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Versatile satellite silicon tuner reduces system costs

September 10, 2010 // Paul Buckley

Versatile satellite silicon tuner reduces system costs

NXP Semiconductors N.V. has released what the company claims is the world’s first satellite silicon tuner to address the challenging requirements of both free-to-air (FTA) and operator satellite set-top box (STB) applications. The TDA20142 also reduces system cost through competitive pricing and reduced bill of materials (BoM).

FTA tuners require high sensitivity, but often ignore linearity. Operator tuners, on the other hand, do not require the same sensitivity as FTA tuners, but need high linearity. The TDA20142 was designed to provide industry-leading RF performance in both areas. In particular, the device’s low Noise Figure of typically 5.5 dB means excellent sensitivity for FTA applications, while its high IIP3 of typically +10 dBm means high linearity for operator applications. At the same time, each application benefits from the enhanced performance provided by optimizations in the other. Because the TDA20142 addresses both high and low ends of the power spectrum, it has a very wide dynamic range of approximately 100 dB.

To achieve the sensitivity required by FTA applications, it is common for STB makers to use an external Low Noise Amplifier (LNA). By integrating this FTA LNA and loopthrough, the TDA20142 reduces the bill of materials for STB manufacturers, while reducing the complexity of the designs. The TDA20142 further reduces BoM by including a flexible crystal oscillator and buffered clock output with optional dividers; with this feature, STB designers can reduce BoM costs by sharing crystal clocks between multiple ICs.

With the TDA20142, set-top box manufacturers can use a single reference design for all single satellite applications, reducing costs and avoiding the need to source and stock LNAs and multiple types of tuners. Free-to-air broadcasters moving from standard definition to high-definition satellite STBs now have a cost-effective, higher-quality alternative to using more expensive silicon tuners, while operators benefit from the ability to receive lower-power signals and serve markets with marginal reception.  STBs using the TDA20142 claims to enable a better viewing experience, even for viewers at the edge of the satellite footprint.

The satellite silicon tuner will be showcased at IBC 2010 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Engineering samples of the TDA20142 are available immediately.

More information about the TDA20142 satellite silicon tuner at:

Visit NXP Semiconductors at

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