Radio’s next evolution is on a tabletop now…and it’s not HD

Wow.

An RCA “Infinite Radio” (Great name, by the way).


It features regular analog AM/FM, WiFi, and direct access to a custom Web radio aggregation service [i.e., a way to make Internet radio easy] and to Slacker’s personalized Internet radio service.

And you can buy one for as little as $99.

Repeat after me…

HD what?

Now miniaturize this and place its capabilities wherever you go and in whatever gadget you own.

Sold.

Wake up, Radio biz.


[more from Orbitcast]

And, as one of the Orbitcast comments notes, Slacker has already landed on a clock radio – something you don’t even associate with XM or Sirius, let alone HD.

The main reason I rant so much about HD is that its boosters want us to imagine that “choice” and “audio quality” are the two fights we need to win. Neither is true.

First, the choices available from the “Internet radio” option will swamp any variety you can imagine or produce via any other technology. When you train listeners to appreciate choice they will only hunger for more of it. Why settle for the slim pickings of HD when the entire Internet beckons? This unit could include HD, but so what? Can HD beat the Internet? Can HD beat my own custom channel?

Second, audio quality is absolutely irrelevant.

Third – and most important – when listeners ride this radio’s menu, they will choose Slacker for the stations that are unique to them and they will choose Internet radio for the curated radio experiences which are unique to the world.

That leaves regular radio in an interesting position: Listeners will tune in either because its local (although you’ll have to explain what’s local about Justin Timberlake and Jay Z – and, by the way, Internet radio can be local, too) or because they’re in the habit of doing so (habits die slowly), or because there’s one particular talent or show which is that good and which they can hear nowhere else.

Which one of those describes your station?

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