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Micronas introduces dual-tuner DVB-T ExpressCard 54 reference design for notebook PCs


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Freiburg, Germany, May 10, 2006 - Micronas (SWX Swiss Exchange: MASN), a leading supplier of innovative application-specific IC system solutions for consumer electronics, today announced the launch of MicMamba™2D-XC, a dual-tuner DVB-T ExpressCard™ 54 reference design for notebook computers. MicMamba 2D-XC has two independent tuners on a single card. This allows notebook users to watch one program while recording another, delivering full PVR functionality in the user’s notebook computer. The notebook can now double as a portable TV or full media center. The dual-tuner design offers a second advantage – the card can combine the signals from both tuners to increase signal quality while moving, or in marginal-reception areas. This capability, commonly called “antenna diversity”, is based on the patented ‘Maximum Ratio Combining’ technology, licensed from Rohde and Schwarz.

“The antenna diversity feature of the Micronas DRX® 3976D dramatically improves indoor and mobile reception, regardless of where the notebook is placed.“ says Kai Scheffer, Director Media Home at Micronas. “Dual tuners give the user the best of both worlds - on the road, he gets maximum reception quality. At home, he can dock his notebook and it becomes a full home theater system, with full PVR watch-and-record capability. And it is easy to use - MicMamba 2D-XC works with Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) and other third-party applications.”

MicMamba 2D-XC is built on the ExpressCard 54 form factor, the new standard for notebook computers based on PCI Express®. It uses the native PCI Express mode, which offers the highest bandwidth and CPU efficiency to transport the data. Furthermore, MicMamba 2D-XC uses a low differential PCI Express signaling voltage, much above the DVB-T frequency spectrum (2.5 GHz), to minimize interference into the tuner. Other bus standards like PCI (single ended 33 MHz) and USB 2.0 (480 MHz) are prone to interfere with the tuner. The small size and low power consumption of MicMamba 2D-XC means it fits into the new generation of PCI Express-based notebook computers easily and delivers long battery life.

Micronas' extensive television expertise went into the design to ensure best picture quality. MicMamba 2D-XC uses the DRX 3976D COFDM demodulator and substantially exceeds all requirements of the NorDig-Unified v1.0.2 Receiver Specification. It allows a single design to be compatible with all DVB-T standards worldwide. The built-in diversity mode of DRX 3976D uses Maximum Ratio Combining technology. MicMamba 2D-XC also features the nGene® APB 7202A PCI Express controller from Micronas and a MicroTuner™ MT2060 digital TV tuner from Microtune.

“The Micronas design uses the best components available to transform a PCI-Express-capable notebook into a virtual TV, with PVR capabilities,” says Dirk Bilgram, broadband marketing manager at Microtune. “Our MT2060 single-chip tuner delivers excellent radio frequency (RF) performance, fits into the PC Card’s small form factor, and works very well within the Micronas environment.”

In a first for a PC Card TV class product, MicMamba 2D-XC is CENELEC-compliant. CENELEC sets very rigorous standards for electrical interference, and is a requirement for equipment sold for use in consumer living rooms. Micronas took this extra step to insure the best possible performance, and also to allow MicMamba 2D-XC to be used anywhere around the home.

Micronas’ nGene dual-channel multimedia PCI Express controller delivers the performance and robustness needed for notebooks, all in a single slot. nGene is certified by the PCI-SIG, the industry standard body for PCI Express technology, to be PCI Express 1.0a-compliant. This certification guarantees that MicMamba 2D-XC is compatible with a wide variety of notebooks PCs offering ExpressCard 54 slots.

MicMamba 2D-XC is the latest member of a family of nGene-based reference designs supported by a common software model. The common software support across the family makes it easy to design world-standard products. MicMamba 2D-XC is a complete, production-ready solution, and is available now.

Source: Micronas