Microtune launches TV tuner, antenna amplifier chips

Jan. 8, 2009
Microtune Inc. (www.microtune.com) has introduced a tuner chip for high-speed in-car TV (the MT2067 MicroTuner) and an AEC-Q100 amplifier for integrated antenna systems (MT1119).

Microtune Inc. has introduced a tuner chip for high-speed in-car TV (the MT2067 MicroTuner) and an AEC-Q100 amplifier for integrated antenna systems (MT1119).

The firm noted that new digital terrestrial standards such as DVB-T, ISDB-T and D-TMB enable excellent car TV video and audio quality at speeds of up to 200 km/hour (125 miles/hour).

Microtune president and chief executive officer James A. Fontaine noted that high-speed in-car TV puts severe radio frequency (RF) demands on the tuner. The firm has outlined those challenges in a white paper.

Fontaine said the MT2067 is optimized for sensitivity, strong signal behavior and improved channel selectivity, which he described as the three most critical technical parameters for mobile TV reception.

Microtune currently offers RF technologies for in-vehicle AM/FM, DAB, and HD radio and car TV systems from suppliers to automakers include Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, Porsche and General Motors.

Joanne Blight, director of Strategy Analytics’ Automotive Multimedia & Communications Service, said she expects automotive OEM TV receiver options to increase due to the combination of lower costs, improved digital reception, and increased use by vehicle makers of high-resolution multifunction color displays.

Microtune said its automotive-grade MT2067 MicroTuner is designed to provide stable TV reception for passengers in vehicles traveling at top speeds. The firm said OEMs can improve performance, increase reliability and minimize total RF systems costs when adding real-time broadcast TV to rear-seat entertainment options.

“Like many automotive innovations, car infotainment systems started as a high-end offering and now they are starting to appear as factory-fit options in mid-range cars,” said Paul O’Donovan, principal research analyst at Gartner Group. “Microtune’s new silicon TV tuners will help accelerate this trend because they dramatically reduce the size and cost compared to the current generation of tuners.”

The 7x7 mm dual-conversion MicroTuner chip spans the RF frequency range from 48 to 862 MHz and can replace conventional tuner modules in multi-standard global TV receiver platforms. It supports analog and digital terrestrial standards including NTSC, PAL, SECAM, DVB-T, DVB-H, ISDB-T, DTMB, ATSC, and ATSC-M/H. Features include an integrated low-noise amplifier for improved sensitivity, and patented ClearTune filter technology to limit interference from strong undesired channels. The MT2067 automatically controls the RF gain depending on the receiving conditions, and it has two Intermediate-Frequency (IF) outputs to support hybrid-receiver designs – one for connecting a digital TV demodulator and a second for connecting an analog TV demodulator.

The chip supports temperatures from -40° to +85°C, and is designed to be AEC-Q100 qualified. It is in production now, priced at $7.50 in quantities of 10,000.

MT1119 Amplifier

Microtune said its MT1119 amplifier for integrated antenna systems is now AEC-Q100 qualified and in production. Targeting new-car model in-glass, roof, and bumper antennas, the chip enables multi-standard car radio reception and requires few external components, according to the company.

The 4x4 mm MT1119 amplifies the car radio signal, compensating for the reduced performance of integrated antenna systems. “The increasing prevalence of integrated antenna systems in automobiles presents a number of design and technical challenges,” said Barry Koch, managing director of Microtune GmbH & Co., KG. “Our automotive customers are consistently demanding higher levels of integration combined with reduced costs and performance improvements.”

The MT1119 supports an extended frequency range to cover all AM bands, FM, HD-Radio, DRM, and weather-band reception across global markets. It integrates an RF level detector and PIN diode driver to simplify implementation of the FM AGC function.

Microtune said the chip offers improved sensitivity and performance under difficult signal conditions, such as those resulting from weak signals or overload, for high-end AM/FM system performance. Its temperature compensation enables the chip to operate from -40° to 115°C.

The MT1119 is available now, priced at $1.80 in quantities of 10,000. An evaluation board is also available.

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