FREMONT, Calif. -- ESS Technology Inc. today announced it has licensed MPEG2 audio/video encoder technology from NEC Corp. in Japan, and it plans to integrate the function with MPEG4 capability in a new series of single-chip solutions for home entertainment products. The pact also expands the collaboration between the two companies in set-top box ICs.
Fremont-based ESS said it expects to begin sampling the first new integrated encoder/decoder ICs in 2003, aiming the codecs at DVD players, digital set-top boxes, and other home entertainment systems. The integrated codec chips will enhance the functionality of DVD players and set-top boxes by adding the ability to record digital video and audio on hard disk drives and recordable DVD disks, according to ESS.
Terms of the licensing agreement were not released.
"The integration of the NEC encoder technology with our Vibratto DVD decoder technology makes it easy for our customers to significantly enhance the capabilities and value of their products at attractive price points," said Patrick Ang, executive vice president and chief operating officer at ESS. "In addition, the integration of the MPEG2 encoder with ESS's decoder will help expand the use of ESS chips beyond traditional DVD players into the next-generation of consumer electronics applications.
"We think that this new MPEG encoder technology is an enabling technology for the future advanced consumer electronic products and will help ESS Technology continue to develop new Digital Home System (DHS) solutions and grow in the future," he added.
ESS said over 50 million DVD recorders are expected to be shipped in the market during 2005, up from 1.3 million units in 2001, based on a forecast from Jon Peddie Research in Tiburon, Calif. That increase rate would be over 150% on a compound annual growth rate.
NEC also sees a great growth potential in the market as well. "Our two companies have worked closely on set-top box products for rollout in the third quarter of 2002," said Hidetoshi Kosaka, general manager of NEC's networking system LSI development division. "We are excited by the high-growth opportunities for both companies in the expanding area of DVD recordability."