Solid-state, GaN driving FM brodcast transmitter growth

December 22, 2017 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Market research firm, ReportsnReports predicts that the global FM broadcast transmitter market will to grow at a CAGR of 8.05 percent during the period 2017-2021.

According to the firm, one trend in the market is growing demand for solid-state transmitters. Such solid-state transmitters are used for modern transmitter designs that are up to a few hundred watts and comprise either discrete transistors or ICs.

The report notes that a key driver in the market is use of GaN power ICs in FM broadcast transmitters. In power conversion, to achieve fast switching along with high efficiency, vendors use small, lightweight, and low-cost IC chipsets. Topology, magnetic materials, and power switches are factors that need to be considered to achieve small, lightweight IC chips. The use of soft-switching techniques along with novel GaN power ICs and updated high-frequency-optimized transformers and inductors boosts the efficiency and power density in AC and DC converters. Quasi-resonant flyback (QRF) or forward converters are traditional hard-switching topologies used in ICs.

Further, the report states that one challenge in the market is high growth of online radio services. The adoption of portable smart electronic devices, such as smartphones, and use of new audio media, such as live streaming of music, have changed the way individuals consume audio. Physical formats and digital downloads are being replaced by online streaming sites, including Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and Pandora. However, they are yet to fully replace the live radio. The rapid adoption of these services is posing a challenge to FM services.

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