SDR processor decodes DRM, HD Radio and DAB/DAB+/T-DMB

14th January 2014
Nat Bowers

Designed for the rapidly expanding in-car digital radio market segment, NXP Semiconductors have introduced the SAF360x series multi-standard software-defined radio (SDR) co-processor. The SDR processor is capable of decoding all three major digital terrestrial radio standards including Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), HD Radio and DAB/DAB+/T-DMB.

Enhancing digital audio quality with best-in-class reception, the SAF360x series features maximum ratio combining (MRC) for DAB and HD Radio, and scalability for single, dual and triple tuner use cases. Replacing up to six chips with a single IC, the processor offers an unprecedented level of integration and can reduce the footprint of automotive digital radio applications by over 75%, enabling significant cost savings. Currently supporting the three most popular digital terrestrial radio standards, it could also be used to support new digital radio standards that emerge in the future.

Support for in-vehicle DRM reception makes the series an effective solution for OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers looking to introduce in-car digital radio systems in emerging markets such as India, Russia and Brazil. NXP believe that the SAF360x is the first automotive-quality chipset including two on-board high-performance DAB tuners and memory. Qualified in accordance with AEC-Q100, the processors also feature ultra-fast DAB scanning and sync time, enhanced tuner sensitivity and seamless DAB-FM-DAB blending. This provides an impeccable audio experience without having to worry about the loss of reception.

Dr. Bertram Hock, Group Leader, Broadcast Receiver Development, BMW, commented: “With digital radio becoming standard on new BMW car models in key markets, we’ve worked hard to deliver the benefits of digital radio – including greater choice, improved reception and superior sound quality – under all possible driving conditions. As a long-standing supplier of solutions for in-car entertainment, NXP enables us to realise this vision."

“The SAF360x series - code-named ‘Saturn’ - is the culmination of more than a decade of developing in-car digital radio solutions and finally offers the all-in-one integration, true multi-standard support, and breakthrough reception performance that leading car infotainment system suppliers have been waiting for. By dramatically reducing the total cost of designing and manufacturing in-car digital radio systems, we expect the SAF360x series will help to boost the availability and adoption of digital radio worldwide - in parallel with the rapidly growing availability of broadcast content and other add-on services such as traffic information, weather forecasts and interactive news updates that are becoming fundamental features in the connected car,” comments Torsten Lehmann, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Car Entertainment Solutions, NXP Semiconductors.

Car manufacturers are expected to go into production with the first digital radio systems based on the SAF360x this year.

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