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Old 04-09-2004, 05:32   #1
DigiBC
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USB Receiver for DRM by Coding Technologies

Press Release by Coding Technologies:
Quote:
Coding Technologies introduces world's first USB receiver for Digital Radio Mondiale at IBC, hall 8, booth #8.484, September 10-14, 2004

Digital World Traveller to be on sale after the show

Nuremberg, September 1, 2004 - Coding Technologies, the leading provider of audio compression technology for digital broadcasting, mobile and Internet streaming, will showcase world's first USB receiver for Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), the new standard for digital broadcasting in the long, medium/AM, and short-wave bands, at the International Broadcasting Convention IBC 2004 in Amsterdam. The handy little box branded "Digital World Traveller" is to be connected to the USB port of a PC or Notebook. The device comes with the Digital World Traveller Radio Software and is capable of receiving DRM, FM and AM radio programs. After the 1st and 2nd generation DRM receiver, the Digital World Traveller is the third DRM receiver from Coding Technologies and will be sold for a competitive price after the IBC show.

With the introduction of the Digital World Traveller, listeners can now easily enjoy Digital Radio Mondiale services in a convenient way by connecting it to a Notebook or standard PC without any additional power supply or battery. It is an ideal device for business and holiday travellers who want to stay in touch with their home countries by listening to first hand news and information in clear DRM broadcast quality. The included Digital World Traveller Radio Software supports decoding of all DRM modes and is compatible with Windows 2000, XP Home Edition and XP Professional.

"We are very excited about the introduction of the Digital World Traveller" Peter Senger, Chairman of the DRM consortium, said. "Just after one year of DRM being officially in service, it is a great achievement to offer such an innovative and affordable receiver to our listeners."

Added Stefan Meltzer, Vice President Business Development at Coding Technologies: "It has been a pleasure to work with our partners at AFG Engineering, FhG, Himalaya and Micronas to make the Digital World Traveller a reality. We are convinced that this ambitious project will contribute to the success of Digital Radio Mondiale by giving an easier access to the technology for a broader community."

The Digital World Traveller will be demonstrated at the booth of Digital Radio Mondiale in hall 8, booth # 8.484 and will be on sale after the IBC at a price of €199+VAT. The package includes the Digital World Traveller receiver box, the Digital World Traveller Radio Software and operation manual on CD, USB cable, and wire antenna.

For more information, visit www.codingtechnologies.com and www.mp3prozone.com
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Old 04-09-2004, 08:26   #2
dk8cb
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Hi,

but there are still unanswered questions:

How much of the decoding is done in this external USB device?

Does it contain the long awaited DRM chipset?

The latest edition of the german magazine c't contains an article about DRM in which a "design study" of such a device, probably exactly this one, and a picture of the circuit board (unfortunately only one side of it) are shown.

Roland
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Old 05-09-2004, 01:27   #3
Connor Walsh
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A great price at least!
But is there any point in asking for a Mac version? Probably more than just drivers needed though.. If it was more than a software radio, wouldn't it cost more, and wouldn't they make a fuss about it?
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Old 05-09-2004, 15:25   #4
Doctor Daemon
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I hope too that there will be a Macintosh version. This thing would be the perfect mate for my iBook. For my Home PC it wouldnt make much sense, because I already have my TenTec connected to it.
Let's hope one of the deveolpers is reading this forum.
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Old 05-09-2004, 15:39   #5
DigiBC
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Hi!
Quote:
Originally posted by dk8cb
How much of the decoding is done in this external USB device?
Does it contain the long awaited DRM chipset?
I don’t think so since they say:
Quote:
The included Digital World Traveller Radio Software supports decoding of all DRM modes...
I suppose the receiver will work conventionally: It'll probably send a 12 kHz IF signal to the computer, but not analogue via the soundcard but digital via the USB interface.
There have been some studies (by Sat-Service Schneider and others) using a Micronas USB sound chip for the A/D conversion of the IF signal right after the mixer unit. So no one would have to worry about the DRM capabilities of the build-in soundcard of a computer (laptop).
If Plug & Play recognizes the sound chip as an USB sound card other decoding software than the "Digital World Traveller Radio Software" (which perhaps will be based on the "DRM Software Radio") could be used too: "Dream", especially if the receiver is added to "Hamlib" ("Ham Radio Control Libraries"), and some decoder programs for analogue modes (AM, SSB, CW, RTTY...) should work then.

I hope we'll get some technical information and pictures after the start of the IBC next weekend because I consider the receiver a very interesting concept (and a cheap alternative to the announced external WiNRADiOs).

Regards - DigiBC
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Old 05-09-2004, 18:08   #6
dk8cb
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Quote:
and a cheap alternative to the announced external WiNRADiOs


Sorry, it may be cheaper than the WinRadio, but if it is just a dumb receiver, I don't consider it really cheap at 199 EUR + VAT.
Compare e.g. to a stand-alone WorldSpace receiver, which you can get for less than half the price.

OK, compared to the heavily overprized Elektor receiver, it may be considered to be a cheap device.


Roland

Last edited by dk8cb : 05-09-2004 at 18:13.
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:43   #7
markp
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Quote:
Originally posted by Connor Walsh
A great price at least!
But is there any point in asking for a Mac version? Probably more than just drivers needed though.. If it was more than a software radio, wouldn't it cost more, and wouldn't they make a fuss about it?

Sadly, it seems often too much to ask for in the world of radio - almost all devices are always firmly fixed to the realm of Wintel.
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:59   #8
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All too true Markp! Someone at the DReaM forums said a few times he was working on a port of that for Mac OS X, and I think I heard somewhere Apple is working on an AAC+ update for iTunes... So maybe there will be frameworks in place for developers to use (that'a total speculation as I don't understand programming at all).
But there is still the dilemma of convincing someone to actually write the software for us!
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Old 06-09-2004, 17:27   #9
DigiBC
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Hi,

I've received a product sheet from Coding Technologies with some additional information:
Quote:
The Digital World Traveller is a small, universal and easy to use mobile radio receiver for reception of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) broadcasts, the new standard for digital broadcasting below 30 MHz, as well as for analogue broadcasts in the FM and AM bands.
The Digital World Traveller consists of a receiver box, which is connected to a Notebook/PC over USB, and a software to control the receiver box and to perform the decoding of the DRM broadcasts. The software controls all functions of the Digital World Traveller and allows the storage of up to 10 stations for each frequency band. In the DRM mode, the software indicates the available service components and text messages of a DRM broadcast. An expert mode window provides additional information about the service components and also displays the spectrum of the received signal.
The receiver box is powered over the USB interface, so no external power supply is required.
The supported DRM modes are well known from the "DRM Software Radio" (so no support for 18 / 20 kHz wide DRM signals).

A picture of the PCB of a prototype was published by German computer magazine c't today (see attached file).
It's not good enough to read the markings on the chips but I think the left one is a Micronas UAC355xB sound chip (with a separate EEPROM and a 12 MHz crystal). The other 32 pin chip seems to be an integrated PLL AM/FM receiver circuit.
I've got no idea what reception quality to expect from it, but since it doesn't look like a DDS circuit I wouldn't assume high SNR levels.

The receiver appears to be build for common consumers, who feel attracted to DRM, but not for enthusiasts like us.
Perhaps we'll know more as soon as the first tests will be coming in. (But I'd agree with Roland that it won't be a competitor to the WiNRADiOs...)

@ markp / Connor:
I'm sure that there would be a Mac version of "Dream" if someone with knowledge in Mac OS programming would join the "Dream Team"...

Regards - DigiBC

Last edited by DigiBC : 06-09-2004 at 20:02.
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Old 06-09-2004, 18:17   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Connor Walsh
All too true Markp! Someone at the DReaM forums said a few times he was working on a port of that for Mac OS X, and I think I heard somewhere Apple is working on an AAC+ update for iTunes...

You can just use FAAD2 on Mac OS X, which is the decoder that Dream uses for HE-AAC, no need for iTunes.
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Old 06-09-2004, 21:49   #11
Connor Walsh
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Quote:
You can just use FAAD2 on Mac OS X, which is the decoder that Dream uses for HE-AAC, no need for iTunes.

So why can't they just give us Mac OS support for Winradio, this new radio, the official software radio ?
Garf, do you have experience of making Dream work on Mac OS X? I might ask you for some help if that's ok, as it didn't work out the few times I tried.
Like DigiBC says, I guess it is kind of a chicken and egg situation, with few applications and developers making them for Mac OS X? I've realised this is going off topic, perhaps we should start a separate Mac OS thread?

Returning to the topic (!) a more general purpose receiver is a big step forward. I saw the recent figure that the consortium wants to have millions of receivers here in China in 2005, and this trend of straight forward USB radios with an antenna is definitely a way to make that more possible!
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Old 06-09-2004, 22:16   #12
dk8cb
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Quote:
Originally posted by DigiBC
The other 32 pin chip seems to be an integrated PLL AM/FM receiver circuit.

Hi,

I don't think it is an RF chip, it looks more like an Atmel microcontroller. I think I can recognize the Atmel logo (I'm not looking at the scan, but at the respective magazine page). It's my opinion, that the RF tuner is either on the lower side of the pcb or not yet installed. Could well be that the tuner fits into the large empty space in the right half.

Roland
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Old 07-09-2004, 11:15   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Connor Walsh
So why can't they just give us Mac OS support for Winradio, this new radio, the official software radio ?

I think those softwares were simply not written with portability in mind and Windows is still the largest market.

Quote:
Garf, do you have experience of making Dream work on Mac OS X? I might ask you for some help if that's ok, as it didn't work out the few times I tried.

Sure, you can contact me at gcp at sjeng dot org.

I am pretty sure (>99% ) Dream works on Mac. The GUI it uses is totally crossplatform and supported on Mac, and FAAD2 should work as well. Maybe only the sound input/output needs some small adjustments, and perhaps some other small fixes.
The problem is just that none of the Dream developers or I have a Mac :-/
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Old 07-09-2004, 13:24   #14
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Thanks so much Garf! I'll give it another go and get back to you when things don't work
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Old 07-09-2004, 21:13   #15
DigiBC
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This thread is getting a bit mixed up since two different topics are discussed.
So please don't mind if I suggest to open an new thread if you want to discuss "Dream" for Mac OS. Maybe it would be even better to start a thread at the "Dream Forum":
http://sourceforge.net/forum/forum.php?forum_id=242204


Getting back to our interesting speculations about the PCB:
You may be right, Roland. The logo on the second chip really looks much like "Atmel" but I don't think it's a microcontroller because of all the (ceramic) filters around it. (Maybe it's an AM/FM front-end circuit like Atmel's T4258N.)
I'd also agree that there could be a small, shielded RF tuner unit containing a PLL chip (not shown in the picture). That might explain the 6 pin socket.

If I take a look at a reference design board by MicronasNIT (see attached file) it could still be a single chip receiver solution too.

Regards - DigiBC
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