LONDON – Silicon Image Inc., a supplier of high-definition connectivity ICs, has announced it has agreed to acquire privately-held SiBeam Inc. for $25.5 million in cash and Silicon Image stock.
SiBeam (Sunnyvale, Calif.) was founded in 2004 by a team of engineers from the Berkeley Wireless Research Center and communications industry veterans. The company developed 60-GHz chipsets using CMOS technology for use with high bandwidth services such as uncompressed HD video distribution.
SiBeam raised about $114 million over multiple rounds from such venture capital companies as New Enterprise Associates, US Venture Partners and Foundation Capital and is founding member of the WirelessHD Consortium and an active member of the Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig).
The proposed transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011, Silicon Image said.
"The acquisition of SiBeam underscores our stated mission to be the leader in advanced video connectivity solutions and SiBeam's 60-GHz wireless technology will enable us to rapidly bring the highest quality of wirelessly transmitted HD video and audio to market," said Camillo Martino, chief executive officer of Silicon Image, in a statement. "Silicon Image has a proven history of establishing successful global connectivity standards, including DVI, HDMI, and most recently MHL and we are looking forward to driving WirelessHD as a global connectivity standard and to delivering standards-plus products supporting both wireless and wired HD connectivity standards."
"Increasingly, CE, PC, and mobile device manufacturers are looking towards 60-GHz solutions for high-speed A/V and data connectivity. The combination of SiBeam's wireless technology with Silicon Image's strength in HD connectivity solutions for mobile and consumer platforms makes this acquisition a natural fit for both companies," said John LeMoncheck, president and chief executive officer at SiBeam, in the same statement.
Silicon Image said it plans to continue to promote and actively engage with the WirelessHD Consortium and the WiGig Alliance to further advance standards development for 60-GHz wireless connectivity.
The number of times I've seen personally, watched from afar, read about funding getting three to five cents a dollar continues to stun me ... you know all the regular stuff (an actual example): 8 Presidents in 10 years, 11 VP's of engineering in 10 years, 200 M of equity dissolved to about 3 M ... seeing MANY, MANY, times completely finished boxed goods (full EMI approvals, etc) put in the dumpster ... and NOBODY caring ... ! Management did get its "Squeeze" each and every year, though ...
The whole 60GHz thing was always hard to understand, not just from a technological perspective but from a use case perspective as well.
Sending uncompressed HD video?
All the video coming into the home is already compressed:
Set-Top Box Video: Compressed
Satellite TV Video: Compressed
DVD Video: Compressed
BlueRay Video: Compressed
Internet Video: Compressed
Why would someone want to take an MPEG compressed HD video stream at 10 to 20 Mbps decompress it to a raw uncompressed 1.5 Gbps data stream and then send it wirelessly to the TV?
Never understood the use case much less how 60 GHz was going to be superior to other wireless solution already out there.
This is a natural process. Standardization, certification, lower power and an attractive ASP are critical. SiBeam's product profile and market timing were off the tracks. What is coming around the bend in 60 GHz is a different story. There will be standardized product with a quality certification program. The products will be priced to sell and the power profiles will meet the criteria of handset and tablet manufacturers. SiBeam did prove that the performance was possible, which is why they will not just be a footnote in the technologies history.
It will be a while before 60 GHz based HD solutions gain traction in the market. I believe that till that happens it will continue to be a technology on the horizon. There are bunch of positives in the WiGig based solutions but so are there in other technologies as well (that have a heavier investment/backing than 60 GHz)
It is sad that all the hard work put into delivering 60 GHz in CMOS and brining that to market with the WirelessHD consortium is getting such a negative return on investment. But isn't it too early to conclude this is the end of their 60 GHz wireless approach sand the success of WiGig?
114m$ VC funds + 6 Years of hardwork by smartpeople = 25m$! Sad.
I am becoming increasingly skeptical about the possibility of success of new wireless standard in the next few years for HD video streaming. 802.11n + updates can already do the job. I guess 60GHz,Wireless USB,WiGig will all go in the trashcan.
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