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Mirics bags design win in multiband TV receiver chip

Posted: 30 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:TV receiver? wireless module? design win?

Mirics Semiconductor Ltd has won its first design win for its FlexiTV multiband receiver chip from Taiwan wireless module specialist AzureWave Technologies, which is using it in part in preparation for PC TV receivers.

AzureWave works with several ODMs who will use the module in a range of notebook and laptop PCs that will be shipping by the middle of next year.

"This is a major design win that promotes our concept of multistandard chips for broadcast reception on notebooks with demodulation software that can run on a host microprocessor CPU and is cost effective," said Chris Cytera, Mirics' FlexiTV product line director.

He added that the module will likely be sold in a mini-card format and will be able to receive signals in DVB-T, DAB and FM format and make possible reception on notebooks with significantly lower costs and smaller size than current single-standard PC TV solutions.

Cytera Systems Inc. said Mirics is working on other demodulation schemes that will make the "polyband" tuner chip fit for other standards via a software fix, with the initial emphasis being on the Chinese CMMB and Japanese ISDB-T Seg.1 specifications, and others to follow, including the ATSC-MH that is emerging for the U.S.

"The DVB-T and DAB covers a lot of the Far Eastern and European markets, but the attach rate for PCTV is likely to increase in all regions, helped by advances like ours," said Cytera.

He said industry figures suggest there will be between five to eight million laptops equipped with TV receivers this year, from a total shipment of between 110 and 120 million units. He added that, "We anticipate a massive increase that will see attach rates raised to about 10 percent by 2009 soaring to perhaps 30 percent by late 2010."

Patrick Lin, engineering director, AzureWave, part of the giant ASUStek Computer Inc. group, commented in a statement: "Many geographical regions require reception of multiple TV and radio standards, which can increase the cost of adding TV and radio on notebooks. But making use of the host CPU, which is otherwise idling, greatly reduces the system cost and form factor. It also substantially widens the number of standards that can be supported with just one hardware platform, bringing economy of scale to our customers."

Cytera noted that the CPU can cope with multitasking and power drain whenever necessary because the company developed proprietary algorithms for the demodulation that makes the hardware highly optimized to run on the PC CPU.

When Mirics announced the FlexiTV chip in May this year, it stressed that by driving the complex demodulation work to the host, it can deliver a design with RF section, host interface and demodulation software for a BOM of $5 when delivered in mini-card format.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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