Microtune chip plays a 1 GHz tune

Sat, 01/31/2004 - 7:00pm

Taking aim at media gateways capable of shipping bandwidth-intensive video throughout the home, Microtune has unveiled the MT2121, a new silicon tuner that the company says is the first to reach into the 1 GHz domain.

"We've been asked to do a tuner to handle up to 1 GHz and have it ready when cable operators make the upgrade," said Microtune President and CEO Jim Fontaine.

Optimized to receive and tune radio frequencies in the 50 MHz to 1 GHz range of the cable spectrum, the new chip is designed for video-on-demand, high-definition video and in-home distribution.

The push to 1 GHz will come in handy when operators extend their HD offerings, said Microtune Chief Operating Officer Bud Taddiken. "[HD] will become more of a [spectrum capacity] issue in the future, thus the need for ever-increasing frequencies," he said. Microtune's previous generation tuner, the MT2111, covered the 50 MHz-860 MHz band.

The MT2121 is also designed to streamline the implementation of single- and multi-tuner set-tops that comply with OpenCable, a CableLabs-led initiative for set-tops and other digital "hosts" tagged for retail distribution. It's also built to comply with Plug & Play, an FCC-approved platform for set-top-free digital televisions.

Microtune claimed the footprint of the silicon-based MT2121 is 50 percent smaller than "comparable module-level" products. Microtune said pricing of the new tuner starts at $5.50 apiece in quantities of 10,000.


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