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How does HD Radio work?

We are living in the high-definition age. HD TV was introduced in North America in the late ‘80s and made mainstream by the mid-to-late ‘90s, but it didn’t become what it is today until the early-to-mid ‘00s. Now it seems like new technologies and advancements are introduced every year.  Including the spreading of “HD” from television into other mediums, like radio. HD Radio is a feature that has become pretty standard in vehicles across the automotive market, but it might not be completely clear what exactly that means, so we thought it would make the perfect subject for this week’s How’s This Work.

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What is HD Radio?

With the introduction of satellite and streaming radio services like Sirius and Pandora respectively, the traditional radio medium isn’t quite as popular as it once was. However, people still love listening to music in their vehicle. So traditional radio has taken steps toward advancing the medium as well, to continue to compete with these other audio services found in automobiles. The biggest step is, of course, HD Radio.

Rather than broadcasting radio via simple analog signals like in the past, HD Radio allows radio stations to broadcast digitally just like HDTV. The digital signal is now transmitted on frequencies both above and below the standard analog signal, allowing for the broadcast to be picked up in traditional analog radio sets and in HD on HD Radio. Being broadcast digitally is also what allows radio stations to attach information to their signal, which then shows up as information on your display audio screen, like artist and song information.

If you’re interested in learning more about HD Radio or finding out which vehicles it’s available in, give us a call!


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