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Silicon Laboratories Si21x8 TV tuners

Silicon Laboratories launched its fourth generation TV tuner product line, which includes devices that offer greater integration, lower power consumption and the highest tolerance to Wi-Fi and LTE interference.

The Si21x8 family includes five TV tuner devices optimized for hybrid analog/digital iDTVs, analog-only or digital-only TVs, portable TVs, DVD and Blu-ray recorders, and terrestrial and cable set-top boxes (STBs). They support all worldwide terrestrial and cable TV standards.

The devices are already designed into a majority of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 television manufacturers in Korea and Japan with the exception of Sony, which procures its components internally. Silicon Labs (Austin, Tex.) is close to securing a design win with a major supplier in China, according to Eric Garlepp, director of marketing for video products at Silicon Labs.

Compared with its third generation TV tuner family, Si21x8 devices offer higher integration, helping to lower costs. They don't require an external balun, tracking-filter inductors, or inductive power supply filtering. Devices in the Si21x8 family are pin-compatible and housed in a tiny 4 mm x 4 mm QFN-28 package, enabling the smallest PCB.

In addition, a single 3.3 V power supply option eliminates external LDO. They can also be equipped with a power-on reset circuit, which eliminates a module pin. And with the Si21x8 line, Silicon Labs enhanced the on-chip ESD protection on 6 pins. As a result, tier-1 TV makers, which strive to comply with the stringent ESD spec “IEC 61000-4-2” can eliminate up to six ESD diodes from the module BOM for a significant system cost reduction compared with the previous generation Si21x6.

The Si21x8 also incorporates a harmonic-rejection mixer for high Wi-Fi and LTE immunity in Internet-connected TVs with a WiFi radio. The on-chip WiFi immunity of the Si21x8 is 36 dB higher than the previous generation Si21x6, Garlepp said.

The analog reception in today's televisions can produce poor picture quality; as the screen size expands, the noise increases, producing graininess in the picture. To suppress the exaggerated look of the pixels and improve the visual experience, Silicon Labs has boosted the video SNR to lower the noise output of the tuner. “We've improved our tuner's output noise by 6dB,” Garlepp said.  “The result is an analog picture that is crisper and clearer.”

Silicon Labs cut the power consumption of its latest generation of TV tuners by 50% to 480 mW, attributing the reduction to hardware enhancements and CMOS process technology.

Samples and production quantities are available now. The Si2178 hybrid TV tuner with analog demodulator is priced at $1.40 USD in 10,000-unit quantities.

Datasheets: Click here.

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