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Channel decoders for digital radio receivers from ST Microelectronics

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ST Microelectronics  has signed an agreement with WorldSpace Satellite Radio to develop, manufacture and distribute chips for European Satellite Digital Radio (ESDR) receivers. These chips are planned to be used for a pan-European and Middle East service from WorldSpace Satellite Radio, which is to be started from Italy in 2009.

The agreement between WorldSpace Satellite Radio and ST Microelectronics is expected to lead to a fully integrated device useful for channel decoding in ESDR receivers.

Based on an open ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) standard, the ESDR technology enables WorldSpace Satellite Radio to employ a hybrid satellite-terrestrial network, where its satellites deliver broad geographical coverage at low cost, while terrestrial transmitters improve reception quality in urban and suburban areas.

WorldSpace Satellite Radio’s service will include 40-50 channels of commercial-free music, news, sports, talk and other personalized programming such as traffic, navigation and music downloads directly from the satellite, to each of its markets in Europe.

WorldSpace Satellite Radio intends to launch its European service, beginning with Italy, in 2009, followed shortly thereafter by other major European and Middle East countries including Germany, Switzerland, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Designed using the advanced CMOS technology, the new channel decoder device available from ST Microelectronics delivers high system integration and low current consumption. The chip is being tailored to ensure optimal reception in harsh conditions and to make maximum use of the available frequency spectrum.

In addition to the channel decoder, ST Microelectronics will provide three additional chips for WorldSpace Satellite Radio’s digital radio receivers: a super-heterodyne RF tuner, a device for non-volatile secure data storage and the automotive version of ST Microelectronics’ Nomadik application processor. 

This automotive grade chipset will handle the complete RF and base-band tasks, meeting the car industry’s stringent requirements for integration into OEM systems as well as after-market radio receivers.

These ESDR satellite radio receivers will be available through retail stores and other aftermarket venues in the first half of 2009, followed shortly by OEM versions.

“WorldSpace and ST Microelectronics have a long-standing relationship and we are very pleased to continue that relationship through this agreement,” said Noah A. Samara, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, WorldSpace Satellite Radio.

“This agreement is another milestone on the path to providing a truly unique satellite radio experience throughout Europe, beginning with Italy. ST Microelectronics brings a long history of excellence in satellite radio endeavours to the table and their experience with the automotive qualification process and chip production should help propel our success in Europe, the Middle East and potentially other markets when we are ready to roll out.”

“We are pleased to play a key role in the introduction of WorldSpace’s digital satellite radio service to European consumers,” said Domenico Rossi, Vice President of ST Microelectronics’ Automotive Product Group.

“This important agreement marks twelve years for ST at the forefront of digital radio technology. We were the first to fit a complete digital satellite decoding circuit onto a single chip and have developed considerable expertise in mastering the entire radio receiver system from the RF to the base band signal processing. Our contribution to WorldSpace’s efforts in Europe draws on the success of satellite digital radio in the U.S., where the majority of receivers is powered by ST chips.”

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