PARIS Under new management, Philips Semiconductors has designated the PC market as “one of the top three high-growth areas” for the company’s newly organized Home business unit.
The goal is not to help PC makers build big, cranky PC/TVs introduced a decade ago that never quite landed in the average living room. Rather, it is to add TV broadcast reception capabilities, in the form of a USB dongle, a PC card or an add-in subsystem, to a variety of PCs, including laptops, desktops or media gateways, according to Giel Rutten, senior vice president and general manager for the Home business unit at Philips Semiconductors.
“We see the PC market as a new opportunity to expand our customer base, and to offer our technical expertise in TV,” said Rutten. Such expertise includes a global TV chip, TV subsystems that cover everything from TV tuner to PCI express bus and various picture improvement technologies, he explained.
Philips is predicting sales of PCs with TV-reception capabilities will reach 15 million units in 2005. That number will increase to 50 million by 2008, said Rutten.
Does this mean the end of the PC-versus-TV debate in the living room?
Not necessarily, according to Rutten. As companies like Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp. redefine the PC as an entertainment center for media streaming and content storage, “We are finding a much bigger opportunity to move TV reception capabilities into a widespread market,” he explained. The trend is also fueled by the steady reduction of cost to provide TV reception capabilities.
The Dutch giant’s TV reception technology is also driving the mobile TV market for cellphones. Philips recently disclosed that the company’s mobile digital TV receiver/demodulator in a system-in-package (SiP) is now designed into mobile handsets by three out of the top six cellphone manufacturers.
Aside from PCs, TVs and set tops are the two other key markets where the Philips unit hopes to make an impact, said Rutten.
The standalone DVD recorder market, in which Philips previously played a key role, has eroded. Now, DVD recorders are increasingly combined with hard-disk drives into broadcast set tops, so that they can serve as a storage and archiving device, Rutten said.