DN327 - Video Signal Distribution Using Low Supply Voltage Amplifiers

Video Signal Distribution Using Low Supply Voltage Amplifiers
Design Note 327
Jon Munson
Introduction
Video designs are often pressed to operate on the lowest
possible rail voltages—a simple result of the trend towards lower voltage logic and the advantages of sharing
supply potentials wherever possible. Video designs are
further complicated by the need to accommodate the
dynamic offset variation inherent in AC-coupled designs
as picture content varies. Traditional op amps require
relatively large amounts of output-swing headroom and
are therefore impractical for AC coupling at even 5V.
Linear Technology offers a new family of video op amps
which addresses these issues and offers the ability to
operate down to 3.3V in most instances. This family
includes the LT®6205 (single), LT6206 (dual), LT6207
(quad), LT6550 (triple, fixed gain of 2) and LT6551
(quad, fixed gain of 2).
Video Signal Characteristics
To determine the minimum video amplifier supply voltage, we must first examine the nature of the signal.
Composite video is the most commonly used signal
in broadcast-grade products and combines Luma (or
luminance, the intensity information), Chroma (the colorimetry information) and Sync (vertical and horizontal
raster timing) elements into a single signal, NTSC and
PAL being the common formats.
Typical video waveforms are specified to have a nominal
1.0VP-P amplitude, as shown in Figure 1. The lower 0.3V
is reserved for sync tips that carry timing information.
The black level (zero intensity) of the waveform is at
(or set up slightly above) this upper limit of the sync
information. Waveform content above the black level is
intensity information, with peak brightness represented
at the maximum signal level. The sync potential represents blacker-than-black intensity, so scan retrace
activity is invisible on a CRT. In the case of composite
video, the modulated color subcarrier is superimposed
on the waveform, but the dynamics generally remain
inside the 1VP-P limit (a notable exception is the chroma
12/02/327_conv
Figure 1. Typical 1VP-P Video Waveform
(Several Lines Overlaid)
3.3V
499Ω
1μF
499Ω
75Ω
VOUT1
8
75Ω
LT6206
VIN
2
–
3
+
5
+
1
75Ω
7
6
VOUT2
–
75Ω
4
499Ω
75Ω
499Ω
F3dB ≈ 50MHz
IS ≤ 25mA
DN327 F02
Figure 2. DC-Coupled Dual Composite Video Driver
Powered from 3.3V
ramp used for differential gain and differential phase
measurements, which can reach 1.15VP-P).
Amplifier Considerations
Most video amplifiers drive cables that are series
terminated (back terminated) at the source and load
terminated at the destination with resistances equal to
the cable characteristic impedance, Z0 (usually 75Ω).
This configuration forms a 2:1 resistor divider in the
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cabling that must be corrected in the driver amplifier
by delivering 2VP-P output into an effective 2 • Z0 load
(e.g. 150Ω). Driving the cable can require in excess of
13mA while the output is approaching the saturation
limits of the amplifier output. The absolute minimum
supply is VMIN = 2 + VOH + VOL, where the VO values
represent the minimum voltage drops that an amplifier can be guaranteed to develop with respect to the
appropriate supply rail.
For example, the LT6206 dual operating on 3.3V in
Figure 2, with exceptionally low VOH ≤ 0.5V and VOL ≤
0.35V, provides a design margin of 0.45V, enough to
cover supply variations and DC bias accuracy for the
DC-coupled video input.
Handling AC-Coupled Video Signals
Unfortunately, one cannot always be assured that
source video has the appropriate DC content to satisfy the amplifier involved, so other design solutions
are frequently required. AC-coupled video inputs are
intrinsically more difficult to handle than those with
DC-coupling because the average signal voltage of
the video waveform is effected by the picture content,
meaning that the black level at the amplifier wanders
with scene brightness. By analyzing the worst-case
wander, we can determine the AC-coupled constraint.
Figure 3 shows two superimposed AC-coupled waveforms, the higher trace being black field and the lower
trace being white field. The wander is measured as 0.56V
for the 1VP-P NTSC waveform shown, so an additional
1.12V allowance must be made in the amplifier supply
(assuming gain of 2, so VMIN = 3.12 + VOH + VOL). The
amplifier output (for gain of 2) must swing 1.47V to
–1.65V around the DC-operating point, so the biasing
circuitry needs to be designed accordingly for optimal
fidelity. For example, an LT6551 operating on 5V, with
excellent VOH ≤ 0.8V and VOL ≤ 0.2V, has a healthy
design margin of 0.88V for a composite signal.
A popular method of further minimizing supply requirements with AC-coupling is to employ a simple
clamping scheme as shown in Figure 4. In this circuit,
the LT6205 is able to operate from 3.3V by having the
sync-tips control the charge on the coupling capacitor, thereby reducing the black-level input wander to
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BLACK
FIELD
WHITE
FIELD
Figure 3. Video Offset Shift Due to Picture
Content with Conventional AC Coupling
3.3V
0.1μF
1k
1k
75Ω
2.4k
4
COMPOSITE
VIDEO
IN 1VP-P
75Ω
5
–
4.7μF
LT6205
3
VIDEO
OUT
+
1
2
BAT54
10k
4.7μF
470Ω
IS ≤ 19mA
IS – 5mA WHEN NOT LOADED (IDLE)
DN327 F04
Figure 4. AC-Coupled Clamped Video
Amplifier Powered from 3.3V
≈0.07V. A minor drawback to this circuit is the slight
sync-tip compression (≈0.025V at input) due to the diode
conduction current, though the picture content retains
full fidelity. This circuit has nearly the design margin of
its DC-coupled counterpart, at 0.31V (for this circuit,
VMIN = 2.14 + VOH +VOL).
Conclusion
With the industry’s lowest output saturation characteristics, the low voltage video amplifiers, including
the LT6205 (single), LT6206 (dual), LT6207 (quad),
LT6550 (triple, fixed gain of 2) and LT6551 (quad, fixed
gain of 2), offer the video designer the ability to share
reduced supply voltages along with the logic circuitry.
This ability to share supply voltages helps save space
and cost by reducing power dissipation and power
converter complexity.
For applications help,
call (408) 432-1900
dn327f_conv LT/TP 1203 351.5K • PRINTED IN THE USA
1630 McCarthy Blvd., Milpitas, CA 95035-7417
(408) 432-1900
●
FAX: (408) 434-0507 ● www.linear.com
© LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION 2003
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