SAN FRANCISCO—Taiwanese fabless chip vendors MStar Semiconductor Inc. and MediaTek Inc. continued to dominate the digital TV SoC market in the first half of 2011, holding market shares of 39 percent and 12 percent, according to market research firm IHS.
U.S.-based Trident Microsystems Inc. held 6 percent of the market, IHS said. Of the remaining market, 27 percent was held by vertically integrated electronics firms like Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., while 14 percent was divided among smaller independent chip suppliers like Zoran Corp., IHS said.
"In a television semiconductor market characterized by entrenched suppliers and weak near-term growth prospects, Intel was facing enormous challenges in trying to establish itself as a competitor,” said Randy Lawson, principal analyst for display and consumer electronics at HIS, in a statement. "And with the first-generation Google TV products proving unsatisfactory given their slow sales, it’s no surprise that Intel is moving away from the television SoC market."
Google TV had been intended to enable a framework supporting the development of so-called smart TVs, but thus far has lacked clear standards, IHS said. Sales have been sluggish, IHS said, and Logitech over the summer slashed prices for its Google-TV-enabled Revue device to $99, down from $299 at the time of release.
Despite robust projections showing Internet-enabled televisions will make up more than 65 percent of global TV shipments by 2015, the smart TV space remains hampered on several fronts, Lawson said.
While Intel plans to continue supporting the CE4100 chip device for the set-top box market, further product development specific to the TV space has been shelved and resources are expected to move to higher-priority projects focusing on smartphones and tablets, according to IHS. Sales growth smartphones and media tablets is expected to outpace the traditional consumer electronics equipment space held by TVs, set-top boxes and DVD players or recorders, according to IHS.
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.