Set-top Box

DirecTV D12-300 Satellite Receiver Set-Top Box Teardown

24 February 2009
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

Overview / Main Features

The DirecTV D12-300 digital satellite receiver is the basic set-top device offered by the US satellite television provider. It features standard definition satellite television decoder capabilities and outputs television content in composite video. The D12-300 likely replaced the previous long-standing basic satellite receiver model back in early 2007 and we estimate that the set-top box has a relatively long production life which equates to a large lifetime production volume in the millions.

Overall, the DirecTV satellite receiver box is ST Microelectronics solution featuring the STV0299B satellite receiver chip, STB6000 tuner and STi5300GUB set-top decoder IC.

DirecTV D12-300 Satellite Receiver Set-Top Box Main ImageDirecTV D12-300 Satellite Receiver Set-Top Box Main Image

Target Market

DirecTV Satellite TV subscribers.


Based on research, the set-top box was first release in 1st half of 2007.

DirecTV D12-300 Satellite Receiver Set-Top Box - Main PCB TopDirecTV D12-300 Satellite Receiver Set-Top Box - Main PCB Top

Pricing and Availability

Pricing - The D12-300 receiver can be purchased (as a lease upgrade) for as low as $69 at time of writing (Feb. 2009)

Availability - Continental US territories (dependent on satellite coverage)

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 3M units.

As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed volumes are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.

DirecTV D12-300 Satellite Receiver Set-Top Box Cost AnalysisDirecTV D12-300 Satellite Receiver Set-Top Box Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers Representing ~63% of total materials cost

STi5300GUB - ST Microelectronics - Set Top Box Decoder - ST231 VLIW CPU 333MHz for AV Processing, w/ MPEG-2 Decoder & Dual Transport Stream Merger & PAL/NTSC/SECAM Encoder

Remote Control Unit w/ Adhesive Tape

SRV2045WW - Mitsumi - Power Supply Value Line Item - Input AC100-240, 50/60Hz

STV0299B - ST Microelectronics - Satellite Receiver - Single-Chip, Multistandard QPSK/BPSK Demodulator & 2 A/D Converters

Elec & Eltek - 2-Layer - FR4, Lead Free

PCB - 2-Layer - FR4

RF Switch Module Value Line Item

Enclosure, Main, Bottom - Stamped / Formed Galvanized Steel

Si2401-FS - Silicon Laboratories - ISOmodem - V.22 BIS, 4th-Generation DAA, 2.4Kbps, 27MHz

Enclosure, Main, Top - Stamped / Formed Galvanized Steel, Black Painted

Enclosure, Main, Front Panel - Injection Molded High Impact Polystyrene, Silkscreened

Materials and Manufacturing $44.41

What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing

According to the latest iSuppli's topical report (Q4 2008) titled "Global OEM Manufacturing and Design Analysis - Set-Top Boxes, DirecTV and Thomson entered into a 5 year development and supply contract Thomson in May 2004 by which that would supply receivers and set-top boxes to DirecTV.

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on markings, the unit was assembled in Mexico. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc. were also sourced in Mexico.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as tuner cans), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. ""Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

DirecTV D12-300 Satellite Receiver Set-Top Box - Enclosure DisassemblyDirecTV D12-300 Satellite Receiver Set-Top Box - Enclosure Disassembly

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The total component count for the DirecTV D12-300 is 704. This is an efficient design as is evidenced by this fairly low component count when compared with other entry-level STB designs.

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. The cost of manufacturing is also, to some extent, decreased in this case because of assumed labor rate applied for Thailand.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Design Notes

The DirecTV Plus HR22-100 design is primarily a ST Micro solution. Much like other standard-definition set top boxes we have seen in the past (primarily Cisco/Scientific Atlanta cable boxes), the D12-300 utilizes ST Microelectronics decoder solution which appears to be the common thread for low end / low cost set-top box designs.

Beyond the core ST Micro chip solution within the A/V processing and front-end, the DirecTV D12-300 implements a NXP Semi IC card interface controller for the user smart card access and a Silicon Labs modem module.

Here is a summary of the major components used in the HR22-100 DVR Set-Top box design:

Main PCB

A/V Processing

Set Top Box Decoder - ST Microelectronics - STi5300GUB - ST231 VLIW CPU 333MHz for AV Processing, w/ MPEG-2 Decoder & Dual Transport Stream Merger & PAL/NTSC/SECAM Encoder


SDRAM - Qimonda - HYB25DC256160CE-6 - DDR333, 256 Mb (16Mb x 16), 2.5V

Flash - Spansion - S29GL032A11FFIS4 - NOR, 32Mb, 3V, 110ns

OFront End

Satellite Receiver - ST Microelectronics - STV0299B - Single-Chip, Multistandard QPSK/BPSK Demodulator & 2 A/D Converters

Satellite Tuner - ST Microelectronics - STB6000 - ZIF, for QPSK DVB/DirecTV, w/ 2-Wire I2C Serial Interface

I/O & Interface

IC Card Interface Controller - NXP Semiconductors - TDA8024TT - for 3V/5V Smart Card

ISOmodem - Silicon Laboratories - Si2401-FS - V.22 BIS, 4th-Generation DAA, 2.4Kbps, 27MHz


DirecTV D12-300 Satellite Receiver Set-Top Box - Box ContentsDirecTV D12-300 Satellite Receiver Set-Top Box - Box Contents

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