The new module, called 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. It enables audio manufacturers to easily produce low-cost, feature-rich, radios for the global market, bringing thousands of Internet radio stations and music streaming to a new generation of affordable, easy-to-use home DAB/FM radios via household WiFi. 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 107x40mm, 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 will also support the new additional audio codec, sometimes referred to as DAB version 2. The module comes with a front-end that supports both Band III 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. “By bringing WiFi radio, music streaming, DAB and FM together into one compact and cost effective module, Venice 6 makes global audio products a reality."
“DAB v2 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 350M connections by 2009, with 60 percent of connections made through a WiFi link. The report suggests a potential total available market of over 10M WiFi Radio units by 2009.
About Frontier Silicon Limited
Frontier Silicon is the leading supplier of digital and RF integrated circuits and modules for mobile digital TV and digital audio products. Established in 2001 as a privately funded fabless semiconductor company, it has over 200 employees and is headquartered in Watford, England, with design centres in Cambridge and Dublin, and branch offices and technical support representatives in Hong Kong, China, Korea and Japan. Products include audio processors for digital radio and network streaming, and receiver solutions for mobile TV, supporting multiple broadcast standards including DVB-H, DVB-T, T-DMB and DAB-IP.
Customers include Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Bang & Olufsen, Bush, Denon, Goodmans, Grundig, Hitachi, JVC, Onkyo, Philips, PURE Digital, Roberts Radio, Sanyo, TEAC and Yamaha.