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DTV demodulator delivers full integration

Posted: 26 Aug 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:atsc dtv? micronas semiconductors? drx-h?

DRX-H demodulator

Aiming to deliver compliance to ATSC DTV applications in the United States with the FCC Tuner Mandate, design and manufacturing firm Micronas Semiconductors Inc. rolled out its DRX-H family of multistandard 8VSB/QAM/QPSK/NTSC demodulator products, primarily intended for DTV applications, STBs, multimedia PCs, DVD recorders, PVRs and tuner modules. The FCC Tuner Mandate requires TV manufacturers to integrate digital receivers into televisions and other consumer electronics devices by certain deadlines.

Stefan Szasz, ATSC marketing manager at California-based Micronas, said that breakthroughs have been accomplished with the company's proprietary primeD technology implemented in DRX-H. The technology includes the integration of a high-end NTSC demodulator, which the company claims was unsuccessfully attempted by several competitors.

"Micronas has a long and successful history in the analog demodulator market. We see NTSC as a must-have for the foreseeable futureeven after analog terrestrial broadcasts will have ceased to exist in the United Statesbecause legacy devices such as VCRs, game consoles, DVD players and STBs rely on CH 3/4 modulator outputs to connect to a TV," Szasz said.

Full integration of the LINX Electronics IP into a single chip is also achieved by DRX-H. The company claims LINX IP is a high-performance ATSC-compliant demodulator proven by field and comparison testing.

DRX-H combines the "ghost" (signal reflection) energy with the received signal instead of canceling it, which results in an improved performance margin under difficult signal conditions. Another feature is the handling of "bobbling ghosts," a signal condition caused by slow swaying of the transmitter antenna on large towers and buildings.

Signal reflections or echoes create reception problems for DTV systems by introducing a time-delayed, but otherwise identical signal to the receiver. These echoes exceed the level of the desired signal, disrupting reception in most solutions.

"The integration of all the features required for analog and digital, terrestrial and cable TV reception, as well as VSB, QAM, NTSC, BTSC and QPSK, into one chip is unparalleled today," Szasz added.

DRX-H integrates an ATSC A/53-compliant 8VSB demodulator with an ITU-T J.83 Annex B-compliant QAM demodulator, an NTSC demodulator, a BTSC decoder, an out of band (OOB) QPSK demodulator and an OOB local oscillator for seamless integration into digital cable-ready TV sets.

"Micronas is always working on improving performance and reducing cost in existing designs and new products aimed at leapfrogging technology and complete system integration. Our ability to offer complete system solutions will continue to be a clear benefit in conjunction with our DTV system SoCs," said Szasz.

Micronas conquered Europe's DTV market by establishing a strategic market vision and technology leadership with its DVB-T demodulator technology. Szasz claimed that DRX-H is a solid product that relies on proven and demonstrated IP.

The DRX-H is optimized for applications ranging from flat panel HDTVs to highly space-constrained integrated tuner/demodulator modules. All features of the DRX-H are controlled via a standard I?C interface and the solution has its own on-chip memory.

Four versions of the DRX-H are available, each with corresponding ASP and functionalities to bring a good cost-versus-feature ratio to different applications. All are available in a 14-by-20mm 128-pin QFP package. The DRX-H solution includes a range of software modules to control the device. All modules share a common API that allows customers to complete their design and get to production quickly.

"Our DRX-H product family will improve reception and simplify system design, thanks to its high level of integration. The DRX-H complements our picture processing and enhancement technologies with our demodulator technology," added Szasz.

- Reden Mateo
Electronic Engineering Times-Asia

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