GENEVA--STMicroelectronics here figures it has punched up a winner. The European chip maker today disclosed the development of a highly integrated car stereo chip that contains two digital signal processor cores and other functions to replace traditional analog circuits used in automotive radios.
The TDA7500 performs the basic functions in radios, such as AM/FM and stereo decoding, volume control, tone selection and the balancing of sound, but STMicroelectronics also said its new IC can implements optional features, like graphic equalizers and concert hall effects, echo cancellation, and noise reduction.
Radio manufacturers have received functional samples of the AM/FM stereo device, and volume shipments are expected to begin in the fourth quarter this year.
STMicroelectronics said the market for semiconductors used in car stereo systems could now be worth $1 billion worldwide this year. The company believes the semiconductor value in those stereos will grow at a fairly rapid rate because of new functions are being embedded into the units. These include cellular telephones and global positioning satellite (GSP) navigation subsystems.
Software reprogammability also gives all-digital components an edge over analog circuits in today's stereo players, noted STMicroelectronics. Car stereo units on the road could be upgraded with new software to adds features such as text-to-speech output of coded traffic bulletins, suggested the chip supplier.