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I've found a few ATSC digital TV tuner chips (SiLabs, Maxim Integration, NXP) sold via the typical online parts retailers in the USA but they all seem to require contacting sales and signing a NDA to get the full data sheet/documentation. Even if they let a hobbyist sign a NDA, I'm not willing to, so do I have any other options, or am I out of luck?

More specifically:

1) Are there any ATSC chips sold in USA at hobbyist quantity that don't require NDA?

2) Are there any "general-purpose" RF chips that can be interfaced with something else (hardware/software) to tune ATSC even if the general purpose chip isn't specifically for digital tv tuning? (Update: I'm not asking for part numbers, I'm asking for which type of parts can be used.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Not a bad question, but shopping questions ("which part can I use?") are likely to be closed here. "Which approach can I use?" may or may not work better than "which part". \$\endgroup\$
    – user253751
    Jul 11, 2018 at 1:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am afraid your problem is related to encoding/decoding secrets and DRM. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 11, 2018 at 2:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AliChen -- yeah, I suspect you're right. getting down to an IF isn't hard, it's demodulating it to baseband video out that is heck in a handbasket with ATSC (lots of stuff going on there) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 11, 2018 at 2:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ why not get a HDHomerun tuner? bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1018668-REG/… \$\endgroup\$ Jul 11, 2018 at 4:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd expect any SDR dongles can tune the frequencies in question, but as Ali says, that doesn't get you very far. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 11, 2018 at 13:19

2 Answers 2

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Would the Si2141-A10-GM "all-in-one" tuner do? Although that's just a tuner, not a demodulator, but once you're down at IF frequency you could do the rest in software?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ No, this is one of the chips I was talking about in the original question where the data sheet is under NDA protections. \$\endgroup\$
    – acker9
    Jul 11, 2018 at 14:41
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@Brian Drummond deserves credit for getting me on the right track here, as he mentioned "SDR" in a comment to my question. SDR is an acronym for Software Defined Radio. I'm less interested in the software and more interested in the hardware, but there appears to be a community around this concept that is also producing hardware to support the software efforts. Specifically, there are the Universal Software Radio Peripheral products that appear to be open in nature. Part of this is the TVRX2 daughter board for USRP hardware that has the analog components to tune RF signals in the VHF/UHF range (I THINK; I haven't dug deep on it yet). I realize there's a lot of complexity around demodulation and what not that comes after tuning, which perhaps there are SDR projects for this, but if you're interested in the analog tuning part of things, then this could be useful to you. If you use a search engine, you'll find the schematics to this daughter board, published openly (although surely with a license that needs to be respected) by the manufacturer (a thanks to them!).

UPDATE: I was a little premature with thinking the TVRX2 was an answer. Turns out this card just has one of these tuner chips covered by NDA. Although the open source software in combination with the schematics for this board may offer clues to how to operate the tuner chip.

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