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Project Accounts

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  • Project 03
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PROJECT ACCOUNTS  Developing a vehicle-mounted digital tuner A sensational debut, significantly lower priced than competitive models Manager, Engineering Headquarters Eiji Miyokawa Joined company in 2006

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This is not a miracle. It is the product of necessity made possible by a corporate climate free of organizational barriers.
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Is it possible to transfer the development results for the digital receiver for home use to one for vehicle-mounted use?

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How did the development start?
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We were wondering if it was possible to port the developments for the home-use digital high-vision tuner, commercialized in 2006, to a different application. Sales spoke up and mentioned a definite need existed for a vehicle-mounted version. Thus, the project got its start. It was the open exchange between sales only a floor away and our engineering team that mobilized this new product development project.

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What is the concept of this product?
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To bring the picture quality of home-use terrestrial digital TV to cars. Simply put, the picture quality of analog TV in cars is incredibly poor. Which is why the benefits of the digital format are more conducive for vehicle use than home use. That being the case, we decided we should focus on full segment receptions for the home.

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The absence of barriers between business units led to the successful implementation of this project.

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But did a sales channel already exist?
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No. However, sales were very enthusiastic about developing one. Not having an existing sales channel in Japan was our strong point in that we were free from any obligatory ties. In addition, since there are no barriers between the business departments for vehicle and home use applications, engineering had free rein on development. Large-scale companies in the same industry don't have this luxury.

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What were the key technical points to this development?
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One key element was the development of a front end for vehicle mounting. This is the circuit block that extracts the necessary data from the waves received by the antenna. Whereas a home application only requires one tuner, we knew that by combining the results received from multiple tuners, we could create a noiseless picture. The question was how many tuner lines did it need? We built a prototype and put it through several actual road tests before finally arriving at a 4-tuner digital diversity front end.

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Extensive know-how from our work with communication equipment made all the difference.

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How did you carry out the actual road test?
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We repeated the test twice every week over a six-month period, accompanied by our counterparts in sales. Of course, the competitors' products were also on board for these tests. Sometimes we even had to write software on site. We were able to check that it was possible to demodulate data as long as one antenna was receiving, unless all four failed to receive at the same time. We also made further improvements to reception accuracy. Obviously at this point, the know-how gained from our work with communication equipment was a huge help.

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Clearing cost issues through integrated development of hardware and software

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Were there any other key technical points?
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The second key element was the development of a video engine for both full segment and one segment broadcasts. Full segment broadcasts cannot be viewed in mountainous and other areas with weak radio wave reception. But one-segment broadcasts can, even in a substandard reception environment. However, adding the hardware for processing one-segment broadcasts increased the cost. So, we decided to process one-segment data only by software. I can proudly say that our policy not to outsource software development is a strength that only Uniden has.

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Hidefumi Miyokawa
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PROFILE

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Hidefumi Miyokawa ਍਀ഊഊ Manager, Engineering Headquarters
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Development and design leader for vehicle-mounted digital tuners for the Japanese market. The digital tuner made an impressive debut on the market in 2007 at almost half the price of competitive models.

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