Future trends in receiver technologies

issue 18 premWhen DAB radios were first introduced to the mass market the available technology at the time placed limitations on the receivers available, resulting in bulky, energy hungry and expensive devices, which significantly reduced their perceived benefits over existing FM radios.

Variety of shapes and sizes
In the last five years advances in technology have resulted in vast improvements.

Today, DAB/DAB+/DMB devices come in variety of shapes and sizes:

–  Low-cost entry-price products enabled by the cost reduction achieved through increased silicon integration

– Clock radios and docker radios, enabled by the increase in processing capabilities

-Ultra portables and handheld digital radios enabled by the reduction in power consumption and size

ISSUE 18 PREM 2Additional Services and Visual Functionality

With the increased pace of technical innovation, digital radio has reached a point where the differentiation from analogue FM radios has become increasingly marked especially through additional services such as slideshow and EPG functionality offering greater listener engagement. Broadcasters are making increased use of visual functionality to provide information on programming, now playing, promotion of broadcaster websites, competitions and registration features.

For the first time, radio is able to compete with TV to offer visuals which can be used for advertising and promotional purposes. Advertisers can use colour screens to display special offers, product photos, advertiser’s logos, store locations, opening hours – all of this new content can be delivered efficiently and effectively via the broadcast medium. Functionality which is now familiar to consumers from digital TV, smart phones and tablets is also available on digital radio devices. Pause, rewind, record, and Electronic Program Guides (EPG), on radios with colour touch screens and enhanced user interfaces implemented on an App running on a smartphone or tablet is becoming increasingly mainstream.


Radio is taking advantage of the connectivity that surrounds us all through a network connection, often wirelessly. This connectivity provides increased offerings in terms of content to the listener and also provides the potential for interactivity which opens up a broad range of possibilities for exciting new services such as real time voting to be available via the radio.

Factors driving the development of radio receivers for the future

–  Increased content format offerings from broadcasters

–  Increased broadcast of data content

–  The availability of interactive services

–  Innovation in semiconductors allowing for increased number of devices at lower costs

– Consumer behaviour changes, especially in younger demographics

Radio will continue to integrate with the rest of the digital world and it will become a standard feature within products as the cost of internet connectivity reduces. Today, with connectivity standards such as Bluetooth and WiFi available in smart devices, standalone radios will cleverly integrate themselves with these devices using Apps, resulting in an immersive user experience of the smart device with the benefits of an enhanced user experience of radio.

Prem Rajalingham
VP Worldwide Sales and Support
Frontier Silicon


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