Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Single-chip receiver for mobiles handles TV and radio

Start-up Mirics Semiconductor describes its new MS1001 RF-tuner IC (Picture) as a "polyband" device for mobile digital-broadcast reception. Although several companies have recently made announcements that focus on the mobile-TV sector, Mirics says that its chip has much wider applicability, covering multiple broadcast standards. The chip covers broadcast bands ranging from 100 kHz to 1.9 GHz.

The primary target market is the mobile phone. The company forecasts that, by 2009, some 20% of all phones will have mobile TV, but a much higher proportion will have radio capability, and the fraction that does have TV will encompass numerous standards. Mirics aims to provide the receiver function for TV and radio at the same cost and power level as FM radio alone. All the chip's signal processing is analog, and the chip reconfigures and reconnects its on-chip functional blocks in response to external commands, depending on the band and signal type. This reconfiguration extends to the basic architecture of the receiver function. In some cases, the receiver uses a direct-conversion, zero-IF layout; in others, it uses a conventional heterodyne architecture. The MS1001 has five RF inputs with individual on-chip low-noise amplifiers. It yields quadrature output signals, and you use a three-wire serial digital port to control the device's configuration, which you can change dynamically. As well as providing a single receiver chip for all bands, Mirics asserts that its product is the cheapest and lowest power device available, at $3.50 (10,000). Mirics aims to further reduce the cost to make the device competitive with chips that provide the FM function alone and to exploit mixed-signal capability to add a flexible on-chip digital demodulation capability


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