Technology trends and solutions of the hottest nex

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Next generation STB technology trends and solutions

the factors affecting the current STB technology evolution are numerous and complex. Although price pressure, time to market requirements and functional differentiation are common among the many features of STB, for some platforms, the situation of the end market must be fully considered even in the early design stage

for example, the entry-level free receiving satellite and terrestrial broadcasting STB will continue to focus on providing basic functions and performance at a continuously reduced cost. Similarly, we can expect that the personal video recorder (PVR) will continue to be an important differentiated product in the pay satellite broadcasting and cable TV markets

however, each emerging technology has its own set of design criteria. PC-TV solutions require low power consumption, small size and windows compatible software drivers. The high definition television (HDTV) platform used in combination with Satellite STB requires high-performance front-end equipment capable of receiving and demodulating 8PSK and above modulated signals. At the back end, it is required to have the MPEG-4 decoding function which is usually bundled with the VR and media off functions of multi-channel P driven by a variety of factors. Ip-tv also began to grow significantly. In many cases, it was integrated into a composite platform, which can provide public TV services through DVB-T and pay TV (pay TV) connected by a broadband ADSL

regional standard decision-making also plays an important role in the evolution of any technology. For example, in China, industry observers are eagerly looking forward to the birth of the national digital TV terrestrial standard from many competitive standards. Early decision-making will have a significant impact on many manufacturers and suppliers. Meanwhile, DVB-T pilot continues to be broadcast in many major cities in China

in this article, we will comment on a number of technical challenges arising from these STB trends. We will also investigate some solutions that are already available or are being developed by some integrated circuit companies, such as Zhuolian semiconductor

motherboard tuner

product engineers can easily point out that the challenge of reducing the cost of existing entry-level products is no less than that of developing new products with new functions. Is there any room to save costs by crowding into the third generation entry-level satellite TV STB

with manufacturers facing increasingly fierce price competition pressure, it is hoped that component suppliers can lower their costs. However, history shows that, in fact, the most effective way to reduce prices comes from the continuous improvement of the level of core IC function integration by integrated circuit providers

Zhuolian has successfully cooperated with design and product engineers to improve the integration level of RF tuners. Silicon tuners installed on motherboards have been used in pay TV satellite receivers for many years, but until recently, they have only begun to have some impact in the free reception market. This is mainly due to the different performance requirements of the two markets

Figure 2: the zle10538 reference design of Zhuolian integrates the satellite front-end tuner and demodulator chip to provide a motherboard solution for receiving digital satellite digital TV signals

the satellite pay TV market usually requires the tuner to have good sensitivity and excellent unwanted signal suppression (d/u ratio), such as strong adjacent channels. This is because there are often harsh broadcast conditions in multi satellite pay TV systems, and sometimes point beams are even added to local programs

in contrast, free TV receiving systems generally do not have such stringent d/u performance requirements, but they do need to be as sensitive as possible. With a more sensitive front end, the STB will receive more signals. Surprisingly, people often ask for additional sensitivity. The reason is very simple. Since the free market devices are generally sold through retailers, it is impossible for a service provider to control a unified installation standard. Due to the variety of components and installation quality, there is a large signal loss

Zhuolian has specially developed a series of easy to implement reference designs based on its zl10036 ZIF tuner and ZL10313 QPSK demodulator. The reference design is designed to be implemented directly on the STB motherboard, and can be selected for the best use in the pay TV or free reception environment. By adopting the motherboard tuner solution in the free receive STB, the system designer is expected to save one dollar or more in the front end of one dollar. The cost reduction of% for the main function blocks of STB represents a great cost savings

Figure 3: the zle10538 reference design of Zhuolian integrates the satellite front-end tuner and demodulator, and provides a motherboard solution for receiving digital satellite digital TV signals

lower power consumption

power consumption is becoming more and more important in some market areas. Under the pressure of the government, pay TV operators must continuously reduce the power consumption of their products for environmental and cost reasons. In the UK, it is calculated that if there is no new power saving technology, the new power consumption of STB or iDTV (integrated digital TV) in 24million households will need to build two more power stations

low power consumption is obviously as important for prolonging the battery life of portable devices as USB devices. The development trend is to supply power to plug-in USB devices completely from the USB port itself, and the maximum current is limited to 100 mA

Zhuolian semiconductor continues to lead the development of low-power digital TV demodulator. The power consumption of all Zhuolian demodulators is lower than 300MW, and some products are even far lower than this figure. The mt352 ground demodulator is the only DVB-T demodulator in the market that has enough low power consumption to allow full bus powered DVB-T USB front-end

Figure 4: the mt352 demodulator of Zhuolian provides the lowest working and standby power consumption in the industry, and the fastest DVB-T blind scanning and automatic recapture functions

based on the pursuit of this low-power concept, Zhuolian's next-generation ZIF satellite tuner will reduce the RF front-end power consumption by half, so that the power consumption of the tuner and demodulator chipset under normal operation is less than 750mW. Similar products for other market areas will also be launched later. The task of design engineers today is more difficult than ever before, and such innovations will help to meet many often conflicting design goals

the rise of HDTV

Japanese consumers began to appreciate HDTV many years ago, and 2005 may become a year when HDTV has evolved into a global phenomenon. The provision of multi-channel HDTV services is the theme, and many pay TV operators are planning to launch HD Channel advanced services in 2005 or 2006. The speed of deployment will vary greatly from region to region and will largely depend on the popularity of HD displays

based on the expectation of this change, major suppliers in this market are standardizing the interface between HD receiver and HD display. HDMI and DVI interface standards have strong support. Some manufacturers will support both standards in the new HD receiver products. In January this year, the European information and Communication Technology Industry Association (eicta) released a standard on the implementation of "HD ready" logo for TV, plasma screen and other HD displays. Many industry analysts believe that the evolution from standard definition TV to HDTV will be the next major evolution of TV, and its importance is similar to the evolution from black-and-white TV to color TV

most pay TV operators are ready to choose to provide PVR and related products as their standard HD platform. They believe that this combination can provide their customers with the most competitive solutions and provide the greatest opportunity to increase the average revenue (RPU) of family professional answers to your operational problems

in the satellite field, many operators will shift their HD services to dvb-s2/mpeg4 based standards in 2005 and 2006 to make full use of available bandwidth. In 2004, Zhuolian launched one of the few silicon tuner ICs in the industry that fully meets all the requirements of the DVB-S2 standard. The chip can provide 8PSK, 16QAM, 16APSK and 32psk compatible performance

Figure 5: in combination with the requirements of DVB-S2, the zl10038 tuner of Zhuolian is specially designed for satellite set-top boxes,

used to receive broadband services such as high-speed Internet and HDTV

ip-t plastic processing industry is still under great downward pressure v

two buzzwords in 2004 are ip-tv and Windows Media 9. The appearance of many new pay TV services based on IP in 2004 represents the beginning of a major turning point in television broadcasting. In France, pay TV operators based on IP add 2500 users every month, and the number of users will reach 1million by 2007

interestingly, the combination of DVB-T and ip-tv into a single platform has become increasingly popular in regions such as France, where terrestrial TV is still the best solution for receiving public service channels. For example, Neuf Telecom recently announced the addition of DTT function, also known as mechanical performance testing machine, to its TV over IP decoder, which was several weeks ahead of the launch of the French DDT service plan

similarly, people will find Zhuolian DVB-T demodulator in many such emerging solutions. Mt352 demodulator, which is favored for its powerful performance in weak signal area and easy to use, contains a state machine, which reduces the task of device programming. Now it can be completed with only a few bytes. In contrast, it is much more complicated to program other demodulator chips that require a lot of software

at the same time, as wm9 competes with other systems to control the future home level, the struggle to control the software platform that forms the basis of ip-tv receiver will continue to heat up in 2005 and 2006

diversity reception in digital TV terrestrial platform

as DVB-T broadcasting continues to be deployed worldwide, designers are now shifting their attention from countries that benefit from the early free reception of digital TV terrestrial services to potential markets for portable and mobile DVB-T products

in the broad description of "mobile" or "portable", there are several distinct market areas. Portable and medium-sized LCD TV is large enough for the diversity antenna embedded in the box. This product generally does not need to receive in high-speed motion. The mobile on-board system also has enough space to install paired antennas, but here, it is obviously a "necessary function" to achieve good reception in motion

between these two applications, there is a growing market for small and portable TVs. These devices are not large enough to support the two antennas that must be able to move (if not always at the speed of the car). This third kind of application also needs to have low power consumption characteristics, and extending the battery working time is very important in such consumer products. Zhuolian's low-power mt352 DVB-T demodulator is still the best solution for static and portable applications. According to the product roadmap, a differentiated product with diversity and higher speed mobility will be launched in 2005


the digital TV STB market will continue to be an exciting and exciting field. The main challenge facing design engineers is still the same, that is, to design competitive products at a lower cost in a shorter time period

however, at a more detailed level, design challenges are changing.

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