Single-chip, global coverage car radio receiver

August 26, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Si4790x is an automotive receiver family that scales from economical, single-tuner designs to premium, multi-tuner car radio systems.

The Silicon Labs IC family is designed to deliver optimum AM/FM and HD Radio/DAB/DMB digital radio performance for demanding car radio systems, representing what the company terms a new benchmark for car radio reception performance while delivering the lowest system cost. The Si4790x family also provides flexibility and scalability for Tier 1 automotive infotainment suppliers and aftermarket car radio makers worldwide.

The superior linearity of the Si4790x tuner's integrated RF front-end, combined with a comprehensive AM/FM firmware running on a high-performance on-chip radio DSP, sets a new bar for key automotive radio metrics such as sensitivity in weak signal environments, selectivity in the presence of blockers, and immunity to multipath fading and distortion.

Many vehicles now feature sophisticated infotainment systems with multiple tuner ICs and antennae to deliver FM phase diversity reception, receive Radio Data System (RDS) data for info-navigation systems, and support digital radio standards such as HD Radio - prevalent in the U.S. Market - and Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB), the leading European standard. To address today’s global market, the Si4790x tuner family supports all worldwide broadcast radio bands including AM/FM, longwave (LW), shortwave (SW), NOAA weather band, FM RDS decoding, and AM/FM HD Radio and DAB reception (Band-III and L-band).

The Si4790x family’s scalable architecture allows developers to optimise system configurations to match specific automotive OEM requirements worldwide. Using the Si4790x family, Tier 1 suppliers can make the most of their R&D investment across multiple product segments, from cost-effective single-tuner designs to premium multi-tuner systems, with one modular architecture. All tuner devices in the Si4790x family share the same application programming interface (API) allowing infotainment system developers to reuse the same software across different product lines and market segments.

The Si4790x tuners’ high level of single-chip integration enables developers to significantly reduce board space, the external bill of materials and overall system cost. The tuners integrate active loop-through buffers for all radio bands, eliminating external active splitters. Integrated active loop-through buffers greatly simplify the front-end RF design, further reducing cost.