SHANGHAI, China One of the main Chinese IC design houses supporting a domestic digital terrestrial TV standard said it recently wrapped up development on its third-generation video processing platform.
Shanghai High Definition Digital Technology said it will have a sample next month, and hopes to move into mass production using 0.13 micron technology a few months after that. The chip is based on the spec known as China Digital Multimedia Broadcast Terrestrial/Handheld (CDMB-T/H), which was rolled out earlier this year as a mandatory standard.
The Shanghai firm expects to produce nearly 1 million chips in 2007. The buyers will mainly be set-top-box companies from Hunan, Heilongjiang, Guizhou and other provinces.
China released the long-awaited standard for terrestrial digital television in September, after years of rivalry between developers that led to numerous delays. CDMB-T/H is the marriage of separate projects at Beijing's Tsinghua University and Shanghai's Jiaotong University, which has close ties to Shanghai High Definition.
The spec is has two parts: Jiaotong's vestigial sideband modulation will be used for broadcasts to fixed TVs, while Tsinghua's time-domain synchronous orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing will more suitable for mobile terminals in urban settings.
In order to facilitate chip development for the standard's commercialization, China Development Bank recently agreed to loan nearly $4 million to Shanghai High Definition. The move is interesting in that Chinese banks are not big lenders to IC design houses, especially start-ups. "Although it's not a big amount, it shows the government's support for homegrown standards," said Yao Wang, a company spokesperson.
Wang also said an alliance for digital TV industry promotion will be established by year's end. Members will include chip makers, TV and set-top box makers as well as broadcast operators, who will work together to transition 400 million analog TVs to digital TVs by 2015.
Analysts see hurdles for the transition, though, including the cost of the set-top boxes and services, and a lack of compelling content that would motivate users to voluntarily change.