I visited a Best Buy the other day, and while I was there I stopped in the auto sound department. The sales person immediately greeted me and asked if I needed help. I said, “HD Radio. Tell me about it.”
He said, “Well, it’s HD. It sounds better.”
I said, “What else can you tell me?”
He replied, “What else do you want to know?”
I decided to end the game and play my hand, telling him that I worked in broadcasting and that I know a great deal about HD Radio, but I wanted to see what he knew and what he had available.
He took me to the display wall and showed me the one unit that had HD Radio built in. It was a model from JVC. He said that others were HD Radio ready, but they all required an “expensive interface” to add HD Radio.
Gee, where’s my incentive to buy one of those?
The JVC was priced around $130, which is reasonable for a decent car radio.
As usual, satellite radio had plenty of presence. An aisle-end display was loaded with info, flashy signs and four receiver styles. Several radios on the wall display had obvious Sirius or XM signs.
I saw nothing about HD Radio.
As I talked to the sales person, I mentioned that HD Radio lacked any presence. He agreed. I said that there appeared to be no incentive for anyone to buy an HD Radio receiver, let alone ask for it. He also agreed. When I said that HD Radio should be in every model and not a conscious decision on the part of the consumer, he also agreed.
It’s nice that he agreed with me, but that doesn’t really help move HD Radio forward.