New Radio Tuner Architecture – Moving the Radio and Antenna Closer Together

March 03, 2020 // By Steffen Lang, TE Connectivity
New Radio Tuner Architecture – Moving the Radio and Antenna Closer Together
The radio tuner and antenna enjoy a mutually dependent relationship. It’s not just about integrating the radio tuner and antenna in any old place in the vehicle, it’s about integrating them as close to each other as possible within the installation space.

The close proximity of radio tuner and antenna offers a number of important advantages for automotive manufacturers. To achieve this, a modified E/E architecture is essential and so has to be taken into account at an early stage. All the reception electronics for terrestrial radio are contained in a remote tuner module (RTM), which is positioned as close as possible to the antenna. This brings advantages in terms of cost, weight and, above all, quality – advantages that the industry is increasingly coming to recognize. The trend toward RTMs is continuing unabated and is set to change the architecture of in-car radios forever.

Despite the increasing popularity of streaming services, audiobooks and podcasts, the radio remains the number one in-car medium, thanks above all to the immediacy of the information broadcast, its ease of use, constant availability and wide selection of broadcasting stations. Even if some experts are already predicting the end of the radio both in cars and in general, cars without radios remain inconceivable for the foreseeable future.

Since they were invented 100 years ago, radios have undergone continuous development encompassing everything from subtle tweaks to whole new radio standards. Digitalization in radio technology again brought new standards offering enhanced functionality. The DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) system was introduced in Europe, while the US had HD radio and Japan ISDB-T for radio and TV. And China is currently developing its own digital radio standard. In parallel with these developments, however, many of the old, traditional services such as AM/FM radio are being switched off. But whatever the trend, automotive manufacturers and suppliers are constantly faced with new challenges. The market is in flux.

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