Browse Publications Technical Papers 2004-21-0001
2004-10-18

Evolution of the Car Radio: From Vacuum Tubes to Satellite and Beyond 2004-21-0001

The evolution of car radio in the past seven decades is a perfect illustration of the convergence of diverse technical fields: RF electronics, mobile wireless communications, the Internet, personal computers, consumer electronics, and automotive human machine interfaces. The early part of the radio evolution was driven by the need to improve the received audio signal quality while in the past two decades the driver has been to increase the channel capacity and to enhance the degree of personalization. Besides traditional AM/FM programming, today's radios also play a variety of media such as cassette tape, CD, MP3, DVD-A etc. as well as over 100 channels of satellite digital audio programs. Going forward, we believe that the radio will continue to be the entertainment center of the vehicle, and that the consumers are expecting to have access to personalized information anywhere and anytime. To fulfill this vision, the next generation of radios will likely be based on some computing platform with sizeable built-in memory and running software-defined functions and features. It will also have built-in broadband two-way communications to simplify the consolidation and management of music and data files and to enable future dynamically reconfigurable applications.

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