Spectrally selective solar absorber using composite Ni-NiO as coating materials was studied. Samples were prepared by dc magnetron sputtering unit named Rulle, which is a miniature copy of an industrial roll-coater unit. Using asymmetric location of the oxygen nozzele, it is possible to form the desired metallic concentration distribution along the sputtering zone under optimized conditions. This distribution can be transferred into a graded film profile by moving the substrate, obtaining good spectral selectivity. For specified mechanical settings (such as locations of gas sprays, target and pump positions etc.), the ratio of used oxygen flow to the corresponding critical oxygen flow, RO, is a dimensionless parameter to control the zone specification. The optimal value is around 0.80 for the Rulle. Optimized zone shows properties with two main parts: the metallic composite part of varied nickel volume fraction and the dielectric part. Two parts of the sputtering zone can form a graded absorbing layer with the right ratio of base and middle layer by the moving substrate technique. Distribution of normalized conductivity, NC, along the absorbing sputtering zone is a simple and good specification of zone property. Profile of graded film prepared by the moving substrate technique can be tailored according to NC distribution. XRD and XPS study confirms the NC results. Simulation reveals that absorption should mainly rely on the intrinsic, but less on the interference mechanism. Used metallic volume fraction of Ni-NiO is 0.3 for main absorbing layer. The front surface reflection loss due to high refractive index can be reduced by adding a layer with low refractive index on the top. Simulation shows that three-layer coatings are a good and simple coating structure. High solar absorptance of 0.97 has been achieved with low thermal emittance of 0.05 by theoretical simulation as well as experimentally prepared samples.