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Low-power silicon tuners deliver high quality signal

Posted: 13 Aug 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:silicon tuner  cable TV  digital 

MaxLinear Inc. has rolled out the MxL20xRF family of silicon tuners developed for the global digital cable market. This new family of devices is aimed at STBs, DVRs, cable modems, EMTAs, cable gateways and cable-enabled TVs.

The MxL20xRF family uses MaxLinear's digital CMOS process-based technology to deliver the highest performance in accordance with the ANSI/SCTE40, DOCSIS/EURODOCSIS and ITU-T J.83 cable industry standards. The devices feature integrated channel filtering and on-chip 94dB gain to deliver high quality signal reception of weak signals even under conditions of significant channel loading, severe transmission spectrum tilt, and strong adjacent digital and analogue channel blockers.

The new tuners consume only 400mW of power each, meaning a four-tuner, channel agile DOCSIS 3.0 system can be built with the power budget of just one competing device, which typically consumes more than 1.6W of power and has limited capture bandwidth. They also offer the smallest tuner footprint enabling designers to implement ultracompact front-end solutions, especially for complex, multi-tuner DVR/PVRs and transport gateways.

The low power properties of the MxL20xRF tuners facilitate compliance with Energy Star standards in both standby and operating modes. Additionally, the new tuners can be implemented on simple two-layer PCBs and do not require any provisions for thermal management, which saves costs associated with the fans, shields and heat sinks required for competing tuners.

Measuring only 5mm x 5mm in a 32-pin QFN package, the MxL20xRF tuners feature very high levels of integration resulting in a low BOM cost and providing manufacturers a lower cost front-end solution for new product designs and an aggressive cost down path for existing designs.

"The cable TV systems market has the hallmarks of the next great growth opportunity for MaxLinear—a desire for low power and small size thanks to the popularity of multi-tuner designs and a growing requirement to reduce power consumption. Using our tuner, the power consumption of every tuner in a cable box can be reduced by nearly 1W. If we assume a market size of about 15 crore cable-tuner units in North America, 150MW of power generation and consumption can be eliminated annually. So, this is an incredibly green solution," said Kishore Seendripu, CEO of MaxLinear. "Our MxL20xRF tuners allow cable CPE manufacturers to deliver the smallest and lowest power cable digital transport adapters, and greatly ease the design and lower the cost and power of more complex multi-tuner STBs and residential gateways."

All of MaxLinear's products are based on a standard digital CMOS architecture.

The products in the family include the MxL201RF, which was developed mainly for the North American cable markets, but can be used for any digital cable application as it supports digital cable standards including ITU-T J.83 Annexes A and C [DVB-C] for Europe, China and India and Annex B [North American Cable], DOCSIS, and EURODOCSIS as well as digital terrestrial reception standards (DVB-T/H, ATSC, ISDB-T and DTMB).

The MXL203RF was developed specifically for China, Europe and India DVB-C markets.

The MxL201RF and MxL203RF are in production and are shipping to key customers.

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