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Digital TV switch to boost decoding chip market

Posted: 07 Oct 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:digital TV? DTV switch? decoding chip market?

The global transition from analog to digital TV broadcast is spurring TV makers to offer sets with more advanced video decoding chips capable of working with multiple and new video standards, according to iSuppli Corp.

Global shipments of multi-standard video-decoder-equipped TV are expected to rise to 966,000 units this year, up from zero in 2007. By 2012, shipments will rise to 41.7 million units. The attached figure below presents iSuppli's forecast of worldwide multi-standard video decoders for DTVs.

"In the past, digital cable, satellite and terrestrial TV broadcasting relied on MPEG-2 as the video encoding standard," said Randy Lawson, senior analyst for DTV and display electronics at iSuppli. "However, newer systems increasingly are adopting more advanced codecs, such as MPEG-4 or its competitor, the Audio and Video Coding Standard in China."

Across the globe, the transition away from analog and toward DTV broadcasting is proceeding. Some regions, like North America, have nearly completed the transition, while other parts of the worldlike South America and regions of the Middle Eastare just getting started defining which digital standard to adopt and when to schedule their Analog Shut Off.

"The transition to digital broadcasting has been delayed in some regions and countries, allowing time for underlying technologies to advance further," Lawson said. "Many of those countries will reap a benefit from their deferral, since it has afforded them an opportunity to begin their digital terrestrial television service with more advanced and more bandwidth-efficient systems based on the latest signal-processing technologies."

Regions such as Eastern Europe and Scandinavia as well as countries such as France and China now are rolling out DTV broadcast systems that use these newer technologies, paving the way for broader adoption in the future.

Move to DTV
Current DTV sets have an integrated digital tuner with an MPEG-2 decoder. In the early years of the DTV market, the technology and electronics used for tuning to and decoding a digital signal were roughly the same as in a digital cable STB, creating inroads for companies such as STMicroelectronics and Broadcom Corp. to enter the DTV space.

Now a similar trend is occurring again as companies that have already been focused on the Internet Protocol Television STB marketwhere MPEG-4 decoder chips have seen healthy growthhave an opportunity to target their intellectual property and chipsets at the DTV space. The increasing penetration of over-the-top sources of content in consumer TVs also will spur demand for multiple-decoding-standard support inside DTVs.

The move in the DTV application space to more advanced types of decoders and requirements to support multiple kinds of decoders in the same product will also be an area of innovation for the chip suppliers already targeting this space.

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