Tesla upgrade dumps radio | radioinfo

Tesla upgrade dumps radio

Tuesday 17 March, 2020

Tesla is offering its owners an upgrade to their entertainment system to "access new features, as well as a more advanced and smoother user experience."

There's one problem though. The new upgrade will remove AM, FM and Sirius (USA) radio from the system.

Tesla's update briefing note says:

"Owners of Model S and Model X built March 2018 or earlier will be eligible to purchase an Infotainment Upgrade, enabling access to some of our favorite features like video streaming and an expanded Tesla Arcade, in addition to a more responsive and faster touchscreen experience. Eligible owners will be invited by email to schedule an appointment to purchase and install the Infotainment Upgrade through Tesla Service... for $2,500...

"Your touchscreen will be more responsive and smoother, rendering images and web pages faster. You’ll also gain additional features that enhance both the entertainment and functionality of your car."

then goes on to note:

"Some audio and music features will be removed from your car as a result of this change... You will still have access to internet radio and music streaming, including streaming over Bluetooth."

The change is listed as an "improvement," although Australian Tesla drivers who drive beyond Australia's cell phone zones may not agree with the term.

With recent bushfires knocking out other forms of communication, broadcast radio is consdiered an essential service. Europe has mandated that all cars sold there should receive free to air digital radio signals. It may well be that defect notices could be issued to cars in Australia or Europe if they do not have free to air radio receivers.

The new console will look like this.

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17 March 2020 - 4:51pm
Well AM radio has been around 100 years. How long can it go on?
Anthony The Koala
18 March 2020 - 2:09pm
It is ridiculous reducing AM, FM and satellite radio by mere software upgrade. That is the potential to receive AM, FM and satellite radio is still there but the user cannot access. This is regress not progress imposed by Tesla rather than being requested by Tesla customers.

This is my speculation, that the radio unit installed by Telsa must be a software defined radio ('SDR'). In a simple explanation, instead of placing components specific to a frequency band, the software defines the demodulation and decoding of the radio signal.

I first discovered SDR while experimenting with a USB TV Tuner dongle. Using the 'primitive' software supplied with the USB TV Tuner, one could change the frequencies from as low as 30MHz and choose a particular demodulation such as FM. In addition the bandwidth of the filters could be altered. One could choose frequencies such that one could listen to narrowcast FM services provided by Languages Other Than English ('LOTE') radio stations.

Thus it would not surprise me that DRM could be programmed into the Tesla's head unit.

It's a stupid policy to reduce the number of services to IP-based streaming services including VOD. IP streaming is dependent on a data plan with the ISP.

Note that satellite radio in the US is a subscription service.

We've also read and learned from commentator to this site Mr StJohn that satellite radio as used in the US is dependent on the car's dipole antenna not being in direct line of site of the satellite by obstructions such as trees and rain. Dipole antennas have less gain than a parabolic dish. Mr StJohn mentioned that for moving transport carriers such as cars and ships, parabolic dishes require a servo system moving the dish towards the satellite's direction.

Then if Tesla wish to expand to include 5G, the issue then becomes the ability of the radio receiver to decode 5G signals in environments such as a brick wall that may attenuate the 25GHz signal.

Therefore, even though AM and FM is 'old' technology, it certainly can be heard if there is something between the tx and rx such as rain, tree and a brick/concrete wall. For the latter, the signal may be able to go between the steel-reinforcing bars.

Thank you,
Anthony of collegiate Belfield
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