LONDON Revenue for Class D audio amplifiers is set to grow from $334 million in 2006 to $688 million in 2011 and exhibit a 15.6 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), according to market forecast company Gartner Inc.
The growth will be driven by the need to conserve power and reduce space in audio playback devices, the organization said in a weekly newsletter. Flat-panel televisions, both plasma and LCD, have limited space for heat sinks and have used millions of 10-watt Class D amplifiers.
As a result annual revenue for Class D audio amplifiers is already above $200 million and it is expected, despite per-unit price declines, to grow at 14.7 percent CAGR to $359 million in 2011.
Faster growth is expected for Class D amplifiers in home theater systems and stereo receivers, rising from $21 million in 2006 to $95 million in 2011 at a CAGR of 34.6 percent.
Because Class D amplifiers use their transistors as superaudio frequency switching devices, they operate more efficiently than Class AB amplifiers, generate less heat and save space otherwise used for heat sinks. However, some doubts linger about audio sound quality.
Class D amplifiers will grow much faster (15.6%) than application-specific audio components in consumer electronics applications, which Gartner only expect to grow at 4.4 percent CAGR.
The audio amplifier segment of the consumer ASSP market is expected to grow from $739 million in 2006 to $918 million in 2011. This growth might make the Class D segment inviting to startups and investors.
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