What Is the Difference Between HD Radio & Hi-Fi Radio?
Although HD and high fidelity radio have been used interchangeably throughout the years, the two terms are actually used to define very two different concepts. Whereas one is an actual audio system, the latter is the ability of a certain system to reproduce audio sounds effectively.
HD radio is actually a system that allows for AM and FM radio to be broadcast digitally. Unlike the traditional analog broadcast radio, HD combines analog and digital signal through the receiver resulting in no distortion or dropoff reception. Unlike the HD radio system, hi fidelity radio is simply the ability of an electronic device to reproduce sounds with minimal static and distortion, according to Free Definition.
More than 50 years ago, FM radio began broadcasting through analog signal, but at the beginning of 2000 decade, management from AM/FM radio knew they had to upgrade their product with the arrival of satellite radio. Satellite radio would offer consumers all the advantages that AM/FM radio had yet to offer. Approved in 2002 by the FCC, HD radio is the only system that allows for FM, AM and digital broadcasting in the United States. Similarly, the production of the Williamson amplifier in the late 1940s introduced high fidelity radio, which had a lower tendency for distortion.
Since typical radio signals bounce off other objects and cause distortion on the receiving end, HD radio is manufactured to sort through these reflected signals that cause static. HD radio also enables data to be divided, allowing radio stations to have more than one channel, meaning additional channels available for HD listeners. Also, since HD radio is transmitted alongside analog broadcast signal, it is free for listeners and requires no subscription fees. The technology also enables song titles, artists and CD information to be sent through radio frequency.
Even if radio stations announce that they are now transmitting digital signals, you will not be able to receive the high-quality sounds unless you upgrade to a digital tuner. Tuning for HD stations can also be relatively slow. Unlike analog broadcast where stations produce static when the signal gets weak, you will lose the signal altogether in HD radio.However, the concept of HD and high fidelity radio is still difficult to differentiate for most listeners, and the actual numbers of people actually listening to HD radio is still relatively low.
As more receivers are produced to receive digital broadcast, broadcasters will transition into offering only digital sounds, also known as “all-digital mode.” However, unlike television, there is not a time line to purchase HD radio receivers since the transition is much more efficient and smooth than the one required for HD television.