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post #361 of 433 Old 11-22-2005, 10:52 AM
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Not sure if this has been posted here yet, but from Doug Lung's RF Report,
http://www.tvtechnology.com/dlrf/one.php?id=1082
Doug Lung's RF Report

Date posted: 2005-11-22
New ATSC USB Tuner Includes LG 5G Chip

In response to my article last week on the "sexy" Mobix USB 2.0 tuner for DVB-T terrestrial DTV reception on notebook computers, Sean Wallace sent me information and some circuit board photos of the new FusionHDTV5 USB Gold portable ATSC receiver by Dvico. It looks as if the VBox A-3560 USB 2.0 receiver that I've been hauling around the country is now outdated!

This is the third ATSC USB receiver I've seen. The first was the SASEM, which is now difficult to obtain. The second was the VBox, which was on display at NAB2005 and is readily available from on-line retailers such as Copperbox.com and VisibleLight.com. The new FusionHDTV5 USB Gold receiver is also available Copperbox.com.

The FusionHDTV5 USB is not as small and attractive as the Mobix receiver, but what's inside makes it interesting. The tuner includes the new LG/Zenith 5th generation VSB decoder chip. This is the one that convinced VSB skeptics that 8-VSB might work after all. Like the VBox, the receiver is powered from the USB bus, but unlike the Vbox, it can also receive and record standard NTSC analog TV. A remote control is also available. Advanced recording features include HD to DVD, HD to DViX and direct MPEG2 recording of the ATSC stream. Not clear is whether these format conversions are supported in hardware or if they are software based.

Copperbox.com has more detailed specifications than the FusionHDTV USB Gold product page. Copperbox lists the tuner as the LG H062F, the demodulator as the LG DT3303, the MPEG decoder as the Conexant CX25843 and the main chipset as a CY68013A.

Wallace reported the box is great at pulling in signals. From his location south of Washington D.C., he was able to pull in Baltimore DTV stations using a Silver Sensor antenna indoors. Unfortunately, he experienced problems with the receiver and its software crashing his computer on certain channels. I've experienced this too with the VBox receiver, but it appears to be a software problem, as newer versions of TSReader and the AtmosWeb software seem to handle the streams better. Wallace wondered how stations would respond to these problems. "Can you just imagine the angry people calling in to the station and sputtering about how 'your TV channel crashes my computer!!'"

In addition to the report from Wallace, Bob Behar reported that he was able to receive most of the local Miami DTV stations in his office using the FusionHDTV5 USB tuner and the small telescoping whip antenna that comes with it. Miami has a mixture of UHF and high-VHF DTV channels.

http://www.copperbox.com/lite/popinf...USION-HDTV-USB
DViCO Fusion-HDTV-USB @ COPPERBOX.COM v4.0

http://www.fusionhdtv.co.kr/eng/Products/HDTV5usb.aspx
DViCO FusionHDTV Tuner PCI, USB: Home > Products > HDTV5USB
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post #362 of 433 Old 11-22-2005, 11:32 AM
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Beat me to the draw. :-). Visited the copperbox.com site earlier and concluded anyone could run this tuner without a PC providing no recording was wanted. [EDIT: Guess not. Seems to have only a USB2.0 output. Strange to build in all those recording features but not an PC-independent power supply and at least YPbPr outputs.]

Seems to have LG's 5th-gen chip, but not sure about the tuner section that apparently was an important factor in the 'magical' reception a while back reported for Schubin's NYC multipath-plagued apartment. Looks good, though. Wonder how it compares to the Radio Shack closeout tuner? -- John
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post #363 of 433 Old 11-22-2005, 02:27 PM
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If it is like the Fusion PCI card tunners it does not have an MPEG decoder to produce video and it relies on software decoding of the MPEG video. John
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post #364 of 433 Old 11-23-2005, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason View Post

Beat me to the draw. :-). Visited the copperbox.com site earlier and concluded anyone could run this tuner without a PC providing no recording was wanted. [EDIT: Guess not. Seems to have only a USB2.0 output. Strange to build in all those recording features but not an PC-independent power supply and at least YPbPr outputs.]

Do you know if a dvd player like Snazio can take advantage of this card or not?
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post #365 of 433 Old 12-23-2005, 01:26 PM
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I posted an addendum to my 23Aug05 post re First Test of DX DTA-5000 Smart Antenna with the Sylvania 6900DTE:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1&#post5979741
When I plugged the 6900DTE into my new Pioneer Surround Receiver, the Dolby Digital finally was working.

Apparently there is some sort of compatibility problem between my old Sony STR-DE835 Surround Receiver and the 6900DTE.
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post #366 of 433 Old 01-30-2006, 01:22 AM
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FYI: As part of the discussion re whether the ILLR propagation prediction program should be changed to provide a better determination
of SHVERA eligibility (NO---not at this time), the FCC initiated a performance test of various OTA STBs and HDTVs:
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_publi...C-05-199A1.pdf
A version of the ILLR (Individual Location Longley-Rice) program is used at www.antennaweb.org.

ATI also submitted comments re improved OTA STB testing, and included test results for their latest (e.g. THEATER) ATSC Decoder chip(s):
http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/r...ent=6517693762

Canadian Research Center (CRC) has also conducted tests on the early Linx/Micronas Prototype with the "CASPER" ATSC Decoder chip,
a Prototype Zenith STB with the LG 5th Gen chip and a Samsung STB with an Alps Tuner Module and the "GEMINI" ATSC Decoder chip
(whatever that is...maybe it's in the Samsung manufactured (-200) DirecTV HD-STBs???):
http://www.crc.ca/en/html/crc/home/r...broadcast/rtnt

By correlating the known test results to the unidentified STBs and HDTVs, I believe that the highest performing STBs included the
LG-4200A STB (LGDT3302 precursor to the LGDT3303 5th Gen), one or more STB/HDTV with the ATI THEATER chips and possibly other
ATSC Decoder chips and RF Tuner Modules that claim to meet the ATSC A/74 Receiver Guidelines (e.g Zarlink/Thomson, Zoran/Orem).
And there were a bunch of low performing STBs and HDTVs.......sshhhhuuussshhh, no names please...
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post #367 of 433 Old 01-30-2006, 04:46 AM
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holl_ands,
Thanks for another of your comprehensive HD tuning hardware summaries. What's the scoop on LG's 5th gen availability, other than its use in some displays? Are some PC cards using it, coupled with a superior front end?

Wonder if that active antenna you mentioned, coupled with a good LG-5th-gen tuner, would succeed in a tough multipath situation, where only building reflections can be tuned? My Silver Sensor, feeding an inadequate ~'99-'00 built-in Philips RPTV tuner, only manages to lock in UHF 33, WB's DTV channel here, ~9 blocks from the Empire State Building transmitters. Thanks. -- John
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post #368 of 433 Old 01-30-2006, 05:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inky blacks View Post

Any recent 5th generation receiver chip news? I know this is an old topic, but I would like to know if there is any movement at all for LG or Casper chip receivers.

IB

The only new one is Samsung's Gemini that got a very high score at CRC.

LG sells its LGDT3303 - no new demods.

Linx technology for 8VSB demodulatation is currently used by:
Thomson - for their own STB
Micronas - don't know of any system
ST - pushing hard TV and STB makers to use their STV0370
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post #369 of 433 Old 01-30-2006, 03:52 PM
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Wouldn't it be wonderful if we actually knew what was used in each STB & PCI Card???
Fol. is what I have culled from various websites:

BTTI AIRSTAR-HD5000-PCI and DVICO FUSION HDTV5 PCI card products use the LG 5th Gen chips,
whereas the HDTV3 products use the LGDT3302, same as LST-4200A (search this thread for "DVICO").

The older BTTI AIR2PC-ATSC-PCI used the Broadcom BCM3510.

LG Press Releases said that their 5th Gen chip is in LG manufactured DirecTV H20 MPEG4 HD-STB....
and the new MPEG4 capable USDTV OTA STB.

It is also possible that the Gemini chip is in the Samsung manufactured H20....but no confirmation.
And thus far, I don't know what is in the Philips, Thomson and Humax H20 models...

The pcHDTV HD-3000 PCI Card uses the Zoran/Oren OR51132 ATSC Decoder chip.

The MIT MHD MDP-130 and ATI HDTV WONDER PCI Cards, plus fol. OTA STBs use the older ATI NX2004:
Sylvania 6900DTE, MIT MDR-200 and Hisense DB-2010 (USDTV MPEG2 only box).

I would especially be interested to know what is in the under $200 PrimeDTV PHD-101 OTA STB...
(I have a hunch it might be the ATI THEATER chip, to go along with the ATI XILLEON display processor)
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post #370 of 433 Old 02-11-2006, 08:53 AM
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Came across this link for a new (2006) LG 5th-generation-chip "Onair USB" tuner. Might have been mentioned above already. What's missing from the specs? There's a USB output to a PC, with recommended graphics cards, but no mention of routine 1080i/720p processing viewing/storage. A google hunt shows copperbox.com markets this tuner, too, and mentions "full HDTV timeshifting." -- John
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post #371 of 433 Old 02-11-2006, 11:29 AM
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Prime PHD-101 pictures, including inside are posted here:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...83#post7077583

The tuner is the Alps TDHU2, same as my Sylvania 6900DTE OTA STB, AVER
TVHD MCE A180 PCI card and some versions of the ATI AIR2PC-ATSC-PCI
card.

It contains the ATI NXT2004 ATSC/QAM DECODER chip: equalizer capability
-8 to +45 usec.

Unfortunately, it isn't in the same class as ATI's latest THEATER chip.
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post #372 of 433 Old 02-11-2006, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason View Post

Came across this link for a new (2006) LG 5th-generation-chip "Onair USB" tuner. Might have been mentioned above already. What's missing from the specs? There's a USB output to a PC, with recommended graphics cards, but no mention of routine 1080i/720p processing viewing/storage. A google hunt shows copperbox.com markets this tuner, too, and mentions "full HDTV timeshifting." -- John

FYI: Here is the Korean website for the ONAIRUSB-HDTV Creator, incl manual, s/w, U.S. POC:
http://www.autumnwave.com/main/index.htm
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post #373 of 433 Old 02-11-2006, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

FYI: Here is the Korean website for the ONAIRUSB-HDTV Creator, incl manual, s/w, U.S. POC:
http://www.autumnwave.com/main/index.htm

Thanks for the link to the 75-page manual. Looks like you'd be asking for a lot of computer glitches, operating complexity, patches, etc. The manual is only oriented for PC display. Anyone know if typical supported nVidia GEforce cards usually have YPbPr outputs so I could feed a 64" RPTV? Don't suppose there are user reports of this 2006 LG 5th-gen chip Onair tuner yet? Thanks. -- John
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post #374 of 433 Old 02-12-2006, 05:27 AM
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While searching to see whether the recommended nVIDIA Geforce4 MX 440 for the ONAIR tuner (just above) had YPbPr outputs (even their pdf brochure is fuzzy), noticed this Sigmacom website from the '06 CES listing several HD-tuner products (with component outputs); believe they mention a 5th-gen chip at some point (HDTV5 module/card). Again, sorry if this has been outlined earlier, (a thread search doesn't find Sigmacom or Sigma). -- John
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post #375 of 433 Old 02-14-2006, 10:59 AM
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Haven't been tracking computer/HDTV developments, so until today missed this running thread in the home theater PC forum about onair hardware. But it looks like only the most recent posts deal with the newest 5th-gen-chip Onair model, with someone posting from Autumn Wave, the N. American center for the S. Korea firm. -- John
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post #376 of 433 Old 02-14-2006, 12:27 PM
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I noticed John's post in the htpc forum and he provided a link to this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we actually knew what was used in each ..PCI Card?

I was doing just that (see my sig.). I was going to continue to fill in the holes and update it accordingly (missing several cards currently), but I kind of lost interest.

Anyways, I haven't read this thread, just browsed this page. Noticed there where several inaccuracies in some posts in regards to componentry on different cards. Corrections can be obtained from my sig... most dissapointing of which were those contained in the Doug Lung article on tvtechnology
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post #377 of 433 Old 02-27-2006, 07:27 AM
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Feb 27, 2006 08:00

Microtune's New 3-in-1 TV Tuner Breaks Cost Barrier in Bringing Benchmark-Setting Digital TV Performance to Mass Market
PLANO, Texas --(Business Wire)-- Feb. 27, 2006 Manufacturers Can Deploy Microtune's New Tuner Chip across TVs of Every Size and Price Point to Deliver No-Compromise TV Reception for Analog, Digital and Cable Broadcasts and to Ease DTV Transition

Anticipating the massive technology transformation that will convert the North American TV market to all-digital broadcasts, Microtune(R), Inc. (Nasdaq:TUNE) today unveiled a breakthrough 3-in-1 TV tuner engineered to drive very high-end digital TV reception quality into the cost-sensitive consumer TV mass market.

Integrating three tuners -- analog, digital and cable -- in a tiny chip smaller than a thumbtack, Microtune's new MicroTuner(TM) MT2131 tuner delivers benchmark-setting performance that exceeds all three existing U.S. TV requirements: ATSC, NTSC and Digital Cable Ready (DCR). Eliminating more than one hundred components from the silicon tuner bill of materials (BOM), the MT2131 slashes external BOM cost by sixty percent. By breaking through the sub-$3.00 cost barrier, it finally enables manufacturers to deploy a tuner with an unmatched level of performance across all TV models, sizes and price points -- from multi-tuner, giant-screen home theatres to small, affordable LCD TVs and inexpensive DTV set-top converter boxes.

Inventor of the single-chip silicon TV tuner, Microtune is leading the market in broadband silicon TV tuner chips with products deployed today in digital/analog TVs, personal video recorder (PVR) set-top boxes, cable modems, digital telephony modems, computers, portable DVD players, multimedia cards and PC-TV adaptors.

"Based on years of R&D investment, the MT2131 is engineered to be the industry's best TV tuner," said James A. Fontaine, Microtune's President and CEO. "It is the only device, module or silicon, to fully support North American analog and digital TV transmissions across either cable or terrestrial broadcasts. Manufacturers can use our single, flexible tuner to cost-effectively smooth the digital transition across all kinds of TV electronics, while bridging the multiple standards that co-exist today."

While the quality of the TV display has recently commanded a great deal of consumer focus, it is the tuner that actually sets the quality of the TV signal, the quality of picture and, ultimately, the quality of the TV experience for the user.

"Since 1998, the U.S. digital TV transition has been marred by complaints from broadcasters and consumers that the digital TV signal specified by ATSC does not work as well as expected," said Gerry Kaufhold, Principal Analyst with In-Stat. "As Congress and the FCC move toward complete cut-off of analog TV signals in February 2009, the viability of digital terrestrial services is under critical pressure to perform up to par. Tuners using a dual-conversion architecture approach, such as Microtune's newly announced MT2131 silicon tuner, are designed to provide the best-in-class reception needed to realize the inherent advantages and strengths of digital transmission."

From a consumer perspective, the MT2131 is engineered to solve each of the three technical problems commonly identified by consumers as sources of DTV dissatisfaction -- TV picture break-up from interference, TV picture freezing and TV picture loss. In fact, it also significantly improves TV reception using in-attic antennas, another major consumer-related concern associated with today's digital broadcasts.

Unmatched Performance across U.S. Broadcast Standards

Based on Microtune's patented silicon tuner architecture, the MT2131 exceeds the expected performance defined by standards committees for the ATSC A/74 and Digital Cable Ready DTV specifications, while also delivering superior analog (NTSC) reception.

"The MT2131 outperformed tuner cans and far outpaced all other silicon tuners that were evaluated in our internal tests against the A/74 and DCR technical specifications and in tests conducted by leading TV manufacturers," Fontaine continued. "For us, the MT2131 is another milestone achievement in our history of innovating the industry's most advanced RF integrated circuits. It reflects our continuing success in raising the tuner performance bar for our customers across their TV, cable, computer and mobile products, while significantly reducing their RF solution costs."

Engineered with excellent sensitivity, the MT2131 also exceeded, by a wide margin, the sensitivity-measurement tests published by the FCC this past December in its study of a large group of retail DTV receivers(a). The MT2131's added margin in sensitivity translates directly into an increase in digital TV signal coverage area for broadcasters.

Sensitivity is one of the key RF technical concerns of TV manufactures; another is adjacent channel rejection. The MT2131 is engineered to achieve superior sensitivity while providing excellent linearity, typically a difficult challenge for RF, analog and mixed signal integrated circuits. The MT2131's linearity performance enables it to provide industry-leading adjacent channel rejection, a measure of the ability of the tuner to block an interfering broadcast transmitter in order to tune a much weaker signal from another transmitter farther away. The MT2131 also offers a superior composite distortion performance, key for DCR applications.

Microtune has published its internal benchmark tests of the MT2131 and a comparison of the MT2131 to the measurement test results of the FCC's study at: http://www.microtune.com.

MT2131 Multi-Tuner: Dramatic Integration and Cost Reduction

A single-chip device implemented in a 7mm x 7mm 48-pin QFN package, the MT2131 receives frequencies in the full 48 MHz to 1.0 GHz range and converts a selected channel to a standard intermediate frequency (IF) between 30 MHz and 57 MHz. The tuner works with all known analog and digital demodulators, giving manufacturers maximum design flexibility.

Characterized by a very high level of integration, the MT2131 incorporates several critical RF components on chip, including:

-- Variable Gain Low Noise Amplifier

-- Closed-Loop AGC RF Gain Control

-- Integrated Broadband Power Detectors

-- Variable Gain IF Amplifier

-- Microtune's ClearTune Filter, and

-- FDC Path for DCR applications

Further reducing costs, the MT2131 offers a single-ended input to eliminate an expensive external transformer balun.

With unmatched integration, the MT2131 shrinks tuner size by approximately 65% compared to traditional tuner cans, making it ideal for picture-in picture, personal video recorder or other multi-tuner architectures or for small, space-constrained TV electronics.

Additional information about the MT2131 tuner is available at: http://www.microtune.com.

Price and Availability

The MT2131 tuner is sampling now to select customers and is priced at less than $3.00 in volume quantities. To simplify evaluation and design for qualified customers, Microtune offers a MicroTuner MT2131 RF Evaluation Board and Reference Design.

Industry Comments

Melissa Yokom, Research Analyst, Digital TV Entertainment, IMS Research

"The transition of all North American TVs to the digital standard is a monumental challenge, and during the next ten years, IMS Research projects that more than 300 million receivers will need to be converted to ATSC. Complicating the transition, multiple terrestrial and cable broadcast standards will continue to co-exist for many years. A terrestrial digital TV tuner that successfully addresses performance and multi-standard challenges, and at a low price point, will offer critical electronics in proliferating digital technology across the mass marketplace."

Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)

"The U.S. is inches away from completing the transition to DTV. We applaud the work done by the House and the Senate in coming together on this issue. This legislation will provide the much needed certainty to expedite our nation's transition to DTV in an effective and pro-consumer manner. CEA has long supported a hard cut-off date for analog broadcasts and is pleased with the decision for the analog spectrum to be returned to the federal government by February 17, 2009. This deadline will provide certainty to manufacturers, retailers, consumers and all others with a stake in the transition."

About Microtune

Microtune, Inc. is a silicon and subsystems company that designs and markets radio frequency (RF) solutions for the consumer and automotive electronics markets. Inventor of the MicroTuner(TM) single-chip broadband TV tuner, Microtune offers a portfolio of advanced tuner, amplifier and upconverter products that enable the delivery of information and entertainment across new classes of consumer electronics devices. The Company currently holds 59 U.S. patents for its technology. Founded in 1996, Microtune is headquartered in Plano, Texas, with key design and sales centers located around the world. The website is http://www.microtune.com.
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post #378 of 433 Old 02-27-2006, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

Microtune's New 3-in-1 TV Tuner Breaks Cost Barrier in Bringing Benchmark-Setting Digital TV Performance to Mass Market

...Eliminating more than one hundred components from the silicon tuner bill of materials (BOM), the MT2131 slashes external BOM cost by sixty percent. By breaking through the sub-$3.00 cost barrier, it finally enables manufacturers to deploy a tuner with an unmatched level of performance across all TV models, sizes and price points -- from multi-tuner, giant-screen home theatres to small, affordable LCD TVs and inexpensive DTV set-top converter boxes.

...the MT2131 ...is the only device, module or silicon, to fully support North American analog and digital TV transmissions across either cable or terrestrial broadcasts. Manufacturers can use our single, flexible tuner to cost-effectively smooth the digital transition across all kinds of TV electronics, while bridging the multiple standards that co-exist today."

...Engineered with excellent sensitivity, the MT2131 also exceeded, by a wide margin, the sensitivity-measurement tests published by the FCC this past December in its study of a large group of retail DTV receivers....

Microtune has published its internal benchmark tests of the MT2131 and a comparison of the MT2131 to the measurement test results of the FCC's study at: http://www.microtune.com.

MT2131 Multi-Tuner: Dramatic Integration and Cost Reduction

A single-chip device implemented in a 7mm x 7mm 48-pin QFN package, the MT2131 receives frequencies in the full 48 MHz to 1.0 GHz range and converts a selected channel to a standard intermediate frequency (IF) between 30 MHz and 57 MHz. The tuner works with all known analog and digital demodulators, giving manufacturers maximum design flexibility.

Characterized by a very high level of integration, the MT2131 incorporates several critical RF components on chip, including:

-- Variable Gain Low Noise Amplifier

-- Closed-Loop AGC RF Gain Control


-- Integrated Broadband Power Detectors

-- Variable Gain IF Amplifier

-- Microtune's ClearTune Filter
...

Further reducing costs, the MT2131 offers a single-ended input to eliminate an expensive external transformer balun...

Additional information about the MT2131 tuner is available at: http://www.microtune.com.

Innerressin''

Note that the tuner can contains two stages of amplification, as well as I.F. conversion and filtering, and that the first stage of amplification is "low noise". Don't other tuners employ similar architecture?

The conventional wisdom pervading this forum used to be that amplifying at the receiver input was an exercise in futility because the signal had already dropped as close to the noise floor as it was going to get. Then, a year or so ago, I mentioned that about a year earlier, someone in this forum had bench-measured the noise figure of his own tuner and had been alarmed to observe that it was around 10dB, so I mentioned in my post that I had only seen one published tuner noise figure since then (from either RL Drake or PDI: I forget which) and it was also around 10dB, so I asked if anyone else had seen any published noise fiqures. I mentioned in related posts at the time that since I could buy assembled, "dime-store" grade inline amplifier products with noise figures of 5 to 6 dB for under ten bucks each, I figured that the noise level of all presently manufactured components had probably come down to the point where it would take some effort even make an amplifier with a 10dB noise figure. It seemed likely to me that the amplifier in these inline amps (I think I was paying $5.95 in single quantities for one with 10dB of gain and 5dB of noise) couldn't have cost more than pennies to enable the retail sales of a finished product at that price, then if even if a relatively low noise (4dB) amplifier chip cost as much as a dollar, which it surely did not, it would be foolish not to use it when building $300 tuner boxes and tuners integrated into $1,000+ TVs when the manufacturer would be reducing a potential source of customer dissatisfaction.

Does anyone know if the other integrated tuner cans have two stages of amplification, and if the tuner noise figures reported here were the simple, tuner can input/output ratios? If they were and are, then the basic model we use here to estimate the benefit of preamplification may well exaggerate that benefit.
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Price and Availability

The MT2131 tuner is sampling now to select customers and is priced at less than $3.00 in volume quantities. To simplify evaluation and design for qualified customers, Microtune offers a MicroTuner MT2131 RF Evaluation Board and Reference Design.

"Coming soon, to a theater near you!"


"And now a word from our alternate sponsors..."


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Industry Comments

Melissa Yokom, Research Analyst, Digital TV Entertainment, IMS Research
"The transition of all North American TVs to the digital standard is a monumental challenge, and during the next ten years, IMS Research projects that more than 300 million receivers will need to be converted to ATSC....

Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)
"The U.S. is inches away from completing the transition to DTV. We applaud the work done by the House and the Senate in coming together on this issue. ..."

Note that these boilerplate, incorporated industry comments were not made in response to Microtune's press release and while they provide less knowledgeable press release readers with some useful context, they are not endorsements of, or even evaluations of, this product.
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post #379 of 433 Old 02-27-2006, 10:20 AM
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I didn't see anything in the Microtune announcement about multipath, which, in urban environments, is a far greater problem than signal level.

Is multipath handled after the tuner stage?
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post #380 of 433 Old 02-27-2006, 12:43 PM
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The Microtune MT2131 amplifies the RF signal and downconverts to an (amplified) IF (Intermediate Frequency) signal.
The IF signal must be processed by an external ATSC Decoder, which provides suppression of multipath via an Adaptive Equalization process.

Single Conversion tuners are normally used for OTA DTV.
The best published Noise Figures are about 5-7 dB ("typical"), the worse (i.e. spec maximum) about 8-10 db.
In the FCC sponsored test of OTA STB and DTV's (FCC-05-199, link in my 1/30/06 post above),
actual measured N.F. was about 7 dB +/- 1 dB.

You have to be careful comparing the N.F. for a broadband Preamp (3-6 dB) with the
CASCADED N.F. for an ATSC Tuner, which includes the contribution of each component.
The Single Conversion ATSC Tuner usually employs a 10-20 MHz RF filter prior to the first RF (or Mixer) stage.
Since this is typically a voltage variable filter, varactor diodes provide a tuning capability by varying
the capacitance across an inductor coil...which is higher loss than an old-school manually tuned capacitor.
For example the fol: http://www.infineon.com//upload/Docu...rtIII_ATSC.pdf
[Broken Link: Must now search for "TUA6034" at www.infineon.com]
http://www.ieee802.org/22/Meeting_do...ner_Design.ppt

I've only run across two Double Conversion tuners in my many searches:
the original Zenith Grand Alliance (GA) ATSC Prototype and one and only one Samsung tuner module.
See ATSC_NTSC_TUNER_SPECS_REVA:
http://hdtv.forsandiego.com/messages...html#POST20071

Note that the Microtune spec sheet shows a more sensitive N.F. when used for ATSC vice Cable, but offers no explanation.
Perhaps they configure it as a single conversion tuner (w/o RF stage) for OTA and double conversion tuner for Cable
(which has advantages with many strong signals)....
Maybe we'll find out when they post the Reference Design for this chip...
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post #381 of 433 Old 04-28-2006, 11:41 PM
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Earlier this week I visited the DTV Hotspot at NAB2006 (Natl Assoc of Broadcasters) in Las Vegas and took a picture inside Zoran's Prototype OTA Reference Design. Note the lack of big (i.e. expensive) chips.
It was one of several low-cost OTA STB's exhibited to adapt analog TV's for DTV reception.

Fol. Zoran website provides details re SupraHD 640 Display Driver chip, Oren (now Zoran) Cascade 2 ATSC/QAM Decoder chip and the Thomson DTT7602 Mini-Tuner Module (see Press Releases in bottom right):
http://www.zoran.com/SupraHD-640

The SupraHD 640 only supports 480i output via Component Video, S-Video and composite video, such as would be used in the low-cost, gov't subsidized OTA SD-STB.

Zoran also makes the SupraHD 660 (adds HD, HDMI and Firewire) and the SupraHD 680 (adds CableCard).
So if the SD-only SD-STB can be built for about $50 with a dumbed down 640, shouldn't they be able to build an HD-STB for under $100???

Zoran claims that the Cascade 2 ATSC/QAM Demodulator meets the ATSC A/74 Receiver Guidelines, including 0 dB Ghosts and the very difficult Brazil test ensembles, with an equalizer range of -34 to +78 usec.

That puts it into the Fifth Generation ATSC Receiver category.

The Zoran rep. said that they are only working with customers for embedded HDTV solutions, so don't look for a separate STB solution.
LL
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post #382 of 433 Old 04-28-2006, 11:50 PM
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PS: I just noticed the fol. announcement of the Thompson 4300A ATSC Demodulator, which WOULD be released in STB form (Q: SD only?):
http://www.reed-electronics.com/elec....html?ref=nbth
It also includes an announcement of the Jensen MPC4000 DTV Receiver for a Laptop computer.

Darn, wish I had seen this earlier....I missed it in all of the LIGHTS, CAMERA, INACTION....
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post #383 of 433 Old 04-29-2006, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

The Microtune MT2131 amplifies the RF signal and downconverts to an (amplified) IF (Intermediate Frequency) signal.
The IF signal must be processed by an external ATSC Decoder, which provides suppression of multipath via an Adaptive Equalization process....

I've only run across two Double Conversion tuners in my many searches:
the original Zenith Grand Alliance (GA) ATSC Prototype and one and only one Samsung tuner module.

Why would anyone double convert a signal that was to be demodulated? NTSC heterodyne processors use double conversion to take advantage of having to engineer just one saw filter that can be used in all applications, and its bandpass filter design rolls off sharpest at the lowest frequency, thereby minimizing the introduction of adjacent channel noise accompanying its frequency-boosted output, which is then combined with adjacent NTSC channels, but with an ATSC signal. once they have "processed" it, which is to say, once they have tuned, filtered and preamplified it, I would expect it to be in optimal form for demodulation and therefore not in need of a second frequency conversion.


Quote:


The Single Conversion ATSC Tuner usually employs a 10-20 MHz RF filter prior to the first RF (or Mixer) stage. Since this is typically a voltage variable filter, varactor diodes provide a tuning capability by varying the capacitance across an inductor coil...which is higher loss than an old-school manually tuned capacitor.

The introduction of a voltage variable input filter with a significant insertion loss into our black box concept of the tuner is a mixed blessing. On one hand, it means that the input signal that the first active component of the tuner sees is further weakened by the amount of the insertion loss of the tunable filter, which makes the effect of the noise of the tuner's first active stage a more significant factor in determining that stage's output's S/N ratio than it would be without such filter insertion loss.

On the other hand, since a filter inserted before the first preamplification stage of the frequency converting section of the tuner weakens any strong, undesired signals that are more than a couple of channels away from the desired, tuned signal, it means that many of the concerns expressed in this thread and elsewhere that strong, unintended off-air signals are overloading tuners must be tempered by the reality that in most instances, they are substantially weakened by the input bandpass filter and therefore would not have the same overloading effect on the tuner's first amplifier stage that an overly strong on-channel signal would have.
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post #384 of 433 Old 04-30-2006, 08:15 PM
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Holl_ands,
Did you look at the "pocket decoder" in the next booth (DTV Innonvations) at the DTV hotspot? It was smaller than a pack of cigarettes, had a tuner and the Micronas (Linx) 5th generation demod. It was connected via USB to a notebook that was displaying the live NAB show.
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post #385 of 433 Old 04-30-2006, 09:17 PM
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Yes, in the DTV Hotspot, dtv innovations showed their USB Tuner/Analyzer:
http://www.dtvinnovations.com/pages/home.htm
It was demonstrated with a partially completed software package that could display DTV on a Laptop,
a (not yet calibrated) signal strength, MPEG2 statistics and (eventually) various TS stream analyses.

In two places on the main floor, Sencore demo'd a finished USB Tuner/Analyzer product,
the DTU-234 RF Probe, which provides similiar capabilities:
http://www.sencore.com/products/dtu234.htm

Unfortunately, prices for these professional test instruments are still too high for the home hobbyist.

Sencore also demo'd an even more expensive RF Analyser which showed the received signal level for everything from CH2 thru CH69+.
It was easy to see that the intermod noise floor in the FM band was only 20 dB and about 45 dB in the UHF band
(must have been using a Preamp).
That would be very useful to differentiate between low signal strength situations and intermod noise limitations.

There are several USB NTSC and DTV tuners on the market now.

It would be interesting to know which ones display a BELIEVABLE RF signal level,
although the input bandwidth would probably be several channels wide.
Anyone want to write a simple little program for a Laptop and an inexpensive USB Tuner
that would plot the received signal strength throughout the entire VHF/UHF bands???

It would be much more useful than simply an SINR and/or "percentage of goodness" display.
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I read some user reviews of a PCI card that uses the 5th generation ATI Theater chip. At least I'm assuming its 5th generation. People did not seem to report any improved signal sensitivity, and most complaints were about the buggy ATI software. Other complaints were slow channel changing and major system slowdowns on even fairly powerful PC's. Overall, I did not get the impression people were very impressed with the product and many returned them.

Maybe these glowing press releases about improved performance, features, and sensitivity were just the usual PR blitz designed to inflate the manufacturer's stock price.

In any event, I got tired of waiting for a 5th generation STB and bought an SIR-T451, which I'm fairly happy with. I'm sorry to point out the obvious, but this whole 5th generation thing seems to be a bit of a flop (IMHO).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

In two places on the main floor, Sencore demo'd a finished USB Tuner/Analyzer product,
the DTU-234 RF Probe, which provides similiar capabilities:
http://www.sencore.com/products/dtu234.htm

Unfortunately, prices for these professional test instruments are still too high for the home hobbyist..

Previously, the most affordable Sencore FSM that comprehensively analyzed the ATSC signals was their model AT-1506, which sold for about $8,000, but that product is no longer listed in their website's product index.

I just requested a price quote from Sencore for the model DTU-234 RF probe. It appears to be just what I have been looking for. Most likely, I'll be buying one immediately if it can be supported by my laptop's Celeron 1.4Gz processor.
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post #388 of 433 Old 04-30-2006, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notrust View Post

I read some user reviews of a PCI card that uses the 5th generation ATI Theater chip. At least I'm assuming its 5th generation. People did not seem to report any improved signal sensitivity, and most complaints were about the buggy ATI software. Other complaints were slow channel changing and major system slowdowns on even fairly powerful PC's. Overall, I did not get the impression people were very impressed with the product and many returned them.

Maybe these glowing press releases about improved performance, features, and sensitivity were just the usual PR blitz designed to inflate the manufacturer's stock price.

...this whole 5th generation thing seems to be a bit of a flop (IMHO).

I bought a Fusion5Gold USB which has a 5th generation chip in it. The thing takes nearly ten minutes to initialize on my laptop, and the remote control fails more than it succeeds, and I never got the hand of navigating back and forth between analog and digital.

I was hopeful that I could use it to watch TV while in a McDonalds, but when I tried to use it on Wisconsin Ave in DC, just a few miles from the transmitting towers, using its telescoping antenna, I could only get two stations reliably, and when I tried it at a highrise that had a master antenna system combining the signals from half a dozen antennas pointed at transmitters all around the azimuth and at distances varying from 5 to 40 miles, its performance was indistinguishable from that of my Radio Shack Accurian and my early Samsung, whose model number I don't remember.

I think that the industry didn't leap onto the 5th generation chip because by and large, those playing with the real money didn't see it as any kind of a panacea.
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post #389 of 433 Old 04-30-2006, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

...It would be interesting to know which ones display a BELIEVABLE RF signal level, although the input bandwidth would probably be several channels wide.

Why do you suspect that? Do you think that they would simply measure the broadband power of whatever passes through the coarse input filter, which you said in an earlier post was 10-20Mz wide?

One cheap way to develop a more reliable internal signal level meter would be to have a 500Kz wide filter to sample the middle of the signal and then add to it a correction factor of about 10dB. Or they could measure the I.F. outputs broadband signal power and work back from that, if it has been saw-filtered by that point in the circuit.

Quote:


Anyone want to write a simple little program for a Laptop and an inexpensive USB Tuner that would plot the received signal strength throughout the entire VHF/UHF bands???

It would be much more useful than simply an SINR and/or "percentage of goodness" display.

It would be useful for you if you were trying to simply peak the signal power or were trying to perform an engineering analysis of the relationships between signal power and signal lock reliability, and it might help someone who has the means to balance the relative strength of the signals to minimize the variation in input signal levels, but the S/N and "goodness" indicators have served a lot of hobbiests well, and I miss them when I only have a functionally limited FSM available that does not furnish them.
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post #390 of 433 Old 05-01-2006, 11:27 AM
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I think that the intention is to not display a wideband power as this is not very useful. Aside from the fact that you do an AGC on the input, what you really want to know is the errors from an ideal VSB signal. More of an SNR type measurement. Ideally you would want to see this on a channel basis and continuously updated for the current channel that you may be adjusting your antenna for.
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