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Converter enables car passengers to listen to different FM stations simultaneously

Posted: 16 Feb 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:sigma-delta converter? car radio? SDR? NXP? FM?

NXP Semiconductors has announced what it says is the industry's first broadband Sigma-Delta converter that digitizes all FM radio channels simultaneously. The company claims this capability results in a "hundred-fold" increase in performance.

The cascaded Sigma-Delta converter enables in-dash car radio functions and broadband wireless applications, such as software-defined radio (SDR). This Sigma-Delta converter technology was highlighted in a paper presented by NXP Research scientists this week at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC).

Simultaneous digitizing
The NXP Sigma-Delta converter eliminates the need for radios to individually filter each FM radio channel. This enables every passenger in the vehicle to listen to a different radio station or source simultaneously with a single in-dash car radio using wired or wireless headsets. The device also supports applications like frequency diversity, in which the strongest FM signal is detected and selected while broadcasting the chosen channel and radio data streaming (RDS) to supply the consumers with more information related to their programming.

"Sigma-Delta converter architectures will reshape what consumers expect from their car audio experiences and holds the promise of revolutionizing many other wireless applications," said Leo Warmerdam, senior director, research, NXP Semiconductors. He told automotive DesignLine, "The architecture has the bandwidth and resolution to digitize the entire FM band and allows the DSP functions that follow to decode more than one station at a time."

'Unprecedented' frequencies
The Sigma-Delta converter is based on a continuous-time quadrature cascaded architecture, exploiting the lower over-sampling of the converter to boost the signal bandwidth to unprecedented frequencies. NXP says applying the Sigma-Delta converter's cascaded architecture to car radio enables the complete 20MHz FM radio band to be digitalized, accessing all 101 U.S. radio channels (100 in Europe) simultaneously.

The Sigma-Delta converter is an advanced technology development that will become available in future products from NXP, and as such Warmerdam added that there are no decisions yet on "productization," and "time frames" for any products.

- Rick DeMeis
Automotive DesignLine

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