Electronic Design

Cable TV Tuners Deliver Higher Performance WIth Ultra-Low Power Consumption

MaxLinear developed its MxL20xRF family of silicon tuners for the global digital cable market. These devices target set-top-boxes (STBs), digital video recorders (DVRs), cable modems, embedded multimedia terminal adapters (EMTAs), cable gateways, and cable-enabled televisions. The MxL20xRF family uses MaxLinear’s proprietary digital CMOS process 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, 94-dB gain to deliver high-quality signal reception of weak signals even under significant channel loading, severe transmission spectrum tilt, and strong adjacent digital and analog channel blockers.

The tuners consume only 400 mW each, meaning a fourtuner, channel-agile DOCSIS 3.0 system can be built with the power budget of just one competing device, which typically consumes more than 1.6 W and has limited capture bandwidth. Measuring only 5 by 5 mm in a 32-pin quad flat no-lead (QFN) package, they also offer the smallest tuner footprint, enabling designers to implement ultra-compact front-end solutions, especially for complex, multi-tuner DVR/PVRs and transport gateways. The new tuners can be implemented on simple two-layer printed-circuit boards (PCBs), and they don’t require any provisions for thermal management, which saves costs associated with the fans, shields, and heatsinks required for competing tuners.

“Using our tuner, the power consumption of every tuner in a cable box can be reduced by nearly 1 W,” says Kishore Seendripu, MaxLinear’s CEO. “If we assume a market size of about 150 million cable-tuner units in North America, 150 MW of power generation and consumption can be eliminated annually. So, this is an incredibly green solution.”

The MxL201RF tunes over the 44- to 1002-MHz range (see the figure). The IF output is programmable. No external surface acoustic wave (SAW) filters are needed, as selectivity is built in. Bandwidths of 6, 7, or 8 MHz may be selected.

Also, the MxL201RF was developed mainly for the North American cable markets, but it can be used for any digital cable application as it supports digital cable standards including ITUT J.83 Annexes A and C \[DVBC\] 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 the China, Europe, and India DVB-C markets.

The MxL201RF and MxL- 203RF are in production now and shipping to key customers.



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