First single chip RF front-end for direct broadcast satellite

At a recent press conference in London, US company Silicon Laboratories released details of what it says is the industry’s first fully-integrated single-chip satellite RF front-end for direct broadcast satellite (DBS).

The Si21xx devices, which are the inaugural product in the company’s SiRX family, are ideally suited for all free-to-air (FTA) and pay-TV DBS equipment including satellite set-top boxes, PC cards for satellite TV, DBS receivers for automotive or avionic use, DVD recorders and digital TVs with integrated satellite receivers.

By exploiting its RF expertise in CMOS and building upon the company’s IP for minimising digital-to-analog crosstalk, the company’s SiRX satellite RF front-end integrates a high-performance satellite L-band RF tuner, a dual-mode DVB-S/DSS digital demodulator and a power-efficient, step-up supply controller for the low-noise block converter (LNB) into a single 6 x 8 mm CMOS solution.

The integration of the LNB supply controller is an industry-first and includes support for DiSEqC 2.x and legacy tone/voltage LNB signalling. The SiRX devices also support an on-chip hardware blindscan feature that improves channel scan time by a factor of 10 when compared to many existing solutions. This feature radically reduces set-top box installation time for FTA applications where channel locations are unknown.

The SiRX family provides best-in-class performance, meeting or exceeding key RF front-end requirements such as sensitivity, intermodulation distortion, receiver implementation loss and LNB peripheral support, says Silicon Laboratories The integration of the tuner, demodulator and LNB supply functions eliminates the need for external signaling among three separate ICs, which greatly simplifies the required software-programming overhead as well as the number of board signal traces typical of competing solutions. The single-chip RF-to-digital architecture of the SiRX satellite RF front-end family reduces design time and allows an easy conversion from terrestrial or cable reception to satellite reception for existing designs.

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