This section provides an overview for down converters as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 17 down converter manufacturers and their company rankings. Here are the top-ranked down converter companies as of December, 2023: 1.AJA Video Systems, Inc., 2.Frequency Electronics, Inc., 3.ELVA-1.
A down converter is a device that converts a higher frequency signal to a lower frequency.
For example, microwaves can be converted to millimeter waves so that conventional millimeter wave measurement equipment can be used. Or, a down converter is also used to convert high-resolution video to low-resolution video.
A down converter can be used to display a 4K-resolution broadcast on a conventional terrestrial digital broadcasting receiver.
Down converters are used extensively in many technical fields.
Down converters are most commonly used in satellite communications. Satellite signals are transmitted at very high frequencies and cannot be handled by many devices without modification.
Down converters convert these high-frequency signals to lower-frequency signals that are easier to handle.
Down converters also play an important role in television and radio broadcasting. Signals sent by broadcasters are typically transmitted at high frequencies and converted through down converters to lower frequencies so that they become video or audio on the viewer's or listener's device.
Down converters are also essential in mobile communications. The radio waves used in cell phones are high frequency and must be converted to a lower frequency so that they can be understood by cell phones. This enables mobile communication services such as voice calls, text messages, and Internet access.
In radar and radio positioning systems, down converters convert the transmitted high-frequency signal into a low-frequency signal that can be analyzed. This enables accurate acquisition of a variety of data, including aircraft position, speed, and weather information.
Down converters enable the continued use of conventional monitors that become unusable due to high resolution when TV sets are changed from analog to digital broadcasting.
As described above, down converters play an essential role in signal processing in all situations, from daily life to professional industries.
A down converter is basically an electronic device, also called a "mixer" or "mixer," that converts high-frequency signals to lower frequencies that are easier to handle.
The mixer is the central part of a down converter and receives two input signals. One is the received signal (high frequency) and the other is the signal from the local oscillator (LO).
The local oscillator is designed to oscillate at a constant frequency, and this oscillation is "mixed" with the received signal in the mixer to produce a signal at a new frequency.
When mixed in the mixer, a "difference" is created between the original high-frequency signal and the signal from the local oscillator. Specifically, the frequencies of the two signals cancel each other to produce a new signal.
This new signal, called the "difference frequency" or "intermediate frequency: IF," is much lower in frequency than the original high frequency.
The signal converted to the intermediate frequency (IF) is then sent to a filter. This filter removes unwanted components and noise from the newly generated signal, leaving only the necessary information.
This allows the new signal to retain the original information, but in a more manageable and stable form. Thus, the role of a down converter is to convert a high-frequency signal into an easy-to-handle form and process the signal efficiently while maintaining the information.
The types of down converters are as follows
The RF down converter is the most common type and converts high-frequency RF signals to low-frequency signals. It is widely used in telecommunications, broadcasting, and radar systems.
Its function is basically to convert a high-frequency signal into an intermediate frequency that is easier to handle and can be handled by subsequent signal processing systems.
Block downconverters are primarily used in satellite communication systems. They convert very high frequency signals sent from satellites to more manageable frequencies.
Block downconverters are usually mounted near parabolic antennas and are responsible for frequency conversion in the initial stage of the downlink signal.
A downscan converter is a device that converts a high-resolution video signal to a lower-resolution video signal.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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Incorporated in 1965, Analog Devices, Inc. designs, manufactures, tests, and markets integrated circuits (ICs), software, and subsystems that leverage analog, mixed-signal, and digital signal processing technologies. The company provides data converter products, power management and reference products for power conversion, driver monitoring, sequencing, and energy management applications in the automotive, communications, industrial, and high-end consumer markets. In addition, the company provides digital signal processing and system products for high-speed numeric calculations. It serves clients in the industrial, automotive, consumer, instrumentation, aerospace, and communications markets.
AJA Video Systems, Inc., established in 1993 in Grass Valley, California, is a manufacturer and supplier specializing in video interface technologies, converters and streaming solutions. The company’s product line includes video capture cards, digital recording devices, routers, converters, and professional cameras. It also offers streaming, fiber, 8K and HDR solutions serving various applications in broadcast, audiovisual (AV), production, and post-production sectors. The company offers technical support to help customers resolve issues post-sales. AJA partners with resellers internationally to serve media companies around the globe, along with broadcasters, networks, post-production houses, film editors, and more.
Satellink, Inc., situated in Garland, Texas, has been a supplier of low noise linear amplifiers, frequency converters, and special receiving equipment since 1982. The company produces amplifiers for various MILSATCOM Programs and special applications, including classified programs, NASA projects, and radio astronomy applications. Their amplifiers ranges from cryogenically cooled, thermoelectric cooled, to uncooled ambient units. These products are essential in facilitating seamless connectivity in remote environments, enabling data transmission, voice communication, and IoT connectivity via satellite. They operate a quality management system that complies with the requirements of BS EN ISO 9001:2015.
Maruson is a manufacturer of power protection products that was established in 2007 in the City of Industry, California. The company’s product lineup includes surge protectors, uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), and power distribution units (PDUs). These are commonly used in the information technology industry, with additional applications in healthcare, educational institutions, and government projects. The company is certified to UL, cUL, CE, FCC, and RoHS standards, with notable clients such as Amazon Web Services and Johns Hopkins University.
Renesas Electronics Corporation was established in 2002 and is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Renesas is a global research, design, and manufacturer of semiconductors used in industries spanning automotive, consumer electronics, the internet of things, power & energy, and industrial sectors. Renesas manufactures both analog and digital products. Analog products include amplifiers, audio & video devices, data converters, PLC, and switches & multiplexers. Digital products include microcontrollers, memory components, sensors, wireless connectivity products, and others. Renesas also offers design resources such as kits, development tools, partner programs, and design tools.
Nisshinbo Micro Devices Inc., established in 1959, and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a manufacturer of semiconductors and electronic components. The company specializes in producing integrated circuits, discrete semiconductors, optoelectronic devices, which caters to industries such as telecommunications, automotive, and consumer electronics. The company holds ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 certifications, ensuring quality in their products which are used for various applications, including wireless communication, automotive systems, and industrial automation, providing crucial electronic components for advanced technologies in various industrial and commercial sectors.
Teledyne Defence & Space, founded in 1977 and located in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, is a manufacturer of RF and microwave products for the defense, space, and commercial sectors. The company specializes in RF engineering to produce a wide range of RF and microwave products used in radar warning receivers, channelizers, SatCom, digital receivers, and frequency measurement. Teledyne Defence & Space is a business unit of Teledyne Aerospace & Defence Electronics UK. TDS is also the winner of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2019: International Trade and The Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2020: Innovation.
ST Micro Electronics is a global semiconductor company serving customers with innovations to have a positive impact on people's lives. Their product line is micro electronic systems, such as switches, controllers, sensors and drivers. The main selling point of ST Micro Electronics is its provision of sustainable products, and introducing their electronics to create a more sustainable world. The company, as well as providing the electronic devices, also provides software and support, ensuring that all fields are covered to provide a fully provide a supported and strong relationship with their customer base. ST Micro Electronics believe that technology plays a key role in helping to solve environmental and social challenges, which is why their semiconductor technologies start with their employees, their customers and partners.
Frequency Electronics, Inc. (FEI), established in 1962 and headquartered in Long Island, New York, is a manufacturer and supplier specializing in Precision Time and Frequency (PT&F) products. The company product portfolio includes rubidium vapor atomic oscillators, temperature-stable quartz crystal oscillators, Timing Signal Generators (TSGs), DC/DC converters, and space-rated hybrid assemblies. These precision time and frequency products cater to terrestrial wireless, wireline network synchronization, and space-based applications serving diverse sectors including telecommunications, satellite communication and space technology. The company is AS9100 certified and operates from a 100,000 square foot facility where it performs all US engineering, development and production.
Monolithic Power Systems (MPS), founded in 1997 and headquartered in San Jose, California, is a manufacturer of integrated circuits (ICs). Their product range includes switch-mode power supplies (SMPS) for converting AC or DC power to lower voltage DC power, LED drivers for driving LED lights, battery management ICs to manage power in portable devices, power factor correction (PFC) ICs for improving power supply efficiency, and sensorless motor control ICs to control motors without position sensors. MPS's solutions find applications in consumer electronics, industrial, and automotive industries, offering efficient power management solutions to enhance various electronic devices.
Adafruit Industries, established in 2005, is an American manufacturer based in New York, specializing in electronics and do-it-yourself (DIY) electronics kits. The company offers a diverse array of products, including breakout and development boards, circuit playgrounds, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), robotics, computer numerical control (CNC) components, and various electronics project accessories. Adafruit also supports open-source hardware and software, hosting all of its code and hardware on GitHub, a website service for managing code and files. Adafruit also provides a range of tutorials, guides, and project ideas aimed at inspiring and educating electronics enthusiasts, makers, and hobbyists in creating interactive electronic projects.
Cobalt Digital, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Champaign, Illinois, is a manufacturer and supplier specializing in signal processing technology for the broadcast and production television sectors. The company’s product line includes audio processing, color correction, frame synchronizers, keying, and more. It also offers routers, multiviewers, and more, serving diverse applications in broadcasting, mobile production, sports venues, and more. The company offers pre and post-sales support from product consultation and integration, to initial and ongoing field support. Cobalt Digital products are backed by a five-year warranty and are available internationally through a worldwide network of dealers, systems integrators and partners.
ELVA-1, established in 1993, is a manufacturer and designer of millimeter wave radio links, radars, components, and scientific from 26 GHz to 400 GHz, in Tallinn, Estonia. The products include Gbps radios, wireless meshes, and, wave links for telecom solutions. The radars are used for foreign object detection, road monitoring, docking assistance, rail track monitoring, and speed measurement. The company also produces frequency multipliers, noise sources, control components, antenna products, and waveguide components for scientific applications.
Alpha Technologies, established in 1986 as a spinoff of Monsantos with offices worldwide, including in the USA, is a manufacturer of rubber and polymer rheometer testing instruments. The company's product line includes rubber process analyzers, moving die rheometers, encapsulated sample rheometers, physical property analyzers, and sample cutters. These products are used in the manufacture and testing of shoes, tires, rubber conveyor belts, food packaging, and pharmaceutical devices. The company serves markets that include food processing, consumer product manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and defense.
Joulwatt Technology Co., Ltd., founded in March 2013 and headquartered in Hangzhou, China, specializes in manufacturing and supplying power IC (Integrated Circuits) products. The company offers a diverse range of products, including battery management systems, LED lighting, DC/DC converters, LED drivers, and more. These products serve various sectors, including consumer electronics, lighting, communications, and enterprise computing. Joulwatt operates multiple facilities and holds ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015 certifications, along with other quality certifications.
Vislink, located in Mount Olive, New Jersey, is a global technology supplier specializing in capturing, transmitting, and managing high-quality live video and associated data. The company’s product portfolio includes airborne video downlink systems, wireless camera systems, fixed radio links, Satcom, and more. The company also offers live streaming using bonded cellular, 5G, and AI-driven technologies providing real-time video intelligence solutions for first responders, law enforcement, and defense organizations. The company serves clients internationally, with offices in North America, the U.K., the Middle East and Asia.
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