Some new information on old subjects
The Ford Motor company announced late last month that they will be the first major auto manufacturer to offer HD Radios in the 2008 models of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. This should be a real shot in the arm for the advancement of HD radio. While there are more than 1500 AM and FM radio stations in the United States broadcasting HD Radio, the number of radios able to receive the signals remains very small. HD Radio, unlike satellite radio (Sirius® and XM Radio® ), is broadcast from towers and serves much smaller local coverage areas. The difference from standard AM/FM broadcasts comes in the clarity of the sound and the capacity to have more than one program simulcast over the same channel. For example, WGUC 90.9 is a classical music station. If you have a HD Radio you can get both classical programming and a jazz service with the flip of a switch.
In August I mentioned that before February 2009 you would be able to buy DTV adapters for your analog TV sets making them able to receive digital programming after the analog transmissions cease. The federal government has authorized the first company to manufacture and sell these adapters. Digital Stream Technology got approval last month. The adapters will retail at about $70 each. Plans call for the federal government to provide each US household up to 2 - $40 coupons good toward the purchase of the adapters. Look for them in stores in mid 2008.
Last May I wrote about the money you can save installing compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home as replacements for the energy hogging incandescent bulbs. Duke Energy sent coupons to customers making the purchase of the new bulbs a real bargain. Not only will you save on the purchase of the new lights but the dollar savings over the year can be as much as 75%. Even without the coupons, switching out the old incandescents will save you money. The only places you may wish to use traditional bulbs are in areas that get high traffic with lights being turned on and off often. Rooms like bathrooms or hallways with the constant on and off cycles will reduce the life of compact fluorescent bulbs.
Are you planning to buy a new HD television? According to a recent survey of about 3500 Road Runner™ subscribers in the Cincinnati area by Time Warner Cable, about ½ of respondents said they either already had an HD set or planned to buy one shortly. With the prices dropping and more programming available in HD, look for the sales of HD sets to really take off during the holidays and peak right before the Super Bowl.