Zarlink introduces next generation of leading demodulator chip for digital satellite TV

Zarlink logo

ZL 10313 demodulator adds fully flexible interface to MPEG decoder products, offers high-speed "blind scan" and low power consumption

Zarlink Semiconductor has introduced the next generation of its industry-leading QPSK (quaternary phase shift keying) demodulators for digital satellite TV systems.

Zarlink's ZL10313 chip is targeted at DVB-S (Digital Video Broadcasting-Satellite) receivers used worldwide, and builds on the success of the ZL10312 demodulator. In China alone, approximately 50 percent of the digital satellite receivers manufactured for the domestic market use Zarlink demodulators.

Zarlink's newest demodulator is fully pin-compatible with its predecessor, and offers the same key features including superior "blind scan" capability that allows STB (set-top box) owners to scan the complete range of available television signals at high speed with minimal intervention. The new device now also directly interfaces with all common MPEG decoders and back-end STB processors, and is ideal for use in higher-end combination products such as dual-capacity satellite/terrestrial STBs.

The ZL10313 demodulator, when combined with Zarlink's ZL10036 tuner chip, provides manufacturers with a complete satellite front-end subsystem for tuning, scanning, decoding, and demodulating digital satellite TV signals. The new chip is aimed at STBs that receive DVB-S compliant "free-to-air" and subscriber-based satellite broadcasts, and DSS (Digital Satellite System)-compliant broadcasts.

"Expanding our successful demodulator design to incorporate flexible transport stream interface options and the ability to Tri-state transport stream outputs will help speed time-to-market for the next generation of satellite receivers," said Bob Ferreira, DTV Front-End product line director, Zarlink Semiconductor. "Customers who are evaluating the ZL10313 device are telling us that it reduces their reliance on external components, and will meet their design needs into 2005."

High-speed "blind scan" capability

ZL 10313 chip

Zarlink was first-to-market with demodulators delivering a very high-speed "blind scan" function. Receivers with competing demodulators typically rely on complex, software-based channel-scanning algorithms that often require the consumer to enter the key parameters of the signals they are looking for, such as the code rate, symbol rate and frequency.

In comparison, receivers with Zarlink demodulators use a hardware-based state machine to automatically scan the entire broadcast band many times faster. Because operators in the free-to-air environment routinely change services and relocate channels to new frequencies, the ability to easily re-scan and identify the available channels is a valuable feature for consumers.

Strong performance for free-to-air channels

Free-to-air satellite receivers are sold globally, and must be able to manage a wide range of satellite signals. Some countries are served by satellites delivering signals at predominantly low symbol rates, in the region of 1 or 2 MSps (megasymbols per second), while other countries need receivers capable of handling signals delivered at symbol rates up to 45 MSps. The ZL10313 chip delivers strong performance across the whole symbol rate range, allowing it to process a flexible range of channels without external components.

Low-power design

As STBs shrink in size, heat-sensitive RF tuner and demodulator chips are packed into smaller areas. The ZL10313 demodulator minimizes heat generation, which improves the front-end performance and field reliability. The chip consumes less than 300 mW of power in a typical application. It also features a "sleep" pin that reduces the chip's power requirement 1,000-fold when a set-top box is not in use, assisting manufacturers in meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STARĘ requirements. The ZL10313 device also complies fully with European DVB-S power specifications and the U.S. DSS standard.

Programming and support

The ZL10313 device includes its own state machine and as such can be programmed with very few instructions from the main set-top box CPU. The chip is backed with full software support and front-end reference designs for both can-tuner and motherboard implementations.

Pricing and availability

Zarlink's ZL10313 satellite channel demodulator chip is now in production. The chip is packaged in a 64-pin LQFP (low-quad flat pack) and measures only 7 mm x 7 mm. In 1K volumes, the ZL10313 is priced at US$3.65.

Press Release  |  18.08.2004

Previous story  |  Next story