• From: Eory Frank-p22212 <Frank.Eory@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "'opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx'" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 2 Apr 2005 14:14:31 -0700

S J Birkill wrote:

>Tom Barry wrote:

>> But can anyone then say what is the price difference between a good 
>> and
>> bad can-type tuner?  Maybe we would rather buy the ones that work?

>Commodity-type VHF/UHF DTV tuner can, 10dB max NF, single conversion using
>(e.g.) Infineon TUA6034 MOPLL chip, including discrete production-aligned 
>tracking filter, 6MHz SAW filter and >ADC-ready IF output, but not including 
>demod., about $3.50 volume price from European or Asian manufacturer.

>Alignment-free DTV tuner integrated on product main board, UK design as used 
>in various European STB/iDTVs/DVRs. >Multi-carrier D/U ratio enhanced for US 
>OTA environment, NF 5dB max, otherwise as above, volume BoM cost less >than 

>Can only infer that the CE manufacturers (including LG) aren't interested in 
>making a product that works...


Your numbers sound about right. Let's call it $4 for an RF + IF front end 
suitable for a mass-production DTV receiver. The demod/FEC function may be a 
chip of its own -- typical of most DBS & DTT receivers -- or may be integrated 
into an SoC that includes all the other required functions. For the VHF/UHF DTV 
transmission systems that are widely deployed -- Annex A & B QAM for digital 
cable and DVB-T for terrestrial -- the cost of the demod/FEC function, whether 
integrated or stand-alone, isn't much more than that $4 figure for the RF + IF. 
So for those systems, you're in for about $8 or $9 to turn RF into MPEG2 
transport streams. The "back end" functions -- transport demux, A/V decoders, 
host CPU, deinterlacing, video scaling, A/V output circuits, plus the required 
DDR memory, cost a great deal more than that for a high-end HD product. Is it 
possible to build a RF/IF front end with much higher performance? Sure. Will it 
cost more than the standard $8-$9? Yep. Is it likely to!
  be important to achieving maximum 8VSB reception performance? Probably. Will 
CE mfrs and consumers pay for that extra performance? Not likely.

LG's statement that the 8VSB portion of the total BOM cost is relatively small 
is probably correct. Since the demod/FEC for competing DTT & digital cable 
systems is only worth $4 or $5, and for DBS it's quite a bit less than that, 
the market expectation for the cost of a 8VSB demod/FEC is probably similar. 
Even if LG's chip cost quite a lot more than $4-$5, it may still be a 
relatively small percentage of the total BOM cost of the receiver/decoder.

So it may be true that 8VSB isn't really more expensive than COFDM, simply 
because it isn't allowed to be. Then the question is, "how much 
demod/equalizer/FEC performance can you put into a $4 or $5 chip and still make 
a reasonable profit?" It isn't an economically realistic option to make, say, a 
$20 8VSB chip if that is what it takes to get really high reception 
performance, because by definition you won't sell very many of them. Not only 
because the market demand for 8VSB receivers is small, but because the relative 
value of the extra reception performance is not likely to be worth 4x the cost 
of a more ordinary 8VSB chip -- even if 4x is "only" $20.

-- Frank
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