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Chip maker NxtWave Communications, Langhorne, Pa., has developed its second-generation 8-VSB demodulator chip for use in digital television receivers. New algorithms improve the NXT2002's multipath performance over NxtWave's previous 8-VSB demodulator, according to President and CEO Matt Miller. The NXT2002 can handle zero dB echoes, he says: two signals of equal strength interfering with each other. The chip, which will also demodulate 64- and 256-QAM digital cable signals, includes an onboard microcontroller that can operate all the chip's functions without relying on outside processing power. "We've added a lot of features to make it more tuner- and product-ready, as building a digital television set is already a very complicated engineering process," says Miller. The NXT2002 will begin beta sampling in February and should be in production around March. It will sell for $20 in volumes of 10,000.

NxtWave has also introduced a COFDM chip for the worldwide DTV market, the NXT6000, which will sell for about $15 in volumes of 10,000. Miller, a staunch proponent of 8-VSB during the U.S.'s ongoing debate over the VSB and COFDM modulation schemes, is happy that the issue seems to have been settled in 8-VSB's favor: "The correct number of standards in any market is one."