Microtune has developed a chip architecture that brings Software Defined Radio (SDR) to car radios.
The MT3511 RF MicroDigitizer provides a flexible RF front end for many different standards and is coupled with a digital signal processor for a low cost implemention in a car radio.
For automotive manufacturers, software defined radio (SDR) represents a revolutionary approach to in-vehicle car entertainment, connectivity and multimedia. It enables them to flexibly deliver the most popular consumer features AM/FM, digital radio, CD audio, MP3 playback, navigation, as well as connectivity for iPod®, SD card, USB and Bluetooth by using common hardware that is configurable, scalable and upgradable via software. SDR solutions dramatically change ‘infotainment’ business, design and manufacturing models. This technology offers car makers a global radio platform, increased design flexibility, substantial cost-efficiencies and a future-proof migration path to new standards and enhanced features.
The MT3511 is a key front-end component in the SDR architecture. It combines the functions of a state-of-the-art RF tuner and an advanced analogue-to-digital converter in a single miniature chipit receives and tunes a broadcast signal from a car antenna, and then converts the signal from analog to digital format for processing in software by a DSP or multimedia processor. It also supports world-standard AM/FM, HD Radio technology, digital radio mondiale (DRM), and weather band, and a DAB version with support for the higher frequency L band is being considered.
The advantage is that it replaces multiple hardware-specific components in today’s radio subsystem with a generic hardware platform that reduces design complexity, time-to-market, time-to-qualification and costs.
“For decades, leading automotive manufacturers and Tier-1 suppliers have used Microtune radio and TV tuners to migrate compelling consumer-class entertainment to the car,” said James Fontaine, President and CEO of Microtune. “We are now introducing a single-chip RF-to-digital converter that will help drive software defined radio throughout the auto industry as a practical mainstream technology. The MT3511 will be a key enabler for the future of in-vehicle audio and multimedia, while it fuels growth and opportunity for our Company across the worldwide automotive entertainment markets.”
“Software defined radio has been the holy grail of the automotive industry,” said Paul O’Donovan, analyst, Gartner Research. “While car makers have been eager to deploy the SDR concept, the baseline hardware technology required to navigate commercial cost sensitivities and the stringent automotive quality and manufacturing requirements has not been available. Modern multimedia or DSP processors are now increasing in computer power, allowing the complete processing of radio signals in software, while providing the necessary connectivity features. SDR applications also demand a new kind of front-end technology, such as the MT3511, that can receive and digitize radio broadcast signals across the fast-changing signal environment of the moving vehicle.”Key Features
The MT3511 is characterized by very high RF-to-bits performance, a high level of integration, low cost and very low profile. With its high sensitivity, high linearity, and configurable, fully autonomous automatic gain control circuit, the MT3511 is engineered to deliver stable, clear digital intermediate frequency (IF) signals. It offers the system designer the flexibility to configure solutions for even the most challenging reception environments, while enabling high-quality radio sound and multimedia within the SDR system.
As a key feature, the MT3511 is optimized to work in the digital domain of the SDR architecture and supports on-board designs with minimal external components. It is engineered to support block-oriented processing, and combined with a patented approach for generating a manageable data rate, it frees the microprocessor to focus on other tasks, including display, connectivity, traffic management and GPS. In effect, the MT3511 enables the microprocessor to manage its resources more effectively and efficiently, a key factor in overall SDR performance.
Other features include:
· Very low phase noise
· Fully-autonomous tuning-control engine
· Integrated high-performance 16-bit ADC with self-calibration and digital error correction
· Automatic data synchronization for FM phase-diversity applications
The MT3511 is the first member of the Automotive RF MicroDigitizer family, and future products will support new digital standards with even higher levels of integration. A complete technical description is provided in the MT3511 Product Brief.
As with Microtune’s other automotive products, the MT3511 is engineered to operate in the harsh vehicular environment, meeting the unique challenges of temperature and long product-life times as compared to consumer products. Developed to meet stringent automotive specifications, it supports temperatures from -40 to +85°C, and is designed to be qualified according to the requirements of the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC) Q100.
The MT3511 is currently sampling to key customers and is priced at $3.50 in volumes of 100,000/year. $2 TV chip
It has also developed world-standard radio frequency (RF)-to-baseband IC, based on the new architecture. The MT3141 single chip enables TV manufacturers to use a smaller, higher-performance and more cost-effective receiver across their next-generation global digital television designs. Using Microtune’s MT3141, manufacturers can build thinner, lighter digital TVs that deliver premium performance for all brands, models, price points and screen sizes.
The MT3141 is:
· A miniaturized RF-to-baseband single chip that combines the functions of an RF tuner, analog TV demodulator, intermediate frequency (IF) filters and amplifiers in a 6 mm x 6 mm IC.
· The only receiver engineered to exceed the RF performance requirements of worldwide analog/digital broadcast and cable standards*, including those for China’s new CTTB (also known as DTMB or DMB-T) and Europe’s next-generation DVB-T2 requirements.
· Tiny enough for the lightest ‘picture on a wall’ TVs, but packs the performance to put a superb TV picture on the biggest wide screen.
At $2.00 in high volumes, the MT3141 breaks through price, performance and size barriers to enable TV manufacturers finally to deploy an advanced silicon receiver in an unified high-quality front-end across all next-generation television platforms.
“Faced with increasing complexity, shrinking ASPs, divergent broadcast standards, and the need to differentiate, TV manufacturers have been looking for a new class of world-standard electronics,” said James Fontaine, President and CEO of Microtune. “Yet across all these factors, manufacturers and consumers are driven by TV picture quality. With our MT3141, manufacturers can drive world-class receiver performance into global TVs, while reducing their footprint, design effort and manufacturing costs.”
Mr. Fontaine added, “Our highly integrated receiver provides the compelling price/performance to finally fuel the TV industry migration from traditional can tuners to silicon solutions, while taking digital TV into the future.”
Unmatched Performance Based on MicroCeiver™ Architecture
Based on new MicroCeiver technology, the MT3141 is a complete RF analog and digital signal processing system in a single chip. It fuses RF tuner, analog video demodulation, filter and amplifier capabilities together, erasing the distinctions across these functional boundaries. The M3141 employs internal techniques and proprietary algorithms to continuously update information about signal conditions across the signal path, optimizing performance across the entire receiver chain.
Key performance metrics include:
* Typical noise figure: 3 dB
* Video signal to noise ratio: greater than 60 dB
* Typical sensitivity ATSC: -88 dBm
* DVB-T desired to undesired signal: exceeds NorDig 2.1 specifications by greater than 10 dB
The MT3141 receiver delivers excellent sensitivity and superior adjacent channel rejection, technical metrics that directly translate into an increase in digital TV signal coverage for broadcasters and high-quality, stable TV reception for TV viewers.
MT3141 Receiver: Dramatic Integration and Cost Reduction
A single chip, the MT3141 receives all frequencies in the 44 MHz to 1.0 GHz range. It converts a selected channel either to a low-IF or to a standard IF between 4 MHz and 57 MHz, and it outputs filtered audio (SIF) and baseband video (CVBS) signals. It is characterized by a very high level of integration with minimal external bill of materials that require no active components. The MT3141 virtually eliminates an external bill of materials.
The MT3141 complies with worldwide broadcast standards* and is engineered to exceed all performance requirements published for them, including those for legacy analog TV reception (NTSC, PAL and SECAM analog television signals for off-air and cable). The transition to digital broadcast around the world is expected to continue through at least 2018. For more technical information about the MT3141, please read the MT3141 Product Brief.
Price and Availability
Offered in a 6.0 mm x 6.0 mm 40-pin QFN package, the MT3141 tuner is available now to early access customers and is priced at $2.00 in high volume. To simplify evaluation and design for qualified customers, Microtune offers a MicroCeiver MT3141 evaluation board and reference design.