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More News From CES

Bits From Frontier, Fraunhofer, SRS

Numerous items of interest are out on the consumer electronics front, from (or timed to) the big International CES show. Here are several more:

-Frontier Silicon announced its first digital radio receiver module “specifically optimized for slave mode operation in a wide range of home audio products.” It is for integration into mini and micro Hi-Fi systems, iPod docking systems, Home Theatre in a Box and other home audio products. It is WorldDMB Profile 1 compliant; it can be used in countries that have adopted the Eureka-147 standard like the U.K., Germany, France, Australia, Switzerland and Scandinavia. It is based on the DAB/DAB+/DMB-Radio Kino 3 baseband chip and firmware from Frontier Silicon. The standard version supports Band III for DAB and Band II for FM/RDS; a version that adds DAB in L Band is available. The company said digital radio listening “is increasing rapidly in many markets, driven by consumers wanting to listen to the exciting new digital radio-only content and crystal-clear audio on their HTiB and Hi-Fi systems.”

-Fraunhofer IIS and Texas Instruments announced availability of MPEG Surround audio streaming on TI’s DSP platform. “Manufacturers of TI-powered consumer electronics devices such as AV receivers will have easy access to the Fraunhofer MPEG Surround decoding software as part of the recently announced TI Network Audio SDK,” they stated. “With Fraunhofer’s technology, Internet broadcasters and pure-play music services will be able to provide an immersive surround audio experience to consumers that will clearly distinguish them from their competitors. MPEG Surround allows the cost-efficient delivery of surround audio at stereo bit rates as low as 64 kbps for 5.1-channels. Users can enjoy the streams in the highest quality on surround-enabled devices and stereo equipment made possible with the stereo-compatible nature of the codec. With the integration of MPEG Surround into TI’s Networked Audio Software Development Kit (nSDK), audio consumer electronics manufacturers will be able to bring multichannel streaming products to market with significantly reduced software development effort.”

-SRS Labs announced SRS Premium Voice Pro, a “business-centric” PC audio suite. It promises superior voice intelligibility for improved communication and optimized audio performance in multimedia. “The PC is both a communication and entertainment hub for modern business travelers who, in greater frequency, are relying on their laptops, notebooks and highly portable tablets and slates as a means to communicate with colleagues via VoIP applications, such as Skype, MSN Live Messenger, GoogleTalk or Apple FaceTime, as well as enjoy music, movies and television shows using multimedia portals, such as Hulu, YouTube and Netflix,” it stated. “The increasing popularity and use of these applications have collectively sparked the need for the advanced capabilities afforded by SRS Premium Voice Pro.” It uses audio and voice technologies that “effectively maximize speaker performance and output, reduce ambient background noise, provide remarkable improvements to voice intelligibility, optimize bass performance and enhance high-frequency definition.”

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