In a nutshell, I am very much anti-AM HD, okay with FM HD for the most part and mad that the FCC doesn't take HD interference complaints on both bands more seriously.
Zach, I'm glad you see the problems with AM HD, but I'd like to know why you're OK with FM HD which is every bit as much a disaster. It's bad enough now, but if ever the stations between the large market stations (which are usually 4 channels apart) turn on HD and/or stations start increasing HD power to -14 dBc or -10 dBc in great numbers -- watch out!!! It's a lot like paying the RIAA streaming royalties; you have to look at the end game.
Well, from a consumer standpoint, I haven't really heard the problems that some people on here say are a deal killer. BUT — and this is a big caveat — I live in the south where urban areas are far apart and generally have a slew of well-spaced class C's.
I've never been up in the regions where stations are close spaced, like between DC and Ballermore or Chicago and Milwaukee to listen to the effects of FM HD.
But down here, none of the bad things that were said to happen have really happened, that I can tell. There's only two HD stations really close enough at my home, both part of our state-wide public radio network. I'm 37 miles from one 100 kW stick and 50 miles from the second. Unless this computer monitor is on, I get the first with little effort and the second with a little fiddling about. (Note: with this computer monitor on, ALL analog signals are severely compromised anywhere in the area, so the lack of HD is not a unique issue here.)
But the greater worry of the anti-HD crowd is first adjacents. The fact is I am losing no signals because, despite the great distance between me and the stations, there are no viable first adjacents to either signal to begin with. And during this summer's good DX season, the HD sidebands did not preclude me from logging more stations on those frequencies, even though the radio was still decoding the HD signals.
Maybe there's more cause for worry up in the New England corridor, but for the rest of us the adjacent sidebands are simply not an issue. If there's been any loss of analog coverage it's obviously not been enough of an issue to generate significant complaints (except for me, I'm convinced that one of the aforementioned public stations' signal has suffered significantly, but I can't tell if that's due to the new wideband antenna for HD, or the lowering of the FM antenna after the DTV switchover, since it's on the ETV tower.)
Yes, I've had some reception issues with my Insignia portable radio, but it's been concluded that my model is particularly defective, in that some days it's solid and some days the front end falls apart when adjacent strong signals overwhelm it. But as for HD, it has worked for me so far pretty much anywhere within the 60 dBu contour that one sees on the FCC site. I've checked this in Jackson, Miss; Memphis; Little Rock; Saint Louis; Albuquerque; Oklahoma City; Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Really only Albuquerque's few HD stations failed to perform up to snuff in the urban environment, but that may be due to factors beyond my knowledge, like HD antenna placement, etc.
Saint Louis in particular was a real "wow" market, with me easily getting 50 miles out without a single dropout on HD2 channels and several real good sounding feeds. But I realize it may be the exception rather than the rule. I regret not being able to bring my HD radio on a trip last year to Chicago, that would have been a real good test bed.
Before I got an HD portable, I did get plenty of analog-listening experience in, around the Birmingham market back when they were fairly early to the HD party. In town, with many Class C FMs running HD looking down upon me, I did not notice any detrimental effects to the dial. To wit, the closest stations on the dial might be a C on 93.7 and a C on 94.5, both running HD, but neither causing any undue new interference to an out-of-market C on 94.1 that is analog only, with a stick nearly 70 miles out of town. And 70 miles out of town (in the 94.1 stick area) the other two stations seem no more compromised in the analog realm, even though the HD has long bit the dust.
Even though I'm okay with FM HD, it is by no means something I'd encourage a class A in any town or market to adopt, or anything I'd ever want to see on a translator, for example. At its best, though, it really is pretty seamless and the benefits of a well-processed digital stream really are worthwhile from a listening standpoint. But in all the above listed cities, I can count the number of in-sync and well processed HD stations on six fingers. But that is a problem for engineering to solve ("general" engineering, not necessarily stations engineers) and will improve over time.