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Silicon Labs introduces single-chip digital radio receivers for CE devices
Press release, April 24; Michael McManus, DIGITIMES [Wednesday 24 April 2013]

Analog-intensive, mixed-signal IC design house Silicon Labs has introduced what it claims to be 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 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 boom boxes to high-end multimedia devices with displays such as mobile phones, tablets and personal navigation devices.

Silicon Labs indicated that digital radio adoption has been slow due in part to the high cost of delivering a high-performance yet power-efficient RF solution for the consumer electronics market. The Si468x family directly addresses the consumer digital radio market, with Silicon Labs stating that its single-die solution reduces system complexity, bill of materials (BOM) count and power consumption without compromising RF performance.

The Si468x receivers support auto-calibrated digital tuning and FM seek functionality based on multiple signal quality and band parameters and provide flexible audio processing features including noise blanking, configurable FM soft mute, FM de-emphasis and FM hi-cut filtering. In addition, Silicon Labs stated that its low-IF digital receiver architecture helps the Si468x family deliver better RF performance compared to existing consumer-grade digital radio solutions.

The Si468x family's wafer-level chip-scale package (WLCSP) option also 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 helps streamline system design, validation and testing. The company added that the devices offers 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 support worldwide analog FM radio reception and incorporate an integrated decoder for the European Radio Data System (RDS) and North American Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS) standards including required symbol decoding, block synchronization, error detection and error correction functions. The Si468x receiver family is compatible with the European Eureka 147 DAB and DAB+ standards and is designed to be fully compliant with the United Kingdom's minimum specifications for DAB and DAB+ personal and domestic digital radio receivers.

Samples and production quantities of the Si468x digital radio receivers are available in two package options: a 7 mm x 7 mm 48-pin QFN package and a 3.2x3.8mm WLCSP package. Pricing for the Si468x receiver family begins at US$5.62 in 10,000-unit quantities. Silicon Labs also offers evaluation kits priced at US$550.00.

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