Product Spotlight: MicroTuner MT2050 single-chip tuner

Jun 10, 2002  •  Post A Comment

What it is: The MicroTuner MT2050 single-chip tuner from Microtune in Plano, Texas.
What it does: The tuner is geared for digital applications, specifically price-sensitive ones such as cable modems, said Jim Fontaine, chief strategy officer with the company. Cable modems, which sold for $250 two years ago, now go for about $50. The new chip helps reduce modem costs because it eliminates certain parts by integrating intermediate frequency amplifiers into the chip itself, Mr. Fontaine said. “You can also reduce the manufacturing cost by making chips more flexible,” he said. The new chip reduces radio frequency costs by about 25 percent, board space by 20 percent and power use by 11 percent.
Features and benefits: The chip runs at 11/2 watts of continuous power. With that low power level, the manufacturer no longer needs to include a heat-reducing system in the modem, Mr. Fontaine said. The mircophonics of the chip have also been improved, meaning if someone accidentally knocks the modem, it won’t lose data. “They are kind of nonglamorous [changes], but they help our customers a lot,” he said.
Target market: The new chip is for digital-only applications, such as cable modems and digital-only interactive set-tops boxes used in places such as the Far East or Europe that don’t require analog must-carry.
Customers: Hitron, a modem maker in the Far East, and ABD, which makes set-tops for the international market, are among the first customers that plan to include the MT2050 tuners in their equipment.
Availability: The tuner will be shipped in the third quarter.
Price: The cost for the MT2050 is $5 a chip for quantities of 10,000.