Sony has announced a new Digital TV Tuner Module, the SMT-EW100, designed for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, but also has potential for in-car infotainment systems, navigation units and even PCs. It's the world's smallest module measuring just 6.9mm square and 1mm thick, which includes the filter and crystal assemblies. The SMT-EW100 boasts extremely low power consumption at under 200mw. Sony report that it offers "superior reception" and it's compatible with a number of different television services across the world, including DVB-T and DVB-T2 for ASEAN, Middle East, Europe, Africa, DVB-T2 Lite, ISDB-T for South America and the Japanese ISDB-Tmm. It's being sold together with the Android driver package as part of a "total solution," which includes the module itself, antenna, software and technical support. It will be available for partners in May so we may start to see handsets with the new module released over the summer.
Television tuners have yet to make much of an impact in the mobile market for a couple of reasons with power consumption as a major one. Sony's new digital tuner still looks like it will a relatively heavy power consumer but every improvement is welcome, however I see the new EW100 as being perfect for those larger devices such as a full size tablet, or indeed finding a place in an in-car entertainment centre. I am not so persuaded I would have so much value for it in my smartphone but I'm confident that some markets will be seeing devices with this unit installed in the not-too-distant future. Sony clearly believe this too as it's being packaged up with support and the necessary drivers.
However, I do see Sony's digital television tuner as being a perfect example of a piece of hardware that could be included in Google's Project Ara (especially if Google release an Ara tablet at some point). I already find my ASUS Google Nexus 7 – 2013 to be one of my most adaptable pieces of technology but allowing me to upgrade various modules over the lifespan of the device to include additional features as I wanted them would be a great move. What do our readers think? Do you have a desire for a digital television tuner in your smartphone, laptop, Chromebook or tablet? Let us know in the comments.