Video Demonstrating the iBiquity HD Radio Decoder

Over on YouTube user Rob Fissel has uploaded a nice video that demonstrates the iBiquity HD Radio decoder working with an RTL-SDR. HD Radio is a terrestrial digital broadcast signal that is only used in North America. It is easily recognized by the two rectangular blocks on either side of a broadcast FM station signal on a spectrum analyzer/waterfall display.

For a long time it was thought impossible to decode due to the closed and proprietary nature of the signal format. But thanks to Theori who was able to reverse engineer and create an HD Radio decoder it has now become possible to decode this into actual audio that you can listen to. In some areas it is even possible to extract the weather and traffic data encoded into some broadcasts from iHeartRadio.

Rob's YouTube video demonstrates him downloading and setting up the HD Radio decoder, then receiving, decoding and listening to some HD Radio stations in his area.

iBiquity HD Radio - RTL-SDR

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My guess would be fear of legal action for non payment of licensing fees to patent holders of HD Radio, legally it is necessary to pay license fees to iBiquity.


Why are these things not being built into a plugin architecture for SDR software, so that we can just highlight part of the spectrum and then check a decoder box… Or, failing that, just make a new VFO and then check the ‘decode’ checkbox… I dunno. It seems like that would be a far better interface.