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The NYT puts HD radio to the test


RadioShack Accurian: “The Accurian had excellent reception in the detached home, but suffered somewhat in the apartment test, picking up just six stations.”

Boston Acoustics Receptor: “the Receptor performed worst in the apartment, locking in just four stations. Yet it was as good as all the other receivers in the detached-home test.”

Sangean HDR-1: “The built-in FM antenna worked as well as the less presentable wiring provided by other manufacturers in the detached-house testing. In the apartment test, where reception was already marginal, tuning was far worse. Substituting a T-style FM antenna for the telescoped one offered reception that came close to being the best of the bunch.”

Radiosophy: “Reception was average in the apartment test, but quite poor in the detached home, where it picked up three to four fewer stations than the other four receivers.”

Polk I-Sonic: “The built-in speakers provide below-par sound, producing slightly fuzzy audio whether with analog or digital radio, making it hard to hear the difference between the two formats. On the plus side, the I-Sonic had the best reception of all the units, even receiving and recognizing HD Radio from some stations outside the area.”

Such is the nature of any wireless audio, of course. As our radios, cell phones, and satellite radios constantly remind us.

But an ideal world, we’d be seeing more articles about how great HD is and how fast it’s selling, not articles about whether or not it works in the urban jungle. “Why” is always more important than “what” when you’re trying to ignite a revolution.

And in that ideal world, the praise would be coming from listeners, not from HD proponents with a stake in the matter.

Because happy customers are something that millions of promotional dollars cannot necessarily buy.

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