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Texas Instruments shows digital radio chipset

Posted: 11 Jan 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:texas instruments? ibiquity? iboc? digital radio receiver? ces?

Getting ready for the 2003 launch of in-band on-channel (IBOC) terrestrial digital radio, chip maker Texas Instruments Inc. and iBiquity Digital Corp., a developer of digital AM and FM broadcast technology, are demonstrating IBOC digital radio receivers at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week.

While recently introduced subscription services, XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio, are fiercely competing for attention on the CES show floor, TI and iBiquity believe that free over-the-air terrestrial digital radio will become more ubiquitous than those satellite-based alternatives.

Numerous IBOC receiver makers participated in the CES demonstration, including Alpine, Delphi, Kenwood, Visteon, Harman Kardon and others.

TI said it is the first and only chip maker to offer an IBOC digital radio receiver solution.

In contrast, receivers for the Sirius Satellite and XM Satellite radio services are enabled by chipsets from Agere Systems and STMicroelectronics, respectively.

Under a license agreement between the two companies, TI may use iBiquity's IBOC-related intellectual property to develop current-generation and future-generation chipsets.

TI is no stranger to the world of digital radio, said Fred Cohen, manager of worldwide digital audio at TI. Some of the basic building blocks of a cell phoneRF, power management, analog baseband and digital basebandare similar to those required for a digital radio, he said. TI, which designs and manufacturers chips for more than 60 percent of all cell phones, believes it can translate its cell-phone expertise and success to digital radio.

TI's IBOC solution is based on TI's TMS320C6000 digital signal processor. On TI's current IBOC receiver board, one DSP has replaced the 12 DSPs iBiquity used in its first-generation test receiver, the companies said.

TI provides only the DSP-based baseband and power management in its current IBOC solution, but plans to develop all the key blocks of the digital radio, including the analog baseband and tuner RF, said Narersh Coppisetti, manager of DAB digital radio business at TI.

Though its rollout is taking place more than a year after satellite digital radio services were introduced, IBOC's proponents say there are good reasons to believe in IBOC's success. By using existing spectrum, broadcasters don't need to invest to upgrade the terrestrial infrastructure. Listeners can maintain dial positions and don't need to pay subscriptions. Radio station conversions in multiple major markets are planned for the second half of this year, while the rollout of nationwide station conversions are slated for the first half of 2003.

IBOC promises to deliver CD-like sound while allowing broadcasters to also use digital spectrum to send additional data, such as traffic information, sports, weather or stock prices, in the form of text or images.

Automotive digital radio appears to be a logical early target for the IBOC system. But the broadcast service could eventually be received in a variety of devices, including clock radios, portable radios or PCs, just as analog radios are installed in more than 800 million devices in the United States today, according to TI.

Junko Yoshida

EE Times

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