Tensilica, “ecco il DSP universale per la radio digitale”

(Radio Passioni) – Clamoroso da San Francisco. Parlando ieri in occasione dell’Electronics 2009 Summit, la società Tensilica ha annunciato l’immediata disponibilità di un core DSP audio universale per la sua piattaforma Xtensa che serve alla decodifica di TUTTI gli standard di radio digitale, dal DRM ad HD Radio passando ovviamente per il DAB. L’azienda, specializzata in processori orientati agli standard digitali multimediali, è stata fondata nel 1997 da ex manager di MIPS, famosa azienda di microprocessori che aveva contribuito all’affermazione delle architetture RISC (reduced instruction set computing).
Electronics Weekly ha raccolto le dichiarazioni del CTO di Tensilica Chris Rowen, in cui il chief technology officer sottolinea la capacità della sua piattaforma HiFi2 Audio DSP di eseguire il software di demodulazione anche a basse frequenze di clock, caratteristica che abbasserebbe notevolmente il consumo delle batterie. Nel comunicato che segue l’azienda cita espressamente il recente annuncio di India e Russia, che si sono dette disposte a considerare il passaggio DRM, Digital Radio Mondiale, per le loro infrastrutture radiofoniche in onde medie e corte.
Per HiFi2 ci sarebbero anche i due primi clienti manufatturieri, ma non sono stati fatti nomi. Mi sono scaricato la brochure di prodotto e sembra piuttosto interessante. E’ davvero possibile che la disponibilità (se confermata anche in volume) di questo nuovo core imprima al mercato dei ricevitori per la radio digitale quella svolta che finora non è arrivata?

Microprocessors and DSPs
Tensilica launches universal digital broadcast processor core
by David Manners, San Francisco
Tuesday 31 March 2009

A processor core which can run all the world’s digital broadcasting standards has been produced by the custom processor company Tensilica, and it has been designed into SOCs by five out of the top ten semiconductor companies.
"The problem was how to build one platform to address all geographies," Tensilica’s founder and CTO, Chris Rowen, told the Globalpress Summit Conference in San Francisco yesterday, "Tensilica’s HiFi platform is the only platform which can run all the digital broadcasting standards."
The DRM decoder on Tensilica’s HiFi 2 audio DSP is based on software developed by Dolby, and the implementation has been certified by Dolby. It has support for DAB, DAB+, HD Radio and XM Radio.
DRM delivers FM-comparable sound quality on frequencies below 30MHz. By using digital audio compression, rather than amplitude modulation techniques, it can fit more signals, with higher quality, into a given amount of spectrum
Asked by Electronics Weekly if this would reduce the big bugbear of digital radio receivers – the power consumption, Rowen replied, "Absolutely. One reason why HiFi has been widely adopted is because it runs at lower clock frequencies than other standards."
Tensilica HiFi 2 Audio DSP Supports HE AAC by Dolby in Digital Radio Mondiale; Now Offers Decoders for All Major International Digital Radio Standards.


HiFi 2 Audio DSP Enables Universal Worldwide Digital Radio Receiver

Picture8 2 - Tensilica, "ecco il DSP universale per la radio digitale"SANTA CLARA, Calif. USA – March 30, 2009 – Tensilica, Inc. today announced the immediate availability of the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) decoder on its popular HiFi 2 Audio DSP, which can be easily integrated into system-on-chip (SOC) designs. The implementation is based on software developed by Dolby and has passed Dolby’s certification procedure. Now designers of digital radio systems can use one processor core – Tensilica’s HiFi 2 Audio DSP – to run all decoders required throughout the world for digital radio, enabling a universal worldwide digital radio receiver. Tensilica’s HiFi2 Audio DSP already has support for four other terrestrial and satellite standards: DAB, DAB+, HD Radio, and XM Radio.
DRM can deliver FM-comparable sound quality on frequencies below 30 MHz (the bands currently reserved for AM broadcasting) for very long-distance signal propagation. It has the advantage of being able to fit more channels into a given amount of spectrum with higher quality because it employs digital audio compression rather than amplitude modulation techniques. DRM has been approved by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), and the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) has approved its use throughout most of the world. Approval for ITU region 2 (North and South America and the Pacific) is pending. More detail on DRM is available at www.drm.org.
“In today’s economy, manufacturers don’t have the luxury of developing different radios for different geographic markets,” stated Larry Przywara, Tensilica’s director of mobile multimedia. “Now single SOCs, including the HiFi 2 Audio DSP, can be compatible with all global digital radio standards. We chose Dolby’s implementation of DRM because of our previous close collaboration with them on HE AAC and derivative standards including DAB+ and T-DMB (BSAC). Two Tensilica customers have already licensed the HiFi 2 DRM decoder.”
“Both India’s and Russia’s regulators just recently have taken serious steps towards digital radio and mandated DRM due to its advantages of wider geographic coverage in the sub 30 MHz spectrum. With these countries gaining momentum, the arrival of Tensilica’s solution appears to be just in time for the marketplace,” stated Toni Fiedler, senior manager, business development, Dolby Laboratories. “Tensilica’s HiFi 2 Audio DSP will enable development of low cost DRM receivers by leveraging the aggregate investment in all the digital radio standards for highly integrated multi-standard SOCs. HiFi 2 provides a proven, approved, drop-in audio solution.”
Because the HiFi 2 Audio DSP is based on Tensilica’s programmable Xtensa processor, it provides chip designers with one hardware platform that can be used for multiple audio standards. Tensilica, its customers, and its partners have ported over 50 software packages to the HiFi 2 Audio DSP, so designers can pick the software they need for the application. As the market evolves and new standards are defined, they can be easily and quickly ported to the HiFi 2 Audio DSP, thereby “future proofing” the chip design. The HiFi 2 Audio DSP has been designed into chips for portable devices by five of the top 10 semiconductor companies.

The DRM decoder is available now from Tensilica.

About Tensilica
Tensilica, Inc. is the recognized leader in customizable dataplane processors. Dataplane Processor Units (DPUs) consist of performance intensive DSP (audio, video, imaging, and baseband signal processing) and embedded RISC processing functions (security, networking, and deeply embedded control). The automated design tools behind all of Tensilica’s application specific processor cores enable rapid customization to meet specific dataplane performance targets. Tensilica’s DSPs and processors power top tier semiconductor companies, innovative start-ups, and system OEMs for high-volume products including mobile phones, consumer electronics devices (including portable media players, digital TV, and broadband set top boxes), computers, and storage, networking and communications equipment. For more information on Tensilica’s patented benchmark-proven DPUs visit www.tensilica.com.

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