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Digital baseband drives PCI-based DAB receiver

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Edited by the Electronicstalk editorial team Jun 19, 2002

Modular Technology has developed a novel "plug and play" DAB digital radio PCI card for use in personal computers.

Modular Technology has developed a novel "plug and play" DAB digital radio PCI card for use in personal computers.

Interest in digital radio has surged in recent months with the advent of radio stations offering new digital channels with streamlined programmes to tempt the consumer.

The PCI card was developed in response to this demand and provides users with first class reception, no interference and the widest choice of programmes available from DAB broadcasters, all for under GBP 100.

Behind this ingenious card is the TMS320DRE200 digital radio baseband and analogue chipset from Texas Instruments.

A key part of the development process was also supported by RadioScape, which provided DRE200 based reference designs and user interface software from their family of consumer radio designs.

RadioScape's technology enabled Modular Technology to reduce by 80% the time taken to design and develop their product.

The PCI card comes complete with both an indoor antenna and drivers for Windows 98, Me, 2000 and XP.

Chris Baldock, managing director of Modular Technology, commented, "Radio stations have ambitious plans for the capacity of digital radio that can only be achieved by making it available to the target consumers through cheaper access methods.

We have been tracking the digital radio market for a number of years and have identified that with the reduction in the cost of materials, the time is now ripe to bring high quality low cost receivers to consumers.

The Youth oriented stations in particular will not reach critical mass without the availability of widely publicised low cost units".

Ian Dickins, CEO of the Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB), said, "The DRDB welcomes Modular Technology's arrival in the DAB digital radio market.

Their new PCI card extends the range of DAB products available at an affordable price point and that's good news for DAB broadcasters.

This is the first commercially available digital radio product to come EPG ready and the fact that it is simple to use and priced to appeal is an added bonus".

The Time Group intends to supply Modular Technology's DAB digital radio card across its ranges of home and office PCs and as a stand-alone product.

Colin Middlemiss, TIME spokesperson said, "Digital radio cards are an exciting addition to the hardware that we can give to our customers.

The ability to access unique stations individually tailored to your musical tastes is just one of many benefits that digital radio offers.

Time Group looks forward to working with Modular Technology and being able to bring this exciting product to the high street".

The PCI card's on-screen user interface provides users with a unique radio experience that exploits the power of digital radio's digital quality audio and datacasting capabilities.

Not only can the interface display full programme information and the genre of each radio station, but it also facilitates scheduling of recordings ahead of time from electronic programme guides with one click of a mouse.

Recordings can be stored as MPEG-2 files or in MP3 format for direct downloads to MP3 players, an additional facility provided by RadioScape's QuickDAB.

Additionally, users can email a programme presenter and easily link to the radio station's website with a single click.

The PCI digital card is part of Modular Technology's "Digital World" product range of PC-centric and stand-alone radio and TV products which will be launched by Modular Technology over the next few months through retail and OEM channels.

The PCI card will be released in Europe and Canada in parallel with the UK launch.

It is available as a stand-alone card on the high street and as an addon for PC manufacturers eager to offer differentiated products for their customers in that highly competitive market.

Production will begin in the UK in June and the digital radios will be on sale from major high street retailers at under GBP 100 including VAT.

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