Digital radio technology is the next generation of radio broadcasting. In addition to providing better audio quality than traditional AM/FM radio, digital radio can transmit program information, weather forecasts, news headlines, music artist and track names, traffic information and other data. Digital radio adoption has been slow due to the high cost of delivering a high-performance yet power-efficient RF solution for the consumer electronics market.
The first single-die antenna-input-to-audio-output digital radio receiver
Silicon Labs, which deals in high-performance, analog-intensive, mixed-signal ICs, recently introduced the industry’s first single-die antenna-input-to-audio-output digital radio receiver solution developed for the global portable and consumer electronics markets. Leveraging software-defined radio technology, the new monolithic Si468x receiver ICs bring FM, HD Radio(TM) and DAB/DAB+ broadcast capabilities to a wide range of audio applications, from price-sensitive clock and tabletop radios to mainstream mini/micro audio systems and CD boomboxes to high-end multimedia devices with displays such as mobile phones, tablets and personal navigation devices.
By carefully leveraging Silicon Labs’ proven low-IF digital receiver architecture, the Si468x family now delivers superior RF performance when compared to the existing consumer-grade digital radio solutions available in the market. The Si468x receivers support auto-calibrated digital tuning and FM seek functionality based on multiple signal quality and band parameters along with providing flexible audio processing features including noise blanking, configurable FM soft mute, FM de-emphasis and FM hi-cut filtering.
The Si468x family allows developers to reduce system cost, size and complexity by integrating most of the external components needed to build a digital radio receiver system including the RF tuner, baseband and stereo audio DACs. The family’s wafer-level chip-scale package (WLCSP) option supports very compact designs, enabling a complete digital radio receiver system with only 12 external components to be implemented in less than 100 square millimeters.
The Si468x receivers are engineered with small form factor designs in mind. By integrating the RF tuner and baseband functions on a single die, the Si468x family avoids radio self-interference and streamlines system design, validation and testing. High integration simplifies board layout, reduces board space requirements and enhances system stability, making the receivers a good fit for on-board and small form factor designs where performance, size and reliability are critical considerations. Offering the smallest footprint and lowest power consumption of any digital radio solution on the market (less than 60 mW in analog FM mode and less than 95 mW in HD Radio and DAB/DAB+ modes), the Si468x receivers are also an ideal choice for power- and space-sensitive portable applications.
Pricing and Availability
Samples and production quantities of the Si468x digital radio receivers are available now in two package options: a 7 mm x 7 mm 48-pin QFN package and a tiny 3.2 mm x 3.8 mm WLCSP package that is ideal for portable and space-constrained designs. Pricing for the Si468x receiver family begins at $5.62 (USD) in 10,000-unit quantities. To ease digital radio system design based on the Si468x family, Silicon Labs offers comprehensive evaluation kits priced at $550.00 (USD MSRP).