what this actually is.

Think about it for a minute, what good is it to play CDs over the air when you can hear the hiss of the FM, and all those pops due to interfearance? We might as well be listening to records and tapes all over again, if we're going to be stuck with hissing noises and pops while listening to CDs, or MP3s over the air waves.

Shouldn't we be listening to this with CD quality sound? Well that's what HD radio will provide. It will provide that CD sound that we expect to hear from CDs being played from a radio station, and from MP3 files too.

So when the Kri portable HD radio comes out in that big box store, rush out and buy one! You won't regret it at all.

I have been waiting for a device like this for a few years now. HD radio is not new, it is certainly older than HDTV, but for some reason manufacturers would have us believe it is easier to make an HDTV Receiver than an HD Radio Receiver. If the government wouldn't have push HDTV nationwide we would still be using analog TV and our only option for HD content would be to pay monthly a subscription for Digital Cable.

What we have here my friends is industry purposely not creating the best technology available simply because it makes them less money. Manufacturers are business partners with service providers and they usually own each other stock. No brainer there right if your partner does well, you are doing well also so why not compound the earnings.

For example take Satellite Radio. Say you are a service provider wouldn't it make sense to partner with some manufacturers so that they can take care of the hardware. As a manufacturer when you sell a Satellite Radio receiver you make money from the sale, but also your partner will make money from the monthly subscriptions. On it's own that would be a profitable business partnership. However, knowing this why not invest on your partner, that will make you even more money.

Now if you are a manufacturer with that kind of partnership, why in hell would you want to create a device like an HD Radio Receiver? A device that competes with your gift that keeps on giving. A device that will only earn you it's sale price. Worst of all, if it picks up, your partner will lose precious monthly subscribers which in turn will make you lose money. No, if you are a manufacturer you want HD Radio dead, and you will use all your power and influence to keep it in the dark. Why do you think no major manufacturer here in the US is creating portable HD Radio receivers? Well it is not because they cant, it is because they wont. Even multinational foreign manufacturers which by the way have been selling HD Radio receivers for years now, are not allow to sell here in the US.

I am hoping more and more devices like this start making their way in the market as long as no partnerships are betrayed we may eventually start seeing brand name HD Radio Receivers.

Ron says the monthly subscription rates are insane...
The thing is..there ARE no monthly subscription rates for HDRadio. That's the benefit of it..better sounding AM/FM without costing per month. My car has Sirius and I had a 3 month trial period on it..it sounded like crap..worse than FM. Why? They broadcast .mp3 files..so while they have "more" it sounds worse. And I couldn't justify paying for something I never used since it sounded so horrible. FM broadcasts lossless audio..so the only thing killing the sound quality is the static and whatnot. This is what HDRadio cuts down on.
I want a HDRadio receiver in my car..oh so badly. And a portable HDRadio would just be awesome. :o