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White Paper N2 - june 07

Evolution of DVB-T Front-end Receivers through integration

In August 2006, DiBcom announced the availability of three new integrated circuits, intended to reduce cost and simplify DVB-T and DVB-H digital reception on all mobile and portable devices. The DIB7070 family regroups components that implement either DVB-T only, DVB-H only, or both standards. All these components utilize the System-in-Package (SiP) technology to integrate two dies (Tuner + Demodulator) in one chip. This approach offers real advantages to digital television applications (Fixed and Mobile) in terms of performance, size and cost reduction. The DIB7070 components are targeted for markets such as TV reception on PCs, in-car DVB-T boxes, and other portable multimedia TV receivers. The high level of integration and low cost have proven to be strong arguments in replacing the bulky DVB-T frontends in set-top boxes and television sets. Even more convincing is the use of the DIB7070 in solutions where there is a need for a dual antenna/tuner device. The goal being to support antenna diversity when reception conditions are not optimal or to offer a PVR/Time-shifting functionality.

< 2004

Traditional in-can tuner front-end


Two chip front-end RF tuner + demod


One chip front-end


One chip front-end smaller package

DIB9080 7x7mm DIB7070 12x12mm

Evolution of integration by


Three chip receiver DIB3000 (2005)

Two chip receiver DIB7070 (2006)

One chip receiver DIB7770 (2007)

Copyright DiBcom - MK0706WP2

Traditional Set Top Box

A DVB-T decoder for the reception of digital television is essentially composed of a front-end and a back-end (Figure 1). The front-end includes an antenna, an RF tuner, and a demodulator. The tuner ensures filtering and conversion of the selected RF channel, in an intermediate frequency (IF) or in baseband, while the demodulator ensures the channel decoding and reproduces the data being transmitted.

Traditional DVB-T Set-Top-Box Design

Tuner (RF)
FI or Baseband



(MPEG2 decoder, ...)

Back-end Processor

User Interface

The back-end of the receiver processes the source decoding and decompresses the data (source-coded in Mpeg-2 or Mpeg-4).

(Display, remote control, audio/video switching...)

Figure 1

Current DVB-T set-top boxes are equipped with a particularly large front-end (Figure 1 shows a classic DVB-T Set-Top Box.) However, introducing a tuner into the new mobile multimedia TV receivers, or potentially into LCD television sets with integrated DVB-T receivers, is an arduous task. The front-end (shown in blue box) is composed of an RF tuner, commonly called in-can as it is housed in a metallic casing, a Surface Acoustic Wave filter (SAW), an IF amplifier, a crystal and a DVB-T demodulator in baseband. This solution is obviously not optimized from the point of view of overall dimensions. The implementation is generally bulky, 4x5x1 cm, and too large for use in portable terminals. In addition, the in-can tuner consumes a high level of power (~700 mW) and requires a great deal of fine-tuning before leaving the factory. The RF filters need to be centered on the wanted channel, and therefore must be able to track the desired frequency when the user selects a given channel. This characteristic makes it difficult to integrate, and it is usually implemented with discrete components such as coils and variable capacitors (varicaps) as in Figures 2 & 2a. This results in a dispersion of the receivers characteristics (sensitivity, filtering, etc). Advancements in silicon technologies now allow us to integrate all types of electronic structures including capacitors and inductors (Figure 3).
Figure 2 Figure 2a Figure 3 Integrated inductors


55 mm

Manual Tuning

High integration

A Fully Integrated Front-End

The integration of a silicon RF tuner and a DVB-T demodulator in the same component resolves the problems of space, characteristics dispersion and cost of front-ends. This is the path chosen by DiBcom with the DIB7070 family (Figure 4a).

Quartz DIB7070P

Figure 4a: DIB7070 Block Diagram

Figure 4b: DIB7070 chipset

Among the members of this family, the DIB7070-P is dedicated to terrestrial digital TV reception on PCs or portable multimedia devices. It allows for the implementation of highly integrated solutions, in simple mode or with a double antenna (diversity mode), in order to ensure the best possible DVB-T indoor reception. The DIB7070-P integrates the two functions of tuner and DVB-T demodulator, thus reducing the front-end to its simplest form (Figure 4b). The tuner/demodulator coupling has a big impact on AGC optimization and prevents the duplication of modules in both circuits. Moreover, the integration is especially efficient when a Zero IF (I & Q) tuner output is used because the costly external RF SAW filter is replaced by a simple digital filter in the demodulator. A simple crystal oscillator is therefore the only external component required. Moreover, the fact that supplies are reduced to a single component also leans in favor of the DIB7070-P. Consumption levels of approximately 400mW can be measured on these circuits in DVB-T mode, on both UHF and VHF(III) bands.

Receiver Sensitivity:
The reception sensitivity, selection of adjacent channels, and saturation due to high-level signals, are the stringent elements of the performance required by fixed and mobile DVB-T receivers as defined by the NorDig and MBRAI specifications. The sensitivity is defined as the minimum received field strength Cmin needed at the input of the front-end insuring a Quasi Error Free (QEF) performance (ie a Bit Error rate of 2x10-4) after the Viterbi decoder. The calculated sensitivity is given by the following formula:


NF : Noise Figure of the receiver in dB C/N : Carrier to Noise Ratio in dB B : Bandwith of the receiver in MHz

The Noise Figure (NF) is mainly related to the performance of the tuner. For the DIB7070 or DIB9080 families the Noise Figure is around 3 dB. The Carrier to Noise Ratio (C/N) value comes from the demodulator. The Proven Performance DiBcom chips exceed the lower Typical Reference Receiver C/N performance by a full 3dB which can achieve a given quality level in a coverage area at least 50% greater than the reference ! Table 1 shows the measured sensitivity (without the need for an external LNA): Sensitivity 8K QPSK CR=1/2 8K 16QAM CR=1/2 8k 64QAM CR=1/2
Table 1

Measured Average sensitivity (dBm) -97.4 -91.5 -83.9

DiBcoms Average margin (dB) vs MBRAI spec 3.8 3.6 3.7


BXE 0P -

G Xa -

. A1 1 R93 QG 9NQ . A 0 - C 1 D2 14 - 10 6 0

Receiver Linearity and Selectivity

The linearity characteristic is very important. It helps achieve a good sensitivity even in the presence of analog and digital adjacent channels. As adjacent channels, we do not only consider n+1 and n-1 channels, but also n+k and n-k where k can go all the way to 9. The receiver linearity is often represented by the third order intercept point (IP3) which is a figure of merit that characterizes a receivers tolerance to several signals that are present simultaneously outside the desired passband. As seen on the curves in Figure 5, for a two tone channel (F1 & F2), the intermodulation products grow with the input amplitude raised to a power of three as compared to only a power of one for the output level of the required signal. In addition, Table 2 gives the IP3 values measured at the input of the DIB7070 chipset family in UHF, VHF and even in L-Band for a low AGC gain (most interesting case for saturation problems): Pout(dBm)
IP3 Frequency Bandwith UHF VHF L-Band Table 2 Measured Input IP3 (for low AGC gain) on DIB7070 chipsets -5 dBm -2 dBm -0 dBm Figure 5
sl op e 1


slop e3

Intermodulation products (2F2-F1, 2F1-F2) Pin(dBm)

But experience proves that IP3 is not a sufficient figure of merit for the performance of digital receivers in presence of adjacent channels. The selectivity of the channel filters is also of great importance. Therefore, the best way to evaluate the linearity / selectivity effects for a given required channel is to measure the maximal level of adjacent channels leading to a Quasi Error Free (QEF) quality of reception. As an example, the curves in Figure 6 show the margin offered by the DIB7070 family when it comes to adjacent channel robustness as defined in the NorDig specification for n+1 and n+2:
37dB 44dB 7dB margin N N+1 8dB margin N N+2

20dB margin

27dB margin

Figure 6 : Adjacent Channel Robustness at 666MHz

Another set of measurements is defined in the MBRAI / IEC62002 specification (Mobile and Portable DVB-T/H Radio Access Interface Specification). The DiBcom margins over MBRAI Selectivity pattern (S1, S2) and Linearity patterns (L1, L2, L3) including different combination of digital and analog adjacent channels from N1 to N4 are shown in Table 3.
Test Pattern name (8K 16QAM GI=1/32 CR=1/2 L1 Linearity Patterns L2 L3 S1 (N+1) Selectivity Patterns S1 (N+2) S2 (N+1) S2 (N+2) Table 3 Adjacent Channels (In addition to tuned channel N) Digital N+2 / Analog N+4 Analog N+2 & N+4 Digital N+2 & N+4 Analog N+1 Analog N+2 Digital N+1 Digital N+2 Measured Average Sensitivity (dBm) -87.2 -86.5 -81.8 -87.1 -84.2 -82.2 -80.6 DiBcoms Average Margin (dB) vs MBRAI spec 7.2 6.5 6.8 14.1 8.2 18.2 12.6

DiBcom contributes to the growing success of Digital Television by offering cost effective highly integrated solutions. In addition, robustness, high performance, small size and ease of integration are key assets brought by DiBcom to move Digital TV to a mass market. Single or Diversity DVB-T receivers can now be implemented in all types of receivers such as LCD TV, Portable Media Players (PMP), Portable Navigation Devices (PND), Laptop PCs, Automotive STBs, etc 4 Contact: -