Doug Lung /
09.08.2011 02:05 AM
High-efficiency Solid-State Transmitter Promised at IBC Show

For several months I've gotten hints from multiple companies that new, much higher efficiency. UHF solid state TV transmitters were coming soon. It looks like "soon" may be IBC 2011, starting Sept. 8 in Amsterdam.

I didn't see any transmission topics listed in the IBC 2011 Conference Programme, but a recent release from Thomson Broadcast on and other websites says its Futhura Plus transmitter offers transmitter efficiency as high as 35 percent. This is comparable in efficiency to the IOT (Inductive Output Tube) amplifiers used by many broadcasters today for high power transmitters. Thomson notes this efficiency is a 50 percent improvement over current standard solid-state transmitters on the market. There is no detail on how this efficiency improvement is achieved, other than the statement that the Futhura Plus transmitter features "drain modulation technology."

If the price is right, this technology could be a good replacement for the many single and two tube IOT transmitters that have been in service for the last 10 years or more. It seems unlikely that even with these improvements solid state transmitters will be able to replace higher power, higher efficiency MSDC transmitters, at least for a while.

As soon as I have more information I'll post it in RF Report with a more detailed description in my RF Technology column in TV Technology magazine.

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Posted by: Brian Smith
Thu, 09-08-2011 02:28 AM Report Comment
Drain modulation is more commonly known as "Envelope Tracking", and involves dynamically modulating the power supply to the RF PA. It keeps the RF PA in compression throughout the entire OFDM modulation cycle (instead of just at the peaks), resulting in a significant efficiency boost. If the efficiency claims are true, I'd expect this technology to transform the digital broadcast transmission industry over the next 3-5 years.

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