LONDON – AltoBeam Technology Co. Ltd., a fabless chip company developing digital television demodulators, has announced it has raised $6 million in a Series C funding round, led by US Venture Partners (USVP). AltoBeam (Beijing, China) was founded in April 2007 and has its R&D center in Beijing Tsinghua Science Park.
Irwin Federman and David Liddle, partners of USVP and veterans in the semiconductor industry and investment community, have joined AltoBeam's board of directors. AltoBeam's long-term investors, DFJ DragonFund, Tano Capital, and PYJ-Dynasty Venture Fund, also participated in the round.
AltoBeam said that is DTV demodulators are now being used by a "significant majority" of TV makers and that the company has become a "major player" in the CTTB/DTMB DTV semiconductor supply chain.
Perhaps the off-air DTV signals in China will be more widely used than in the U.S., and makers of DTMB demods can achieve some success. Or perhaps China can mandate that the receivers be included in all new TV sets, as the U.S. did, and create a guaranteed market.
DTMB "territory" is relatively small. DVB-C is primarily used in Europe. The products will roughly serve 2/3 of the world market. Just by market size alone is attractive enough for investors. Yet, where are the competitors in this space?
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.