Advanced car radio tuner IC family delivers high RF performance

November 22, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Silicon Laboratories has introduced the Si476x automotive tuner IC family designed to deliver high RF performance coupled with advanced signal processing while reducing cost and complexity of car radio systems.

According to Silicon Laboratories, theSi476x tuner family offers superior price/performance for the global car radio market and provides a best-in-class multiband receiver solution for automotive infotainment head-units and AM/FM car radios from all classes of providers ranging from Tier 1 suppliers to aftermarket car radio makers.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, the global automotive market is expected to exceed 76 million light-vehicle unit shipments this year. The car radio technology deployed in these vehicles is evolving rapidly as innovations in communication technology proliferate in the automotive infotainment market.

The basic car radio has been transformed into a sophisticated infotainment system that includes multiple tuners to deliver FM phase diversity reception, receive radio data system (RDS) data for info-navigation systems, support AM/FM HD Radio technology and provide detailed station quality metrics for living lists of broadcast content. These strenuous broadcast performance demands require advanced silicon innovations to enable a superior in-vehicle audio experience.

The Si476x receiver family was developed to address these major automotive industry trends. The receivers leverage the company's patented digital low-IF technology and combine most of the traditional external bill of materials into a highly integrated, single-chip CMOS solution. The Si476x receivers offer a modular architecture supporting scalable multi-tuner designs. They support all worldwide broadcast radio bands including AM/FM, college FM, longwave (LW), shortwave (SW), NOAA weather band, FM RDS decoding and AM/FM HD Radio reception.

The Si476x family represents the automotive industry's first viable receiver alternative to enable developers to pair a best-in-class tuner IC with the choice of audio DSPs to create cost-effective back-end audio processing designs, according to the company. Silicon Laboratories has worked with silicon providers such as Cirrus Logic and Freescale Semiconductor to deliver audio system solutions that break the expensive partitioning approach required by current car audio solutions.

The linearity of the Si476x tuner's integrated RF front-end, combined with on-chip radio DSP and microcontroller, delivers high RF dynamic range and immunity