Editorial–Reason #36 why I hate the term “HD audio”

Two recent announcements  illustrate why HD audio is a really vague, non-descriptive (i.e. Poor, sucky) term as it applies to HD voice and HD telephony.

VTech Communications recently released a new analog/RJ-11 phone or two that uses “HD Audio Profiles” to clean up sound. But it’s not HD voice or CAT-iq.

When I asked for clarification, here’s what I got from Brad Pittmon, Director of Product Marketing – Retail, VTech Communications, Inc.

“HD Audio is indeed different than Wide Band Audio (aka CAT-iq 2.0).  What we have done on cordless phones with HD Audio, is extended the frequency band allowing for the signal to be reproduced and tuned for a fuller and clearer sound.  We have also sourced a higher quality speaker and included an equalizer that allows the user to choose from 4 different settings that best match their hearing.  The combination of these three audio enhancements provide high definition quality audio. “

By the description above,56 Kbps of analog audio goes into this phone, gets “upconverted” and delivered via a higher quality speaker and some other tweaks.  But, as Pittmon says, it ain’t HD voice by any traditional definition.

Last week at Interop, ShoreTel (all hail 7 octaves of sound) announced that it can now conduct “HD audio conferencing” on its system.

See where this is going?  ShoreTel’s view/definition of HD audio is going to be different from VTech’s description of HD audio….which is different from everyone else’s definition of HD audio.

Put another way, HD audio is the UC of HD voice.

Can we have agreement to use HD voice or (better yet) HD telephony in common use, pretty please?

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