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HD Radio Recording In the US? 303

unreceivedpacket writes "The public radio stations I listen to have been advertising their conversion to HD Radio format for some time. They advertise multiple channels, their second channel playing all classical, all the time. I am interested in purchasing a receiver so I can listen to this extra content, and was also hoping to find a receiver with a built-in recorder so I could time-shift programs that are not otherwise available as legal pod-casts. My initial queries have returned few models that support any kind of digital recording, and the existing ones seem out of production or sorely lacking features. Is this the state of Digital Radio in the US? Are there any legal recording devices for HD Radio? Any good solutions for recording and time-shifting, perhaps through Linux?"
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HD Radio Recording In the US?

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  • by Erris ( 531066 ) * on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @04:18PM (#24218869) Homepage Journal

    Liberate the specturm [] or you will suffer digital restrictions []. Vista's checking of line voltages to make sure no one has clipped on an analog recording device should tell you where all of this is going. The RIAA has been screaming about "radio pirates" for 50 years. Digital broadcast gives them a way to close the "analog hole" they so dread. If the makers colude with broadcasters, only "authorized" players will have keys to decode "HD" signals. If the specturm is liberated, everything will be high quality because no one but big publishers wants to degrade music.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward


      Take off that shiny hat for a second.

      Vista monitors the voltage on the audio out? Vista doesn't know if you plugged in speakers vs. a recording device.

      And how does MS know the exact resistance of EVERY audio card, cable, connector, amplifier, or headset?

    • by nxtw ( 866177 )

      Vista's checking of line voltages to make sure no one has clipped on an analog recording device should tell you where all of this is going.

      I was unaware that my hardware had the ability to report this information to the operating system. Exactly how does this feature work? At what voltage can Vista be sure that a recording device has been attached? What if my VGA cable is connected to a distribution amplifier? What if my DVI signal is connected to a fiber optic extender? What if I'm using optical audio

    • You piss me off. You give a lot of hype like 'free [insert topic here] or the world will end as we know it.' How about some ideas? I read through your theory links and theres no real substance. Here, I'll help you out with some ideas:

      - Go old tech - CB radio. Cheap, no license required, if you keep copy written material off the air your pretty much legal, and it gets decent coverage. With SSB you get decent sound.
      - Make a digital mesh network. This is something I've been working on but haven't had the

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Penguinisto ( 415985 )

      Vista's checking of line voltages to make sure no one has clipped on an analog recording device should tell you where all of this is going.

      Bullshit. Here's why:

      Anyone with even a yard-sale-quality stereo amplifier could defeat any such thing - the voltage (and amperage, resistance/impedance, wattage, etc) from the computer audio line-out to the amp's line-in jack would remain within exactly the same expected range during runtime, no matter how much recording equipment you daisy-chained onto the amp's AUX-out line.

      IOW: Once it goes analog, it's all mine... and unless someone, somewhere dreams up a "digital" speaker rig-up that could stand a hop

    • How in the hell (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Snaller ( 147050 )

      Can Vista "check the line voltage" ?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @04:24PM (#24218951)

    Satellite Radio is a much better choice for this than the joke that is HD Radio.

    The Sirius Stiletto 2 is a great little radio, with full time-shifting capabilities.

    • Except, you know, HD Radio is free to recieve, as opposed to having a monthly fee. If you listen to enough radio to justify the monthly cost, more power to you. I suspect subby, like myself, doesn't.
    • by eln ( 21727 )

      HD Radio is free (after purchase of receiver), satellite radio requires a monthly fee (after purchase of receiver). Why would I want satellite radio if I can get the stations I want to hear on HD?

      Personally, I was fine with just over the air radio until I heard that the local public radio station would be adding a new HD radio station with nothing but news and other NPR content (as opposed to the hybrid 20% news/80% music station they have now). Now, I'm seriously considering HD radio. Still not interest

    • Satellite Radio is a much better choice for this than the joke that is HD Radio.

      Satellite radio is a good choice for people who don't mind paying to listen to radio. HD Radio, on the other hand, is broadcast over traditional Radio spectrum and is thus just as free to listen to as traditional analog radio.

      You can call it a joke if you want, but some of us prefer to call it free.

    • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @04:55PM (#24219507) Homepage Journal
      The downside is of course that while Satellite radio works everywhere, HD radio only works if you're within 50 feet of the transmitter. I live in an area theoretically covered in HD channels, but actually pulling any of them in reliably requires a substantial antenna and a very good tuner.

      I really think the FCC screwed the pooch by giving Ibiquity a monopoly on HD radio with their halfassed system. Now you can pay a licensing fee to build the receiver for a service that barely works at all. I was originally excited about HD radio too because I thought it would be like Digital TV, where you can distribute a crystal clear picture out to where the channel would normally get a bit fuzzy and deal more elegantly with having channels directly adjacent to yours (a big problem around here, where sometimes stations will have stations on either side of the dial and most radio receivers will end up mixing your signal with the adjacent ones randomly when you're driving down the road). Instead we have a system where you practically never get an HD lock.
  • by kriston ( 7886 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @04:26PM (#24218993) Homepage Journal

    Please visit for an adapter and controller for the Visteon HD Radio car unit and the one from Directed Electronics.
    It can be used with a number of satellite radio recorders like SatAmp to record broadcasts and timeshift. It also comes with a demo and development kit if you like that sort of thing. []

    I have his XM and Sirius adapters. They all work on the same principle by talking to a vehicle OEM tuner via the RS-232 port that they all have.

  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @04:26PM (#24218999) Journal
    If you know of a solution, don't write it in this discussion!

    Please be aware that not everyone who browses slashdot has our best interests at heart. Any commercial method to circumvent DRM will be jumped upon by our broadcast content overlords. Any non-commercial method will be legislated out of existence... the longer the media cartels remain in the dark, the longer we have to enjoy our right to timeshift content.

    Like usenet... the first rule of usenet is that you don't talk about usenet.

    Sorry for the pessimism and tinfoilhattery, but this entire ask slashdot question just screams "honeypot" to me, even if that wasn't its intent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Like usenet... the first rule of usenet is that you don't talk about usenet.

      No, that's Fight Club. The reason no one talks about usenet is the same reason why nobody actively talks about 4chan. It's so base that it's not worth tarnishing your reputation to mention it.

    • by Free the Cowards ( 1280296 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @04:47PM (#24219365)

      You know that whole business of "information wants to be free", not being able to hide information that anyone can obtain freely, etc.? Well it cuts both ways. Just as they can't protect their content, you can't protect your methods for getting their content. So don't bother trying.

      • Just as they can't protect their content, you can't protect your methods for getting their content.

        Did you ever read a sentence that sounds like it's saying something and after reading it about 10 times you realize that it's complete nonsense?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Could you please elaborate on what the problem is?

          They can't protect their content. This is the basic fallacy of DRM which we discuss on this site all the time.

          We can't protect our methods. If they are known on the internet then they can be discovered by the content providers. It matters not a whit whether we discuss it on this site or not, they will still find out.

          The ultimate reason for both of these is the same: information cannot be protected unless all parties who can access it are absolutely trustwort

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by f2x ( 1168695 ) *
      That is pretty pessimistic, but what else can people do about this? Moles have been around longer than the internet. While it may be easier for them to disguise themselves, it doesn't make them any smarter.

      I remember back when all you needed was a radio with a cassette player and you could have all the free mix tapes you wanted. Even then they wanted to tax blank tapes because of all the "rampant copying". Yeah... They really had to worry about the collapse of their business model from the Chromium(IV) O
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fm6 ( 162816 )

      If you know of a solution, don't write it in this discussion!

      Sigh. The idea that you can hide your anti-DRM activity from OBCOs is absurd. Their minions, both software and carbon-based, have infiltrated every web site, every mailing list, every chat channel. It's just not that hard.

      Rather than trying to hide from the OBCOs, people with disapproved knowledge should share their knowledge with as many people as possible. When information exists on a few furtive web sites, it can easily be suppressed. When it's on thousands of web sites, there's no getting rid of it.


    • So saying take apart your radio speakers and a microphone connect the Red Radio Speaker Wire with the Red Microphone Speaker wire and do the same with the black ones. And plug the microphone into your computer open Microsoft Recording tools and his record when you turn the radio on is against the law. Perhaps I it would be more legal if I advise the person to be grounded first.

    • if you send the signal out, over the air, or over the wire, it can be intercepted, decrypted, and recorded

      its your hired hacks versus legions of technically astute, music hungry, and most importantly, POOR teenagers

      go ahead media distributors, make your play

      you lose before you start, because you simply don't understand the subject matter: what you can and can't control

      you can't control this anymore. the means of distribution has passed into the hands of everyone. your economy of scarcity is now an economy o

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) *

      Like usenet... the first rule of usenet is that you don't talk about usenet.

      Too late. As of Monday, AT&T broadband has deleted a large group of alt newsgroups, especially the alt.binaries tree. There were a group of us in alt.binaries.midi that used to swap our midi compositions and arrangements, including the brilliant James Pitt-Payne, who singlehandedly has been keeping the turn of the 20th century popular piano music alive through this newsgroup. If it hadn't been for his (and others') exception

  • not a problem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by neersign ( 956437 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @04:29PM (#24219047)
    say you have a hand-held "walkman" style player, you could just buy a 1/8" stereo to 1/8" stereo cable [] and plug it right in to the Input on your sound card, then use your favorite recording software to record and export as your favorite audio file type (mp3, ogg, etc.). If your tuner is a home stereo type, then you could buy a RCA to 1/8" adapter [] to connect to your computer. There are several different styles of adapters out there and they all do the same thing, so there is no need for the "Adapter for iPod" special cables that come with a special price, unless it makes you feel better paying more for the same thing.
  • by robkill ( 259732 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @04:30PM (#24219067)

    Cambridge Soundworks makes a model [] with optical digital outputs. No clue if there are any restrictions on them, though. On a higher end, Yamaha makes several AV receivers that handle HD as well. Again I have no knowledge whether or not the digital outputs are crippled in any way.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kriston ( 7886 )

      Even with digital output you won't be keeping those HD Radio broadcasts for music listening purposes.
      I have XM and Sirius with optical outputs and the sound being broadcast by them has fairly poor fidelity. If you're used to that, then you probably won't notice, but comparing any of the broadcasted digital formats (even internet radio) to anything you can download from iTunes is going to disappoint you.

      HD Radio compares favorably to XM Satellite Radio since they use very similar audio codecs, but even then

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by SaDan ( 81097 )

        XM and Sirius have significantly less bandwidth to use per channel compared to digital radio. The sound quality of digital radio is much better as a result.

        I wouldn't mind recording digital radio, because it sounds as good as or better than a lot of MP3s you find on the 'net.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by kriston ( 7886 )

          That's right.
          XM's music channels range from 96 kbit/sec to 32 kbit/sec.
          HD Radio in hybrid mode offers a maximum of 150 kbit/sec, not including the subchannels and like I stated, the multicasting stations that use multiple subchannels will suffer in quality until full-digital (non-hybrid HD Radio) occurs which is not forseen until the very distant future.

          Personally I don't like low-bitrate MP3. The new AOL Radio service uses files now instead of streaming and those files are 128 kbit/sec MP3 files which are

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lupine ( 100665 ) *
      I have a sangean HDT-1X [] with optical output. I use it to listen to our local community radio station which is in HD and has some awesome techno programs and no commercials.
      I havent gotten around to automating it yet... griffin is supposed to come out with some a radioshark HD model which would make timeshifting and recording to a pc easy, but they are not shipping anything yet. Maybe by xmas time.
  • by Ynsats ( 922697 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @04:36PM (#24219175)

    ...if an add-on tuner has a universal output to connect to standard stereo or even multi-channel amplifier then there is an output capable of being recorded from. If it is that much of a problem to hook a pre-amp up and pipe the channel to say a Tape2 output and dub signal to a recording device of some sort then maybe the OP should be looking for another way to grab the coveted radio programming.

    If there are line voltage sensors that let the Vista software know that an external recording source has been hooked up, a fairly simple work around is a equalizer. You can find many on the used market from companies like BSR, Soundcraftsman and even AudioSource. They will all take a line level input and most of the models available from them will have dubbing modes that split the signal internally and won't present a line voltage change to the output of the computer system.

    This is not a difficult issue to overcome from my point of view but like I said, maybe I am missing something. I'm not that up on HD Radio technology but if it's like the HD Television signals at home, I can record those in a similar fashion. Of course the media is different because of the required bandwidth but once the signal passes through the encrypted circuits and is interpreted, there aren't many stops in place that one can't get around with some creative positioning of hardware.

  • Amazon (Score:5, Informative)

    by krgallagher ( 743575 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @04:40PM (#24219237) Homepage
    A simple Amazon search [] turned up quite a few models. Some have optical out. One has an iPod dock.
    • Re:Amazon (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ichoran ( 106539 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @04:53PM (#24219477)

      The one with an iPod dock only tells the iPod the title of songs so you can buy them later.

      Not too useful if you want to time-shift something that isn't a song. And since you could just go buy the song in the first place and have it at any time you wanted it without even waiting for the radio to play it, if you're interested in time-shifting it's probably not for songs.

  • Any decent piece of audio/video gear should have an SPDIF digital output. Does anyone know of a way to losslessly record this digital output? That should provide a way to timeshift any audio regardless of the source.

  • HD streaming radio (Score:4, Informative)

    by paroneayea ( 642895 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @04:54PM (#24219479) Homepage

    Really, I just listen to HD streaming radio these days. Specifically, WCPE [] (classical music) and NPR Boston [] both publish in OGG Vorbis, which is great.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fm6 ( 162816 )

      You mean digital streaming radio. It's silly to call WCPE's 20 bps stream "HD".

      My own favorite source of streams is the Aussie ABC network [] (90 bps!). Their "classical" channel is particularly refreshing because they define the term very broadly. Also a lot of good podcasts [].

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LostCluster ( 625375 ) *
        What these streams are is the "HD2" channel's content being streamed at whatever bandwidth they can afford to give it. Nearly every station that has an "HD2" has an Internet stream of it.
  • You do realize that the HD in HD Radio doesn't stand for high definition, right? (I think it means hybrid digital, but according to wikipedia, it doesn't mean anything.)

  • new tech (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eil ( 82413 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:06PM (#24219669) Homepage Journal

    First of all, HD radio is a new technology and one that isn't being very actively marketed. I have a feeling that the main reason for this is that most people are just fine with the audio quality of normal radio. Also, the medium of radio has been destroyed over the last few decades so now 99% of the people who listen to radio these days just have it on as background music in their cards or at work. You don't need high definition and a fancy receiver for that kind of use. People who want actual content coming through their speakers subscribe to satellite radio although I hear the (content) quality of that is starting to go downhill too.

    Probably the best solution for the sumitter for now is simply to buy a regular receiver and plug it into the sound card of a PC. Use an IR blaster for changing the channel, turning the receiver on and off, etc.

    Many Linux-compatible TV tuners come with FM tuners built-in, I suspect it's only a matter of time until they start putting HD radio tuners on those too.

    • by Eil ( 82413 )

      Edit: I temporarily forgot that "HD Radio" doesn't mean "high definition".

    • Re:new tech (Score:4, Informative)

      by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:36PM (#24220125)

      Many Linux-compatible TV tuners come with FM tuners built-in, I suspect it's only a matter of time until they start putting HD radio tuners on those too.

      Too late!!! ASI8914 [] - Quad HD Raido Tuner (with linux drivers).

    • Many Linux-compatible TV tuners come with FM tuners built-in, I suspect it's only a matter of time until they start putting HD radio tuners on those too.

      As a side note, Windows Vista Media Center supports FM tuners built-in to TV tuner cards. But it provides no means of time-shifting radio, even though it can do so for TV (and that is arguably its primary purpose). I have often wondered why this is so. What is the benefit of listening to radio on your computer if all the same rules apply as when you're listening to it on any other device? Doesn't it just become sort of a pain in the ass?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FooAtWFU ( 699187 )

      First of all, HD radio is a new technology and one that isn't being very actively marketed.

      You obviously don't listen to a radio station that's paid for the HD Radio technology. KDFC advertises HD radios a lot. (Then again KDFC also has too much gab and not enough music, and it's all very "pop" classical and not so much serious works of more than a minute or three, and... general lame :P i've switched mostly to the jazz station in the mornings)

  • Maybe ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by vtcodger ( 957785 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:09PM (#24219719)
    I don't think DRM is an issue. I suspect that the problem you're having is due to HD Radio being a new technology. There is a fairly widely used analog technology called Subsidiary Carrier Audio that is used to transmit background music and similar stuff over FM stations piggybacked on the primary signal. The background music in your local supermarket is probably SCA. Since stations presumably can't do both SCA and HD Radio, the number of stations that can actually deploy HD Radio is limited. Not too many stations means not too much HD Radio equipment. OTOH, maybe HD Radio will catch on. I'm told that HD Radio fidelity is nothing to write home about, so maybe simply feeding your radio's speaker output into the microphone input to your sound card will work until more diverse HD radio equipment becomes available.
  • HD Radio is a Farce! (Score:4, Informative)

    by PocketRadio ( 1327283 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @05:16PM (#24219841)
    HD Radio/IBOC jams on both AM and FM and suffers from dropouts, poor coverage, interference, bland programming, and almost zero consumer interest: []
  • XM Radio recording (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wesglo ( 1302149 )
    I hope this isn't too off topic. I have a Polk Audio XM reciever. It has both S/PDIF and Optical digital out. I just plug into either of the digital outs and record directly to my audio haddisk recorder. Any Mid-Fi device (HD Radio Reciever) shouod have atleast one digital out.
  • If your local radio station really cared about audio quality, they would shoot the program director and rip out their Optimod [] boxes. Most broadcast stations in the USA butcher their audio.
  • These new HD stations are being broadcast right now. I live in fly-over country in Wichita,KS and we have about 10 up and going. So I would think those of you in the Big cities would have many more. They are just a subset of the existing channel. They are just being broadcast on a digital signal. They are FREE and use advert. as current ones do. Just be careful of the new ACTA internaional treaty [] since the Sony's of the world want to shut down the ANALOG plugs
  • What's the issue? The first page of a Google search for "hd radio output jack" lists

    HD Pulse [] with "Stereo Output"

    Sony XDR [] with 3.5mm stereo output jack

    JVC KT-HDP [] with a stereo out

    Just plug the line out to your recording device of choice (digital or otherwise) and go to town.

  • by ScottFree2600 ( 929714 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @09:22PM (#24222431)
    Besides the fact that this system is dying a rapid death, the quality is so poor that you wouldn't want to record it, let alone listen to it. Would you download a mp3 music file with a bitrate of less than 128k? If you make an analog recording that is uncompressed, then at least you won't be further degrading the signal. "Stacked Compression" is a very bad deal sonically.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2008 @01:00AM (#24224111)

    I'm a broadcast radio engineer. i'm a tad biased, so to speak:

    1. A privately held codec has no place on the public spectrum. Any hobbyist should be able to build a receiver without paying a license fee.

    2. from an operational standpoint it's death to AM at night. First adjacent channels (ie 1000khz & 1010khz) HD's will interfere with analog signals via skip: listening to distant AM signals (DX'ing) at night will be a thing of the past, especially as solar activity increases over the next 5 years.

    3. We as broadcasters have failed to provide meaningful content on the main signals, and now we're polluting media channels with bad content and no revenue. We've failed to promote hd in any meaningful way. The only clear winner is not the broadcaster nor the listener, but the ibiquity corporation.

    the actual question?
    i don't believe it does HD, but the radioshark is a analog device which does what you're looking for:

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.