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Frontier Silicon Previews World’s Most Integrated Digital Radio Chip

Frontier Silicon is previewing Kino 4, its next generation digital radio chip, at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (13-16th April, 2014).

Kino 4 is a single chip solution, which integrates four previously separate chips, to deliver significant improvements in performance, cost and power consumption. This new chip builds on the performance and reliability standards of earlier generations of the Kino chip series - the world’s best-selling digital radio ICs (over 20 million units sold).

Until now, the alternative, less efficient approach to integration has been to place the various processing blocks on individual pieces of silicon and then to combine them into a single chip package (system-in-package). Uniquely for a digital radio solution, Kino 4 combines RF, baseband, application processor, audio decode and DAC functionality on a single piece of silicon – with no requirement for external MCU, DAC or tuner. This innovative approach is enabling several important features:

  • power consumption 50% lower than Kino 3
  • patent pending features for improved user experience, e.g. significantly faster scan times
  • smaller form-factor – with potential to be deployed in smartphones
  • new tools to accelerate development times for manufacturers.

Kino 4 is designed to power all major categories of consumer digital radio devices. Key areas of focus include portable radios (with entry level models retailing at under $30), radio receivers with Bluetooth connectivity, multi-function devices (e.g. clock radios, docks and home audio systems) and a wide range of automotive aftermarket products (especially, automotive adapters).

The Kino 4 chip will also enable the next generation of hybrid or smart radios, which combine broadcast and IP return path functionality.

The first release of Kino 4 will support the DAB family of standards. Longer term, the chip has the capability to support other global standards, including HD Radio™ and DRM.

Kino 4 will meet all technology requirements of the UK’s Digital Tick minimum specifications for both domestic and automotive digital radio devices.

Kino 4 samples will be available to selected customers in Q2 2014. A demonstration of the new solution will be available in Frontier’s exclusive HKEF Spring Edition demo suite.

Anthony Sethill, CEO Frontier Silicon, said: “Digital radio is making enormous advances around the world as broadcasters, regulators and policy makers realise the significant benefits that the platform offers. As the market matures, it is critical that technology solutions continue to drive this progress.

“Kino 4 builds on ten years of development work by Frontier Silicon. The benefits offered by this latest generation chip, both to manufacturers and end users, are significant. In addition to lower costs and greatly reduced power consumption, our focus has been on improving performance whilst retaining the reliability that is a hallmark of Frontier’s solutions.

“Currently, there are over 300 consumer digital radio models on the market – a significant majority powered by Frontier solutions. Our aim with Kino 4 is to greatly increase this number – in particular, for entry level portable radios, multi-function radio devices and automotive aftermarket products.

“In the coming years, we expect to see a sharp growth in broadcasters’ development of smart radio services (combining broadcast and IP connectivity). Kino 4 will help accelerate this growth by enabling standalone radios and multi-function devices to provide this new functionality.”

About Frontier Silicon Limited

Frontier Silicon is the world’s leading supplier of integrated circuits and modules for Digital Radio and Connected Audio products. Frontier Silicon is part of the Toumaz Group, a pioneer in low-power wireless semiconductor and software technologies for the consumer audio and wireless healthcare markets.

Frontier Silicon’s audio products offer solutions for DAB/DAB+, Internet Radio and Connected Audio - from silicon through software to production-ready platform designs.

Customers supplied by Frontier Silicon include Argon, Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Bush, Denon, Dual, Geneva, Goodmans, Grundig, Hama, harman/kardon, Hitachi, JVC, Magic Box, NAD, Onkyo, Panasonic, Philips, Pinell, Pioneer, Pure, Revo, Roberts, Ruark Audio, Sangean, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony, TEAC, TechniSat, Tivoli Audio and Yamaha.

Frontier Silicon is a trademark or registered trademark of Frontier Silicon Ltd.

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