Thursday, August 2, 2007

Defending Issa (and other politicians)

Will Wheaton comments on the Issa/HD radio issues I wrote about recently:
I would like to know why complete idiots like Issa, who clearly have such problems understanding technology, are given the responsibility of crafting legislation that affects technology, and those of us who use it.
I met with Jason Scism, Issa's Counsel on issues of copyright and new media, and I must say that Scism is extremely bright and totally up to speed with these technologies and the state of these copyright issues. I'm drafting a letter to Scism now about the HD radio "issue", as he asked me to stay in touch with him on the things we discussed.

What I've learned from the time I've spent in DC is that you have to be smart to get there. But being smart does not mean being "clueful" about all the issues. Congressmen have to deal with so many different issues that frankly it's amazing they don't come off far worse than they do.

I've also learned that in these hearings, you need to listen to not the exact words that are said, but try to figure out what's behind those words. While Issa used HD radio as his example, he would have been better served by talking about digital audio delivery mechanisms in general. Because he does have a point; as more devices come onto the market, the technology may improve to the point that recording from the radio will be as good as buying the CD/digital download.

But the counter-point is that there are already barriers to making copies from radio that would be as good as a CD. And if you want a bad copy, you've been able to do that since the days of tape recorders. Stream-ripping in most cases is a trojan horse.

But why do they keep bringing this up?

Because XM and Sirius sell devices like the Stiletto, SKYFi and Inno which all feature the ability to record and access individual songs.

When XM uses the tagline, "Hear it. Click it. Save it.", then they are obviously touting their devices as a music-purchasing replacement.

Now people think that these type of devices will come out for HD Radio. And they might (although with the current lack of adoption of HD radio, it's hard to imagine that).

So there are legitimate fears, but in the case of terrestrial radio are these fears warranted?

Most terrestrial broadcasters "production values" are such that they put ads or promo announcements over the beginnings and ends of songs. They also tightly segue songs, unlike Satellite radio. And in the specific of HD radio, the "metadata" or PAD as broadcasters call it is not sent frequently enough to reliably separate songs. Having a copy of the song with the first 5 seconds cut off, or talking over the last 10 seconds of it is not the same as having the real song.

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Blogger PocketRadio said...

Besides lackluster sales, with the new broadcaster royalties coming looks like HD Radio is DOA:

August 2, 2007 5:58 PM  

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