You are here

An Audio Bridge to Good Music

Is the digital multimedia home finally here?  Media hubs and PC-centric solutions have come and gone, too expensive or not offering the right features; but the BridgeCo Inc. DM870 Networked Media Processor and JukeBlox software platform offers a simple, inexpensive way to connect multiple devices in the digital home.  The DM870 can deliver quality audio or pictures from the Internet or other sources to PCs, entertainment centers or home theater systems, and it is inexpensive enough to be used in iPod docks, clock radios or table-top radios. A major inhibitor to the realization of the digital home has been the confusing jumble of digital standards.  PCs, TVs, set-top boxes, entertainment centers and cell phones all have their own unique standards for the compression, transmission or display of digital information.  To help overcome this problem, the manufacturers of consumer electronics devices have proposed a standard, DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance), that allows home entertainment devices to share their content on a home network, using a DLNA interface built into each device.  The DLNA interface will be built into hundreds of millions of consumer devices. DM870 Networked Media Processor converts multiple standards, including JPEG, MP3, AAC, FLAC, FLAC HD, WMA, RTSP/SDP, Shoutcast and others into a DLNA signal, but it takes the concept one step further.  The DM870 can transmit or receive that DLNA signal wirelessly, using a standard 802.11n Wi-FI router.  Thus, digital information can be streamed wirelessly between dissimilar consumer devices anywhere in a home. The most elegant semiconductor solutions provide complexity in an IC that is extremely easy for an engineer use.  The DM870 is an excellent example of that concept.  It combines three cores, a Wi-Fi transceiver and all of the required interfaces in one IC.  A design engineer can use that IC in an A/V Receiver, a TV, a PC, and FM/AM radio or almost any other kind of consumer product imaginable without needing to deal with converting a digital standard to the DLNA standard or building in a Wi-Fi transceiver. BridgeCo’s first target is streaming audio.  Practically unnoticed, the music industry is going through a second revolution.  The first was iTunes, which made a wide selection of music available on a stylish player at economical prices.  The second is “free” Internet radio.  There are more than 10,000 radio stations on the Internet.  There are a number of Web sites that will help a listener find one or more of those stations with the kind of music the listener likes.  In addition, services such as, Pandora, Rhapsody and others that will build playlists of streaming music based on a user’s preferences.  Another Web site,, registers the tracks in a user’s iTunes file and then builds playlists from the iTunes music the user already owns.  The DM870 will allow a PC user to stream music from the Web throughout a home to home entertainment centers, radios or other devices – with our without the PC.  With audio conquered, video will be next. Semico Spin For more than ten years, the potential for linking PCs, TVs, entertainment centers, cell phones and other digital devices in a multimedia home has been obvious, but the obstacles have been formidable.  The largest single obstacle has probably been the competition for digital home dominance between several industries, including at least the PC, broadcast TV, telephone, and cell phone industries.  All sought to be the digital hub and monopolize content delivery.  The consumer products industry was seldom seen as a real competitor. Now, with the DLNA standard, the consumer products industry may have emerged with the real solution.  With inexpensive interfaces available, the BridgeCo DM870 Networked Media Processor and JukeBlox software as an example, there is no need for an expensive hub.  The standards conversion can be accomplished at each node within the product itself. The problem will be attaining critical mass.  The DLNA standard must become well known and so widespread that consumers begin to demand it.  The fact that the DLNA standard is backed by consumer product companies is a plus.  The companies in that industry have a huge amount of traction.