Question of the Day and HD Radio Giveaway


ZNF reader Larry C recently inquired about the HD Radio reception from Best Buy’s Insignia NS-HD01 portable ($50):

what is the range of reception – hopefully good clear sound within 50-75 mile radius

And I’d glad he brought this up. Because only after writing my mostly positive review did I learn how bad the HD Radio reception is. It appeared that I had excellent coverage at our old place (DC metro, suburban Maryland), yet I have zero coverage at our new place (suburban Virginia). More importantly, I have no HD Radio reception at my gym. Regarding Larry’s specific question, I’m not sure what my actual distance to the transmitters is. But I assume I’m well below even the bottom of his range (50 miles), probably by half. Furthermore, to address a follow-up thought he had, my gym has no large buildings or similar obstructions in the immediate vicinity. So I’m left to conclude this radio just isn’t very good at tuning programming. Coupled with horrible earbuds and a requirement to charge the unit via USB, I can’t recommend an Insignia HD Radio purchase. Even at a low $50.

However, the NS-HD01 might be worth trying out if you could get one for free… Perhaps there’s a firmware update somewhere out there or maybe you can hotwire an external antenna to improve reception. Better yet, maybe you live next door to a transmission tower. Regardless, if you’d like a shot at my HD Radio, simply leave a comment below. (US residents in the lower 48 only, please.) We’ll choose the winner at random in a few days.

66 thoughts on “Question of the Day and HD Radio Giveaway”

  1. If you want to try wide open spaces, I’m in Indiana – but close to Indianapolis. I will give it a go and report back.

  2. I’d love to try it out. I keep wanting to get an HD Radio for work, but this place is a random collection of signal highs and lows.

    Pick me!

  3. Dave,
    Great offer. I’d love to try it here in Pittsburgh, PA. I have thought of picking up an HD unit a few times but free would be great :)


  4. I’m interested in checking out the alternate HD stations (-2, -3, etc.) in my area but have not been interested enough to spend money to do so. Count me in. Thanks!

  5. I’m actually not entering the contest, but wanted to comment on the range. I’m around 25 miles from the local Philadelphia radio towers, but I’m up high and likely have good “line of sight.” With the ZuneHD, I can usually pull in an HD Radio signal, but it occasionally cuts out. I’d say, I’m on the fringe in optimal conditions, FWIW.

  6. HD radio signal will be up to 10 times stronger come Spring 2010 as the FCC has just approved stations to increase the power at least 4 times stronger and 10 times stronger in most cases. This will mean HD radio coverage will outperform analog coverage especially in HD car radio. Imagine crystal clear stereo reception at double the distance of analog FM stereo. All the swishing and mono blending will be a thing of the past. I would request that you reveiw this radio again next year when many stations will have increase their digital power by up to 10 times.

  7. I’d be happy to try it out (outside of Philadelphia, PA). If it doesn’t work for me, I’ll let you know and I’ll send it to someone else on your list.

  8. The reason that you get such bad reception out in the suburbs is because HD Radio only operates at 1% of the analog transmitters power. So for instance WAMU would only be operating the HD Radio part of the broadcast at 500 watts versus 50,000 analog. The FCC did recently approve a voluntary power increase to 10% so it should help HD Radio reach most of the suburban areas.

  9. Free, that’s for me. As crass as it sounds I want to try HD radio but don’t won’t to spend $ to be disappointed.

  10. We have a couple of stations in our market that are broadcasting some really good material on their X.2 channels. I’d love to have this in the car so I can get them!

  11. The radio works fine! I have one. I live in metro NYC-Newark area. The HD stands for high audio definition as well as hybrid digital. I dont know why Ibiquity is afraid to say so, but then again these people have made the stupidest weirdest commercials for hd radio. Commercials featuring bimbo strung out female voices about “self replicating amebas and sea creatures and hd stations giving birth to little digital lives…enjoy?” What the hell is that? You come away remembering the weird storyline but not what hd is about! NOW in 2010 they are finally releasing serious informational hd radio commercials. Anyway the signal power boost has been approved. However NOW we have to wait for publication in federal register, which can take as long as september! then by, law,30 days must pass AFTER publication to take effect. By then , enough poeple unnaware of the power handicap will blame the radio and spread the damaging negative press, just like we see here in this blog.

  12. I am in NYC and HD stations are always messing up my iPod listening thru the FM adapter so maybe this will work for me

  13. I would love to have one of these. My friend has one and loves it, and has been trying to get me to buy one. A free one would be great!

  14. I love HD Radio

    I have one in my car, one in my house and would love to see if I can pick up Boston 15 miles away!


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