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Open Source HD Radio for Computers

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  • Open Source HD Radio for Computers

    Ok, so HD Radio (actually just digital radio) has been available for years. I have seen the hacks people have done to get radio and HD radio into their computers, but maybe it is time we ourselves developed a better solution developed for the computer itself.

    I am envisioning a card or module (PCI / PCIe x1 / USB) that plugs right in and can be controlled through software or frontend.

    Here are the major challenges and points to get through.

    1. What type of interface to use?

    While PCI or PCIe might provide an internal solution, many people are already filling their expansion slot in their mITX board with other hardware, or maybe do not have room for an add in card. However, a USB module is moving away from the concept of this project. Ease of hardware design and software programming is going to determine initial interface.

    2. What hardware to design with?

    There are 3 major components of this build.
    1. HD FM/AM radio decoder chip
    2. Decoder chip controller
    3. Interface controller (USB, PCIe) to controller decoder controller.

    Since I am hoping for a module system, we can replace the interface controller for another one to switch between PCI and USB connectivity.

    Finding chips to decode HD Radio has been hard to find. I have found a chip number TMS320DRI350 but I think has long since been discontinued. I cannot find a replacement from TI in their DSP line of chips.

    For the chip controller, again I found information only from 2004. The Atmel's T4260 RF Tuner IC is directly created to control the above chip. If this chip is still around is hard to tell.

    If anyone has more information on this subject, please chime in. I would like to get the ball rolling, and Im sure 99% of this community would like an add-in card they can just pop in and start using HD Radio.

  • #2
    So I have done some more digging into the PCIe interface, and I believe this links to be a good starting point.

    Unlike all the current radio tuners on the market, I do not want to have to output the sound out back into the motherboard's onboard line-in input. I want the sound to be transferred through whatever connection technology we would be using.

    Also believe some of these books may come in handy.


    • #3
      The problem is going to be licensing. The HD Radio modulation and data transport scheme are intellectual licensable property of iBiquity Digital Corporation. You can't legally make a decoder for resale without infringing upon their current patents or paying them a license.

      Now it may be possible to find tuner/demod chips that have the algorithms built-in and who's manufacturers have already paid the license fees to iBiquity or you may be able to obtain product licenses direct from iBiquity.. but good luck getting either to return a call to a hobbyist.

      And then there is the digital lag. It takes several second when switching stations to acquire the constellation, get timing, phase, fec, and transport, locks, and buffer enough data to start playing the first decoded sample through a dac. The Visteon radio most of us use has the nifty feature of playing the core analog signal until the digital sample are ready then cross fading the two. That's probably part of the chip set features and doesn't fall under iBiquity IP. So there's yet another thing you have to worry about most people take for granted in current consumer products.

      I don't want to rain on the parade, but getting an emerging technology down to the hobby level is going to take a while.
      Save virtual trees....


      • #4


        • #5

          That would definatly save many hours of work and developement. Now the problem is, how do we get one (hopefully many more) and how do we interface this into a pc?

          Also... are there any other modules like this? Also, are any of these available in the retail channels?


          • #6
            That's nice. There are a lot of those. In fact, you could just desolder the TI module and tuner can out of the Visteon HD Zoom and use it. But there is a reason there are no consumer direct digital to PC interfaces yet while there is plenty of demand. If you reverse engineer the iBiquity reference designs and SDK, you'll be a hero to the community.

            It would probably be easier to build a small board that fits inside the hd zoom and connects usb to the i2s output of the fm module and rs232 input of the arm.
            Save virtual trees....


            • #7
              Hopefully, I may be able to source an engineering sample of these modules. However, I am not quite sure of the connection interface. I just hope its not I2C or CAN which seems to be pretty much everywhere in cars these days.

              Now I thank you guys for the other suggestions, but I am looking for a module I can fit inside a double DIN package. Those HD tuners are quite big and not able to fit inside that size package.