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Sharp unveils first DVB-H front-end tuner

Posted: 15 Nov 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:sharp microelectronics? dvb-h? front-end module?

Sharp Microelectronics Europe has unveiled the industry's first DVB-H front-end module designed to meet high speed and low power requirements for the emerging European mobile TV standard.

The standard was developed for automobile and mobile phone applications. The module was unveiled early this week at the Electronica show.

The core mobile TV tuner chip, designed and manufactured by Sharp, also marks the Japanese company's entry into IC production based on a SiGe process, according to Maximilian Huber, president of Sharp Microelectronics Europe.

Sharp recently renovated its standard IC fab located in Osaka, Japan, to handle the SiGe process. Huber said Sharp has begun operations at the fab for a front-end module based on a similar Japanese terrestrial digital TV standard for mobile applications called "ISDB-T 1 segment" broadcasting.

Japan's ISDB-T 1 segment spec is similar to the European DVB-H standard, "with perhaps 10 percent difference," Huber said. "We are reusing that technology to complete our DVB-H module, scheduled for rolling out to limited customers in the spring of 2005."

Sharp claimed its DVB-H front-end module reduces the power consumption of mobile TV reception to less than 100mW for the first time. The new module combines a tuner unit with circuits for decoding DVB-H signals, demultiplexing, OFDM demodulation and MPE FEC IP data correction.

The SiGe process is the key to balancing signal strength versus noise immunity, according to Huber. "When strong signals are coming in, the germanium portion can override the input. Meanwhile, the silicon can pick up the signals when the incoming signals are weak," he explained.

Huber said Sharp is already participating in one of the DVB-H field tests currently taking place in Finland.

Convinced that DVB-H is going to be a big market, Sharp has decided to move into the DVB-H market early by embracing the emerging standard. "Our strategy is to get into the market early and to become one of the top three players in DVB-H," said Huber.

Sharp's DVB-H module comes with an operating temperature range of -20C to 85C degrees, with a plan to improve the tuner range further down to -40C.

DVB-H modules are expected to be designed into automotive, mobile communication and consumer portable devices.

- Junko Yoshida

EE Times

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