Tektronix Drives Shift in Mainstream Oscilloscopes

February 25, 2014. Tektronix Inc. today announced that its MDO4000B Series of mixed-domain oscilloscopes are now available at the same price point as MSO4000B mixed signal oscilloscopes. The Tektronix mixed domain oscilloscopes (MDO) include a built-in spectrum analyzer along with four analog channels and 16 digital signal inputs.

The vast majority of system designs in production or in development today include at least one form of wireless capability such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or ZigBee. From input devices like mice and keyboards to smart homes and streaming media boxes, consumers demand the convenience of wireless. With RF becoming so mainstream, designers in response expect superior RF test support from their test equipment. Even for designs without wireless technologies, engineers are facing EMI, noise, modulation, and other types of frequency-related signals. Now, for the same price as an MSO without spectrum analyzer capability, engineers can purchase a single instrument that meets the vast majority of their test and measurement requirements, including RF test and debug.

“There’s a fundamental shift with regard to wireless in embedded systems. With RF technologies so established and affordable, they are becoming as accepted and widely used as serial data was a few years ago,” said Dave Farrell, general manager, Mainstream Oscilloscopes, at Tektronix. “In addition, with digital signals increasing in speed, the effects of electromagnetic interference (EMI) has become a common problem requiring looking at the RF spectrum of even non-wireless systems. Just as MSOs have replaced analog-only oscilloscopes, it follows that MDOs are the next logical evolution and are becoming the accepted mainstream industry standard.”

Under the new pricing structure, Tektronix is offering MDO4000B-3 models with a built-in 3-GHz spectrum analyzer at the same prices as current MSO4000B oscilloscopes with equivalent analog bandwidth across the entire lineup. Given identical pricing, there is no reason for designers to purchase MSO models, even if they don’t have an immediate need for RF capability. Further, there is a strong likelihood they will need RF measurements at some point, saving thousands of dollars in future expense for a spectrum analyzer. With this change, Tektronix will be discontinuing the MSO4000B oscilloscopes. (For customers with existing MSO models integrated into systems or special requirements, select MSO4000B models will remain available to support these distinct needs.) For customers who require 6-GHz frequency coverage, Tektronix has lowered prices on its MDO4000B-6 Series by about 15%.

MDO4000B Product Details

In addition to four analog and 16 digital inputs, the MDO4000B-3 oscilloscopes provide a 3-GHz maximum frequency spectrum analyzer across all MDO models from 100-MHz to 1-GHz scope bandwidth. Additionally, the MDO models offer all features and options offered with the MSO4000B series. For applications that require higher frequency coverage, new pricing for the Tektronix MDO4000B-6 oscilloscopes that provide a 6-GHz spectrum analyzer is now equivalent to previous pricing of the 3-GHz spectrum analyzer models.

Introduced in August 2011, the Tektronix mixed domain oscilloscopes can capture time-correlated analog, digital, and RF signals for a complete system view of a user's device. Available analog bandwidth ranges from 100 MHz to 1 GHz with 2.5 or 5 GS/s sample rate and 20 Mpoints record length. Pricing starts at $9,500.

See related commentary, “Tektronix emphasizes spectrum analysis for scopes.”

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