CW News Archive

Pioneer Objects To Proposed HD Requirement For Satellite Receivers


Consumer electronics manufacturer Pioneer North America, which makes the Inno for XM Satellite Radio, has taken strong exception to iBiquity Digital's proposal that HD Radio be required in all satellite radio receivers if XM and Sirius Satellite Radio are allowed to merge.

HD Radio developer iBiquity made the proposal back in December, saying a merged satcaster would be "in a better position to hamper iBiquity's ability to introduce HD Radio technology into the marketplace." In a May 1 letter to the FCC, iBiquity SVP/General Counsel Albert Shuldiner and attorney Robert Mazer of Vinson & Elkins gave more details on the proposed condition, saying HD should be required in all satellite receivers that include analog AM and FM radio, starting within three years of the merger approval for OEM automobile receivers and within one year of approval for other receivers.

In a May 28 ex parte filing with the FCC, Pioneer VP/Government and Industry Affairs Adam Goldberg says, "The iBiquity conditions would limit the breadth of radio product offerings to consumers, limit which radio component suppliers' products be designed into radios, have the effect of decreasing AM/FM tuning performance, unnecessarily increase costs to consumers uninterested in HD Radio, and interfere with the useful and healthy free market mechanisms extant in radio electronics purchases."

The filing continues, "It is our belief that HD Radio should compete in the marketplace with other radio services: if free local digital terrestrial radio services are compelling to consumers, HD Radio technology will succeed in the marketplace. In this case, the free market is the best measure of the public interest."

Like iBiquity, Pioneer is not taking a position on whether the merger should be approved.

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