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MaxLinear Unleashes High-Performance CMOS Tuner IC

MaxLinear announced a new CMOS tuner yesterday that it said meets the ATSC A/74 receiver performance guidelines. The new MxL5007 tuner does this without the need for external RF tracking or SAW filters. MaxLinear said its proprietary CMOS technology not only exceeds the performance of chip tuners made using the SiGe BiCMOS process, but does it at lower cost with lower power consumption and less heat dissipation.

“Achieving a tuner, especially in CMOS, with this level of performance and integration has been an elusive goal for the industry,” said Ted Alexander, a MaxLinear board member and founding associate of venture capital firm Mission Ventures. “We’ve seen the precedent of CMOS becoming dominant in other applications, but the RF challenges of the broadband tuner are much greater. We are very excited about what this means for MaxLinear’s market position in the global tuner market.”

According to the MaxLinear web site, an older MaxLinear tuner design was used in the portable receivers Samsung used to demonstrate A-VSB at NA 2007.

“With the MxL5007, manufacturers can now move to a lower cost, lower power silicon solution without sacrificing any of the performance benefits associated with traditional can tuners,” said MaxLinear CEO Kishore Seendripu. “MaxLinear’s CMOS radio IC technology is well proven in PC TV, mobile TV, and DVB-T STB markets using our older generation 5003/5005 tuner ICs. The MxL5007 utilizes an enhancement to this proven CMOS radio technology to address multiple TV standards and applications. The choice of digital CMOS process and novel radio architecture for tuners makes ASPs near $1 a realistic prospect in the future. CMOS process technology, lowest BOM, and manufacturing costs make MxL5007 the ideal solution for all television applications, including tuner modules. Modified versions of MxL5007 will target specific standards to offer even lower cost solutions for customers.”

The tuner has a 75 ohm input and a continuous tuning range from 44 MHz to 1002 MHz. It includes an on-chip low noise amplifier (LNA), on-chip tracking and phase locked loop filters, automatic gain control, local oscillator generation, and channel selectivity functions. Output intermediate frequency can be set anywhere from 4 to 44 MHz.

The chip will be demonstrated by appointment at IBC2007 and engineering and evaluation kits will be available in final quarter of this year. Production quantities are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2008.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.