Frugal chips let DAB go mobile

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Frugal chips let DAB go mobile

Cheaper, less power-hungry chips will enable multimedia broadcasts,
says Frontier
.

Cheaper, less power-hungry chips will enable multimedia broadcasts,
says Frontier
.

Next-generation DAB audio chips will be much more viable on mobile devices thanks to a 50 per cent reduction in power consumption, according to leading UK manufacturer Frontier Silicon.

The power consumption of early DAB radios made the cost of running them on batteries prohibitive. Yet there are moves to extend DAB broadcasts to deliver TV and other multimedia- to-mobile devices such as phones, PDAs and ultra-mobile notebooks.

Korea has been leading the way on this, using a standard called DMB. Demonstration models of Samung's Q1 ultra-mobile PC included a DMB receiver.

A second standard, called DAB-IP, has just been approved by the European industry body Etsi. This packetises the data and adds error correction, because the multimedia broadcasts need to be more robust than pure audio.

But the new generation of DAB chips, which will power devices going on sale in 2007, will be able to cope with the two standards, according to Prem Rajalingham, DAB product manager at Frontier.

"You will also see chips supporting both DAB and DVB-H," he said, referring to a rival multimedia-broadcasting technology based on the TV signal used for Freeview digital broadcasts.

Frontier, which claims a major share of the DAB processor market, uses a combination of hardware acceleration, software, and a general-purpose digital-signal processor (DSP) in its chips.

Rajalingham said all multimedia broadcasting standards used the same OFDM modulation, enabling each of them to be supported by tweaking software or hardware.

Frontier's next-generation devices will be 35 per cent cheaper, and 40 per cent small, than their predecessors, the company says. They will alo have 640KB of internal memory to support 'value added' features.

Rajalingham said they would have a power consumption of around 80milliwatts.
Copyright © 2010 Personal Computer World
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