DALLAS -- Texas Instruments Inc. here and six-year-old Microtune Inc. in the Dallas suburb of Plano are teaming up for the first time to jointly develop and offer chip set solutions for baseband communications applications using data over cable service interface specification (known as "DOCSIS").
Under the new partnership, TI and Microtune said they will provide a cable modem baseband and radio-frequency chip set complete with DOCSIS-based software that has been certified in multiple cable modem products. In addition, the two companies said they will collaborate on silicon product roadmaps and cable modem reference designs--or engineering mockups--for potential customers.
"Cable modem suppliers want a highly optimized and field-hardened solution for their cable product platforms," said Brett Butler, general manager of TI's cable broadband communications product offering. "Simply put, the TI and Microtune relationship provides that," he stated. "Our relationship is extremely complementary and clearly addresses operators' needs with an industry-leading solution."
TI, the world's fourth largest IC supplier at about $6 billion in semiconductor revenues, rarely cooperates with local startups. With TI dominating the Dallas area for semiconductor talent, many startups and founders have roots that trace back to Texas Instruments. Some of Microtune's managers and top engineers joined the Plano startup in the late 1990s after leaving TI's analog and RF operations--in particularly the company's former defense group, which was sold to Raytheon Co. for $2.95 billion in cash in 1997.
But now TI and Microtune are pairing up to accelerate the availability of low-cost chip solutions for low-power and higher performance DOCSIS 1.1- and DOCSIS 2.0- based access products. The first solution features TI's cable modem hardware and software as well as Microtune's silicon RF cable network interface devices. These include the MicroTuner MT2040 tuner IC, MicroStreamer MT1530 upstream amplifier, and MT1230 intermediate frequency (IF) amplifier, said Microtune. The reference design platform is available from TI.
"TI and Microtune were the first suppliers to enable cable modems that achieved DOCSIS 1.1 certification, and both companies have managed an incredible DOCSIS certification success rate at CableLabs," stated Douglas J. Bartek, chairman and CEO of Microtune. The partnership is making available "the most complete and competitive solution available," he added.
Terms of the joint-development pact were not released.