HD Radio – Pros & Cons

The great thing about HD Radio is that there already exists at least 1000 digital broadcasters out there. The digital stream is usually run parallel to the analog (by being bundled) so if a digital signal is not available, your receiver can pick up the analog. The digital transmission, however, gives you much more. It is cd-quality audio, free from interference, and allows for textual data to be included within the signal. And, best of all, it’s free!

This all seems great but there are some things you should know:

Digital radios cost a lot more than analog. Prices should start coming down in a year or two, but the first models may be out of your price range.

HD Radio boasts giving AM stations a quality comparable to FM as it is today. But I haven’t seen any AM stations broadcasting in digital yet.

Digital radio broadcasting, like HDTV, is still very limited. I found an average of a dozen stations in only the larger metropolitan areas. In remote areas there were either few or no broadcasts. Find stations here

If you are a die hard audio person, you will want to buy into HD radio with the option of switching back to analog (current radios allow this transition). There just doesn’t seem to be enough options in channels to switch solely to free digital radio. If you want more digital programming, and are willing to pay for it, go with satellite radio (XM or Sirius) — there is so much programming you may spend all your time just surfing!

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