Wednesday, February 14, 2007

World's first global radio module announced

UK-based Frontier Silicon has launched the world’s first “four-in-one” module capable of receiving Internet radio, DAB, FM and music streamed from a PC. The new module, Venice 6, is the first product to integrate a WiFi, DAB, and FM front-end together with an on-board WiFi antenna in a single module. Applications using the module will include portable and alarm clock radios as well as CD micro systems, boomboxes and HiFi tuners, and are expected in the shops by July 07.
Measuring a compact 107 x 40 mm, Venice 6 is based around Frontier Silicon’s powerful Chorus 2i processor. It streams radio stations and music files in a variety of formats and protocols including MP3, Windows Media Audio (WMA), and Real Audio. The module integrates an intuitive user interface which enables an easy navigation scheme to switch between the four different modes of operation (Internet Radio, Music Playback, DAB, FM). It provides access to over 10,000 Internet radio stations plus a wide selection of podcasts with only a few key presses, accessed through a vTuner Internet Portal which manages all the stations to ensure quality and reliability of the available content.
Besides working with the existing DAB standard which uses the MPEG Audio Layer II coding, Venice 6 also supports the new additional audio codec, DAB+. The module comes with a front-end that supports both Band 3 and L-band reception, which allows manufacturers to bring to market truly global DAB radios which can be introduced into all DAB markets, regardless of transmission band used, or version of DAB standard adopted.
“Audio manufacturers want to build products that can be used and sold anywhere in the world. With the fragmentation of broadcast radio standards this has been a difficult goal to achieve – until Frontier introduced the Venice 6 module,” said Steve Evans, Frontier Silicon’s VP of Digital Audio. ”DAB+ is attracting significant interest from broadcasters outside of the UK so it makes sense for us to include this capability to allow manufacturers to easily address this part of the market with Venice 6,” added Evans.
Unlike other broadcasting standards which vary from country to country, Internet radio products are not constrained by geographic location. According to an independent report from Lehman Brothers Research, worldwide broadband market will account for approximately 350 million connections by 2009, with 60% of connections made through a WiFi link. The report suggests a potential total available market of over 10 milllion WiFi Radio units by 2009.
(Source: Frontier Silicon/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)