New Silicon Labs automotive radio tuners support DRM and built on “SDR-friendly technology”

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post readers who shared this latest press release from Silicon Labs. This is certainly a major upgrade to the Silicon Labs line of tuners/DSP chips. Native Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) support will, no doubt, meet the needs of car manufactures in countries (like India) that have adopted DRM rather than HD radio and DAB/DAB+.  Of course, perhaps this might lead to an affordable DRM portable in the future:

Silicon Labs enhances Si479xx automotive tuner family with software-defined radio (SDR) technology.

(Source: Silicon Labs)

AUSTIN, Texas, July 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Silicon Labs (NASDAQ: SLAB), a leading provider of automotive radio solutions, has introduced new hybrid software-defined radio (SDR) tuners, expanding its portfolio to meet the growing need of automotive radio manufacturers to support all global digital radio standards with a common platform. The new Si479x7 devices are Silicon Labs’ first automotive radio tuners supporting the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) standard. The Si479x7 tuners are an extension of Silicon Labs’ popular family of Global Eagle and Dual Eagle AM/FM receivers and digital radio tuners, providing the same outstanding field performance, pin and package compatibility between single and dual tuners, and bill of materials (BOM) cost advantages.

In addition to introducing new DRM-capable tuners, Silicon Labs is enhancing its Si4790x/1x/2x/5x/6x automotive tuners with unique “SDR-friendly” technology, effectively transforming these devices into hybrid SDR tuners. Silicon Labs’ hybrid SDR technology includes advanced DSP-based automotive features such as Maximal Ratio Combining (MRC), Digital Automatic Gain Control (AGC), Digital Radio Fast Detect and Dynamic Zero-IF (ZIF) I/Q. These features enable automotive radio manufacturers to support global digital radio standards with a common radio hardware and software design. This added flexibility helps OEM and Tier 1 customers reduce design, qualification, sourcing and inventory costs while avoiding the complexity and inefficiency of supporting multiple automotive radio platforms.

“Silicon Labs’ automotive tuners with hybrid SDR capabilities deliver the highest integration and reception performance and the lowest BOM cost of any automotive SDR tuners in mass production today,” said Juan Revilla, General Manager of Broadcast Products at Silicon Labs. “Our tuners with advanced digital radio features enable radio manufacturers to develop a single platform to demodulate and decode worldwide digital radio standards, greatly simplifying car radio designs and reducing system cost. A single digital radio platform can be achieved either with an SDR-based design approach or by using a tuner-plus-coprocessor design.”

Silicon Labs’ automotive tuner portfolio includes highly integrated single and dual device options with best-in-class AM/FM receiver performance. The portfolio supports all broadcast radio bands including AM, FM, Long Wave, Short Wave, Weather Band, HD Radio, DAB (Band III) and DRM. The tuners are built on Silicon Labs’ industry-leading RF CMOS technology, delivering outstanding automotive receiver performance. The tuners’ proven mixed-signal, low-IF RF CMOS design provides excellent sensitivity in weak signal environments and superb selectivity and intermodulation immunity in strong signal environments.

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7 thoughts on “New Silicon Labs automotive radio tuners support DRM and built on “SDR-friendly technology”

  1. Mangosman

    Single Sideband has the carrier totally suppressed not 1 %. That is why there is a beat frequency oscillator (BFO) in the receiver to try and simulate it. Try transmitting bass of 30 Hz when the BFO is easily off by that amount. It causes the pitch to change. How do you propose to put a left and right signal into one sideband without a phase reference which the carrier also provides.
    The only way to do this is to use the lower sideband for the left signal and the upper sideband for the right signal.
    The phase distortion caused by multipath reflected signals and the noise are still present as an analog signal. The COFDM used in DRM sends the data in bursts so that any multipath signals will be ignored, and provided the signal to noise ratio is over a smaller value than for analog, then noise free reliable reception will occur. The error correction algorithm in DRM will reject noise up a point.

    I note that a vestigial carrier double sideband stereo or even mono SSB is not used by any broadcaster in the world. Where as there is plenty of permanent DRM in India transmitting dual language and stereo is added in non analog/digital simulcasting. and
    Have a listen to one of the 1.5 million cars fitted with DRM prior to delivery produced in the last 18 months.

  2. Victor

    Music is perfectly transmitted using SSB.
    Moreover, even stereo is perfectly transmitted. And for accurate frequency synchronization, the carrier is not completely suppressed in the transmitter, but is about 20 dB. This remainder of the carrier on the receiving side is used for accurate frequency synchronization. This is exactly the method by which they were going to reorganize broadcasting in the 90s of the last century. But then all these newfangled digital technologies came out, the digital lobby was selling its useless DRMs, and a great idea was never realized.

  3. Mangosman is yet to list the data for this new chip.

    It is also impressive that a USA company has included DRM, despite that domestically they have to use HD radio and have never tested DRM.

    The signal processing requirements for DAB+ and DRM are either identical or the same processors but with different variables such as bandwidth. The main differences are the tuning ranges and the programming of the local oscillator.

  4. Mangosman

    The chip maker is making their products for the automotive manufacturers not amateur radio operators. No broadcasters use CW or SSB.

    Have you ever considered the effect of using SSB with music transmissions? The pitch changes with the beat frequency oscillator (BFO)
    SSB like DRM does not have a carrier to waste transmitter power. DRM contains some pilot frequencies as a reference to tune the receiver to the exact centre frequency. Also DRM is noise and interference free audio, which cannot be said for SSB.

    CW is only capable of text transmissions and no sound, even if the microprocessor in the receiver was used to decode the Morse Code. DRM has Journaline which is an indexed multipage text broadcast.

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