Orca Announces Multi-Standard TV Receiver IC for Tablets

One of the questions that always comes up when someone mentions ATSC 3.0—the next generation broadcast platform—is “how will we transition viewers to the new technology?”

One solution is to produce TV receivers with the ability to receive different formats. This would allow some stations in a market to transition to the new standard while others continue broadcasting with ATSC 1.0.

We may be getting closer to the point where that is practical, even for portable devices such as tablets.

On Wednesday, Orca Systems announced that it will demonstrate the “World's First Multi-Standard TV Receiver Chip for 'TV-Anywhere' Application in Tablets” at the CES event in Las Vegas Jan. 7-10, 2014.

“TV-Anywhere” usually means cable or broadcast shows available over the Internet on portable devices, which can put a huge dent in your monthly wireless data allotment. Orca's solution is the ORC5620, a single chip, CMOS-based, hybrid TV tuner with a software-configurable demodulator. The tuner would support multiple standards, including analog NTSC, PAL and SECAM and digital ATSC, QAM, DVB-T/C, DTMB and ISDB-T, and would receive over-the-air broadcasts.

Manufacturers would benefit as they could install a single receiver in a tablet device and have it work around the world. The compact receiver requires only one crystal and does not need any external memory. The chip uses what Orca terms “[a] digital intermediate-frequency” architecture between the tuner and demodulator to improve reception performance and reduce power consumption.

“Tablet manufacturers are looking for ways to differentiate their offerings,” said Guruswami Sridharan, CEO and founder of Orca Systems. “ORC5620 enables the consumer to receive live free TV in their tablets worldwide. It is a whole new experience for the mobile consumer.”

Samples of the chip are now available, with mass production beginning in 2014Q2. A complete set of design materials is available now. As of Dec. 12, information on the chip had not been posted on the Orca Systems website.

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.