The digital signal processor is approaching the ubiquity of the PC microprocessor in applications, market segments, and revenues, according to Cahners In-Stat Group, a high-tech market research firm based in Scottsdale, Ariz.
DSP revenues in 1999 were almost $4.4 billion, compared with $3.5 billion in 1998, according to In-Stat.At an estimated annual compound annual growth rate of 34.2% across five years, DSPs will reach revenues of over $19 billion in 2004, a figure that is comparable with today's revenue yield of PC processors.
According to Max Baron, principal analyst for In-Stat's Semiconductor Service, "The DSP has become inseparable from the principal technologies that are evolving now, covering aspects in multimedia processing, human-machine interfaces, communications and control."
In addition, the DSP is evolving as a new semiconductor technology as chip prices fall and performance rises as a result of design shrinks.
Together with mixed-signal technology that delivers the capability of interfacing to the external world for input and output, the DSP is replacing large, costlier and less reliable parts with more precise, intelligent control, the market researcher found.
Compared to 1999, the fastest growing DSP application revenues are expected to be in the consumer segment as multimedia processing and wired and wireless communication penetrate residences, said In-Stat. Also, for similar reasons, the transportation segment will show fast increasing revenues as the same technologies and controls are introduced in cars.
Most of the revenue will continue to be generated by the 16-bit, fixed-point architectures, closely followed by the fixed point 20-bit and over group, with floating point DSP coming in last, In-Stat said.