Microtune Introduces RF Upstream Amplifier that Increases Transaction Performance and Reliability for DOCSIS 2.0 Cable Applications

12/17/2002 - Targeting an advanced generation of cable access devices, Microtune®, Inc. (NASDAQ: TUNE) introduced the newest member of its MicroStreamerTM family of upstream amplifiers, the 3.3-volt MT1560.

The MicroStreamer MT1560 is engineered to support the increased upstream bandwidth capacity of the CableLabs® DOCSIS 2.0 cable modem specification, the latest version of industry-accepted standards that ensure cable equipment interoperability. The MT1560 boosts performance and reliability of two-way communications, while significantly reducing noise and interference in the return path. When integrated into cable consumer devices, the MT1560 enables cable operators to generate revenue from sophisticated new consumer and commercial services, including toll-quality telephony, peer-to-peer networking, on-line gaming, web hosting, video-on-demand, videoconferencing and home networking.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. plans to migrate to the MicroStreamer MT1560 in their next-generation cable modems. Texas Instruments Incorporated also plans to deploy the MT1560 in its DOCSIS 2.0 cable modem platform.

"As companion products to our single-chip tuners, our amplifier family has been a tremendous success story. We have shipped more than five million amplifiers since we launched the product line two years ago, and the devices have been deployed in more than 40 DOCSIS or EuroDOCSIS cable modem models," said Douglas J. Bartek, Chairman and CEO of Microtune. "The new MT1560 is engineered to deliver ultimate performance with no compromises, reinforcing our roadmap strategy of continually advancing our products and delivering them at industry-leading price points. With the MT1560, manufacturers can cost-effectively migrate to DOCSIS 2.0 cable-modem designs, while enabling cable operators to continually evolve their broadband service offerings."

MicroStreamer MT1560: Signal Booster for DOCSIS 2.0 Upstream Applications
The MicroStreamer amplifier functions as a radio frequency (RF) signal booster for upstream communications, amplifying data signals from the user to the cable headend. It is specifically designed to meet the stringent RF noise and in-band fidelity requirements of the DOCSIS 2.0 specification, which deploys higher orders of modulation (32-, 64- and 128-QAM) to triple upstream bandwidth capacity. The MT1560 increases design margin by providing better peak output power (+67dBmV), better linearity (HD3 of -55dBc @ 61dBmV, 65MHz) and higher output range (59 dB gain range) than competitive products, allowing cable-modem designs to take advantage of these more complex modulation schemes with higher peak-to-average ratios.

The MT1560 also offers excellent noise performance (-50 dBmV in 160 kHz), providing increased reliability, quality and integrity of the upstream data whether formatted as text, video, audio or voice. For consumers, this translates into jitter-free video, reduced latency in phone calls and faster transmission of photos. As a 3.3-volt device, the MT1560 reduces the number of power supply rails required in cable modems, cutting bill of material (BOM) costs for cable manufacturers. Integrated into a very small (5 mm x 5 mm) package, the MT1560 provides backward compatibility and coexistence with DOCSIS 1.X equipment, offering a cost-effective, low-power migration strategy to the 2.0 version of the specification.

"DOCSIS standards have played a key role in developing the cable industry's position as a leader in broadband service deployments, and the DOCSIS 2.0 standard will lead to new revenue-generating applications for the industry," according to Mike Paxton, senior analyst at In-Stat/MDR, a technology research firm. "The DOCSIS 2.0 specification also places stringent challenges on RF components to manage noise, distortion, and interference in the expanded upstream path of the cable pipeline. Microtune's MicroStreamer MT1560 is designed to meet these challenges while maintaining backwards compatibility with more mature DOCSIS specifications."

In addition to the MT1560, Microtune also unveiled a sister amplifier product, the MicroStreamer MT1550. Targeted for interactive set-top boxes and low-cost DOCSIS 1.0 and 1.1 cable modems, the MT1550 offers the same features as the MT1560, but also integrates a high-performance anti-aliasing filter on chip. With this added functionality, the MT1550 saves board space and reduces BOM, test and assembly costs for manufacturers of cable access devices. Both upstream amplifier devices are pin and software compatible.

Pricing and Availability
The MicroStreamer MT1550 and MT1560 are sampling now, with production slated for Q1 2003. Microtune offers Evaluation Kits and Reference Designs (including those containing Microtune's MicroTunerTM MT2050 and MT2111 single-chip tuners) that provide all the hardware and software required to jump-start development for accelerated integration of the upstream amplifier into new or existing designs. The MicroStreamer MT1560 and MT1550, as standalone components, are priced at $1.00 and $1.30 respectively in quantities of 10,000. Pricing is negotiable based on volumes.

For more information about the MT1550 and MT1560 amplifiers, including Product Briefs and Technical Backgrounders, and Microtune's complete suite of RF solutions, visit Microtune's Website at www.microtune.com.

The CableLabs DOCSIS 2.0 Cable Modem Specification
DOCSIS 2.0 is an industry specification, developed by CableLabs®, that significantly increases the cable bandwidth for two-way data transmissions. Using higher orders of QAM modulation, new, multiple access techniques (S-CDMA and A-TDMA) and forward error correction, the specification adds throughput in the upstream band, creating a network that has a 30 Mbps capacity in two directions without capital cable-plant investments. Building on the capabilities of DOCSIS 1.0 and 1.1, the new specification enables robust communications channels and advanced applications, such as videoconferencing and peer-to-peer networking. DOCSIS stands for the Data over Cable Service Interface Specification.

About Microtune
Microtune, Inc. is a leading silicon and systems company that designs, manufactures and markets radio frequency (RF)-based solutions for the global broadband communications, automotive electronics and wireless connectivity markets. Inventors of the MicroTunerTM single-chip broadband tuner, the Company offers a portfolio of advanced tuner, amplifier, transceiver and wireless products that enable the delivery of information and entertainment across new classes of consumer electronics devices. The Company currently holds 22 U.S. patents for its technology, with more than 50 applications pending approval that span its RF and wireless products, containing more than 2000 supporting claims. Founded in 1996, Microtune is headquartered in Plano, Texas, with key design, manufacturing and sales centers located around the world. The web site is www.microtune.com. Microtune is traded on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange under the symbol TUNE.

Microtune is a registered trademark and MicroTuner, MicroStreamer, and MicroModule are trademarks of Microtune, Inc.

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