21 agosto 2008

HD Radio, Ibiquity certifica un nuovo chipmaker

Sembra aumentare l'offerta di silicio destinato alla costruzione di apparecchi HD Radio. L'ultima società certificata da Ibiquity si chiama SiPort, un chipmaker "fabless" californiano. Lo rivela questo articolo di EETimes che contiene anche parecchi dati relativi alle prospettive dell'industria della radio digitale.

SiPort gains HD radio certification

Mark LaPedus

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- SiPort Inc.--a supplier of digital terrestrial broadcast receiver ICs that is partly backed by Intel Corp.--said that its device has received ''HD Radio Ready'' certification from iBiquity Digital Corp. IBiquity is the developer and licensor of HD Radio technology.
SiPort's device, dubbed the SP1010, is a single-chip, HD radio receiver said to provide digital and analog FM performance for the mobile, tabletop and automotive aftermarket segments.
SiPort will begin shipping the receiver chip in volume in September of 2008. LG-Innotek is currently sampling its HD Radio module based on SiPort's SP1010. The company will be in production by year's end.
HD Radio was developed by iBiquity Digital. The technology allows digital radio signals to ride the same airwaves as today's analog AM and FM radio broadcasts, bringing additional content, crystal-clear sound, and location-based data services, the companies said.
That company is neither a content owner nor broadcaster; rather, its technology lets radio stations simulcast compressed digital audio and traditional analog audio without shifting to new frequency bands.
IBiquity recently claimed that the $100 price point for HD Radio receivers has been ''smashed.'' The new HD Radio receivers are made by Coby, iLuv, JVC, Pioneer, Radiosophy and Sony. The latest prices represent a 30 percent reduction compared to a year ago.
This could also be a major event for startup SiPort. "HD Radio certification is an important milestone for SiPort and validates our commitment to delivering the highest performance HD Radio solution," said Sid Agrawal, CEO of SiPort (Santa Clara, Calif.), in a statement. "The certification of the SiPort single-chip SP1010 HD Radio solution gives our customers a best-in-class solution for audio and data services on both mobile and traditional radio platforms."
Formed in 2004, SiPort is a fabless semiconductor company developing mixed signal RF and digital baseband wireless receiver chips supporting multiple Digital Broadcast Standards. Investors in the startup include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Morgenthaler, New Venture Partners and Intel Capital.
The startup is reportedly betting the first application for its chip will be portable GSP devices, given HD Radio's ability to datacast real-time traffic information from local radio stations in far more detailed and comprehensive fashion than is currently available via the analog FM band.
On the business front, there have been mixed results in the overall digital radio sector. Despite a six-year market presence, there remains confusion surrounding satellite and digital radio ''due to the introduction of multiple digital radio standards,'' according to iSuppli Corp.
Still, by 2014, global shipments of satellite radios will rise to 8.9 million units, nearly double the 4.6 million in 2007, iSuppli predicts. In 2008, shipments are expected to rise by 13.3 percent to reach 5.2 million units.
In March, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) ruled in favor of a merger between satellite radio operators Sirius and XM Satellite Radio Inc.
''This is good news for strategic planners in the automotive business, as well as top-tier and aftermarket suppliers that have spent the last 18 months 'on hold' pending this merger,'' said Richard Robinson, an analyst for iSuppli, in a report.
''Satellite radio providers Sirius and XM have retained end-to-end control of their value chain, from hardware to content. This has allowed them to develop an entire ecosystem with the freedom to push through proprietary broadcast and receiver standards,'' he said. ''In contrast, most other digital broadcast standards have required significant buy-in from third parties. The result has been patchy acceptance of most other digital radio formats. With the merger approved, Sirius and XM now are free to expand their business using their successful business model to a wider audience.''
iSuppli also is encouraged by BMW's decision to roll out HD radio as a standard feature in all its U.S. vehicles starting in September. The market realizes ''that until car makers begin to offer digital radio technologies as standard features in vehicle head units, the additional cost of installing digital radio as an option will continue to be a deterrent to wider adoption,'' Robinson said.

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