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Monday, February 14, 2005
Philips to deliver system-in-package DVB-H

Philips Semiconductors has expanded the roster of companies supporting DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld), announcing it will deliver it promised mobile digital TV receiver/demodulator in a system-in-package (SiP) by the end of the year.

The SiP, unveiled Monday (Feb. 14) at the 3GSM World Congress (Cannes, France) will integrate all requirements for DVB-H-compliant mobile DTV reception, ranging from a DTV tuner/receiver to a channel decoder and discrete components such as filtering and capacitors. The chip, however, does not include a source decoder for compressed video such as H.264.

Philips Semiconductors has teamed with Silicon & Software Systems (S3, Dublin, Ireland), which will provide a DVB-H-compliant software stack for controlling data used in mobile TV broadcast reception. Philips Semiconductors is providing the SiP and its own OFDM algorithm.

While both companies' hardware and software are still in development, Philips Semiconductors will demonstrate a board-based system that includes a FPGA and its current-generation DVB-T chip.

Philips will roll out a small system board ahead of the SiP in the second quarter to support handset vendors participating in the next phase of DVB-H trials. Volume production of the Sip will start in the first quarter of 2006. it will be priced between $11 and $12 in volume quantities.

The Dutch semiconductor company is not the first to embrace DVB-H. France's DiBcom has already demonstrated its own mobile TV demodulation chip using a Freescale-developed digital TV receiver chip. Both comply with DVB-H.

Philips hopes that size and power consumption will differentiate its SiP-based solution from the competition, according to Kees Joosse, market sector team manager for portable audio and personal entertainment solutions at Philips Semiconductors. The SiP, featuring DVB-Terrestrial (DVB-T)/DVB-H dual mode, measures 9 mm x 9 mm in size. Its low-cost silicon substrate also integrates a number of passive components, Joosse added.

Power consumption will be "less than 40 milliwatts" when operating in DVB-H mode, while consuming less than 300 milliwatts in DVB-T mode, Joosse said. The SiP will integrate an OFDM demodulator manufactured using a 90-nm CMOS process and a bipolar-based TV tuner.

Similarly, DiBcom estimated that combined power consumption for its OFDM demodulator and Freescale's DVB-H TV tuner is about 40 milliwatts. Yannick Levy, DiBcom's president and CEO, said the next step will be combining its chip with a DTV tuner in a low temperature cofire ceramic-based single- chip package. Levy declined to comment on the timing of this single-package solution, or with whom DiBcom may announce a partner.

"We are currently working with Freescale since they are the most advanced supplier of RF solution for DVB-H at this stage," he said. Freescale is also a minor investor in DiBcom.

Meanwhile, mobile IP specialist TTPCom (Cambridge, England) has also announced in Cannes it is entering the sector with a DVB-H demodulator/decoder for receivers.

Available as a system implementation in RTL, the DVB-H design builds on the DVB-T intellectual property that TTPCom already licensed to several semiconductor companies, and is used in digital set-top boxes.

According to Paul Hanlon, DVB-H product manager at TTPCom, "The possibility of delivering TV to mobile handsets opens up a huge opportunity for us, and we are already talking to several chip makers working on projects to integrate the technology into their devices."

The design supports a variety of low and zero IF front-end tuner architectures, though Hanlon said the majority of DVB-H designs will be based on zero IF.

Hanlon said TTPComs' "key differentiator" is that its receiver design is an extremely low-power solution. "Mobile multimedia is a great idea, but it must not compromise the power consumption of the handsets, otherwise it will never happen."

TTPCom uses time-slicing for power saving, CODFM 4K mode reception, FEC decoding and novel deinterleaver technologies for extra robustness.

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