Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd. said it has developed a digital cable TV tuner with a double-conversion configuration that requires 70% fewer components and is about 40% smaller than competing double-conversion tuners, bringing down cost.
Murata's CAPTU3000 tuner, which uses a number of ICs in its mixer circuits, measures 50 x 41 x 12mm, freeing space inside the set-top box for other functions, according to Bill Kutsche, manager of the modules product assembly group for the company's U.S. sales organization, Murata Electronics North America Inc., Smyrna, Ga.
"Recently, makers of digital set-top boxes have found it advantageous to reduce their size in order to reduce cost," which in turn has created a need for smaller, less costly tuners, prompting Murata to achieve higher levels of component integration, Kutsche said.
The tuner, which will enable Internet access, in-home networking, and digital video recording, is expected to cost under $10 each in production volumes, he said.
Murata's tuner is for advanced digital set-top boxes containing multiple tuners for main picture, picture-in-picture, and out-of-band handling. The company said it has developed a similar version for non-cable digital TV applications.
Jay Srivasta, an analyst with iSuppli Corp., El Segundo, Calif., said Murata's digital tuner will be useful for next-generation set-top boxes where extra tuners will be needed for more features, but noted that demand for such products is only a small factor in today's digital tuner market.
"People are not yet buying high-end boxes," Srivasta said. "Most set-tops today and in the near future will only have a single tuner. What's more important is for a tuner to be highly sensitive."
Kutsche said that because Murata's tuner uses a double-conversion circuit configuration where the incoming signal is oscillated to a higher frequency, then converted to a lower frequency, adjacent channel rejection is improved for cleaner signal performance.
Murata will begin making the tuner in October at volumes of 300,000 units a month. Samples will cost $25 with a lead time of four to six weeks.