Monday, April 23, 2007

Another big step for HD Radio adoption

FMQB reports that Best Buy will start selling HD Radio receivers at all 832 stores nationwide. They're also "increasing emphasis on HD Radio in its weekly newspaper ad circulars and in stores."

If Radio Shack's selling of the Boston Acoustics Receptor HD & Accurian HD table radio was the first big step in HD Radio adoption amongst listeners, then this is definitely the next big step. Despite a lot of questionable customer service practices by Best Buy, they are certainly one of the premier electronics retailers. We have a bunch of 'em here in Boston.

Now I just hope that Best Buy actually educates their salespeople to know what HD Radio is. Historically they have not been good about this...often I have gone into Best Buy and asked if/when they'll start carrying "HD Radio" and they'll take me to their Sirius Satellite Radio display. sigh

Still, I'd say that we're rapidly approaching the second big wave of adopters. We've already had the hard-core early adopters who were actively seeking HD Radio receivers through any outlet they could. Now we've got the more moderate early adopters who want HD Radio and have options at common retailers to get them (Radio Shack, Walmart, Best Buy). Probably within another two to three years we'll see HD Radio receivers start becoming "commonplace" enough that the next wave of adopters will hit: the everyday users with disposable income.

This does have significant impact on broadcasters transmitting HD Radio as longer can they assume that there's no (or few) listeners so they can "get away" with poor engineering, operations, or dead air while they figure out what to do with HD Radio. School's almost out, kids! :-)


PocketRadio said...

Have you seen the latest figures for HD Radio sales:

"But is 'availability' of HD radios the problem?"

"They can't find the radios even if they want one. That's one way some folks explain HD radio's sputtering sales... The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. And one broadcaster reported to me that he asked an iBiquity rep how many HD radios had actually been sold as of the most recent accounting. And this was his answer: 150,000."

As reflected, consumers are not interested in HD Radio:

“Sirius, XM, and HD: Consumer interest reality check”

“While interest in satellite radio is diminishing, interest in HD shows no signs of a pulse.”

And, word is getting around that HD Radio is a farce:

“HD Radio on the Offense”

“But after an investigation of HD Radio units, the stations playing HD, and the company that owns the technology; and some interviews with the wonks in DC, it looks like HD Radio is a high-level corporate scam, a huge carny shill.”

Aaron Read said...

Hi Pocket, thanks for commenting! :-)

It's premature to say that HD Radio is "dead" just because the rollout has been slow...especially in comparing it to satellite radio. As I mentioned in some comments about a month ago:

There's also a huge difference between HD Radio and XM/Sirius that few people seem to realize: if HD Radio takes 10 years to gain's not good but it's not the end of the world, either. It has always been designed as an evolutionary transition rather than a hard changeover like Digital TV.

If XM/Sirius don't catch on by the end of THIS YEAR there's a good chance one or both will go bankrupt and disappear.

In other words, there's a lot more pressure on satellite radio to comparing the rollout of satradio to HD Radio's rollout is not a one-for-one comparison.