Integrated optical receivers for specialized digital television boadcast systems

Jarfalla, Sweden, December 11, 2003 – Zarlink Semiconductor launched the industry's first integrated optical receivers for highly specialized DTV (digital television) optical broadcast systems.

Zarlink's ZL60012 and ZL60013 optical receivers are designed specifically for optical transmission systems and sub-systems used by production houses and television studios to transport and process broadcast-quality, uncompressed SDTV (standard digital television) and HDTV (high-definition digital television) signals at distances and speeds beyond the reach of copper cabling.

As the television industry adopts DTV and HDTV systems, broadcasters and production houses require high-quality digital signals throughout the production, post-production and transmission stages. For example, broadcast-quality signals need to be transferred from a digital camera to a remote broadcast facility, or between studios within a production complex.

However, at standard DTV speeds of 270 Mb/s, copper-based transmission of DTV signals is typically limited to distances less than 500 meters; at HDTV speeds of 1.48 Gb/s, this distance is even shorter. In comparison, optical transmission systems permit the transmission of DTV signals up to 70 kilometers.

“With the drive towards HDTV, production houses and broadcasters require end-to-end digital systems,” said Marco Ghisoni, business development manager, Optical Components, Zarlink Semiconductor. “Zarlink's new family of optical receivers meets customer needs for cost-effective, fully integrated components.”

Integrated device reduces board size and design cost
As the first integrated optical receivers for SDTV and HDTV transmission systems, the ZL60012/13 devices help simplify the design, reduce the cost and improve the performance of DTV optical broadcast systems. The receivers are already in use with several customers worldwide.

Traditional DTV optical transmission systems rely on two devices a photodiode detector and an electrical amplifier to perform the receive function. However, using separate components demands additional wiring that consumes board space, while establishing connection paths between the components increases the design effort.

Zarlink's receivers integrate an InGaAs (Indium Gallium Arsenide) photodiode and a transimpedance amplifier into a compact, integrated package that saves up to 30% of board space and significantly reduces design time. Integration can also result in performance advantages, including reduced signal noise and data errors.

Single, integrated device handles specialized video signals
Zarlink's optical receivers handle the specific characteristics of SDI (serial digital interface) DTV signals. These DC-unbalanced signals, also called pathological signals, require specialized devices capable of handling this data, largely because of the distinct, unequal distribution of “0s” and “1s” in the bit stream. Optical devices in traditional telecommunications systems are standardized to handle a DC-balanced signal with an equal distribution of “0s” and “1s” in the bit stream.

The ZL60012 receiver operates at up to 270 Mb/s, meeting the specifications of the 259M SDTV standard defined by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and the SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers). The ZL60013 receiver operates at up to 1.5 Gb/s, and meets the ANSI/SMPTE 292M standard for HDTV. The devices operate at wavelengths between 1000 and 1600 nanometers, over both single-mode and multi-mode fiber.

Pricing and availability
The ZL60012/13 receivers are available in a variety of housings, including Pigtail. The standard ZL60013 is packaged with an SC compatible housing, according to ANSI/SMPTE specifications. In volumes of 1K, pricing ranges from US$25.00 to US$50, depending on device type and housing option.

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