World Leader in Set-Top Box Chips Passes MPEG-Decoder Shipment Milestone
STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), the world’s leading supplier of ICs for TV set-top boxes (STBs)*, today announced that by the end of the first quarter of 2007 it had shipped a cumulative total of more than 400 million MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 decoder chips – used worldwide in STBs, digital television sets (DTV) and DVD players – since entering the market with the world’s first MPEG-2 System-on-Chip (SoC) decoder in 1995. In a sector growing rapidly in size, diversity and technical complexity, ST continues to be the leading supplier, year on year, shipping more than 63 million decoder ICs in 2006, which is approximately three times more devices than ST’s nearest competitor in the STB market.
ST develops and produces very complex and highly integrated chips at all price levels, in a market which now embraces technologies such as MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD), as well as advanced video codecs (H.264, VC-1, AVS) for terrestrial, satellite, cable, IPTV (Internet Protocol TV), Internet TV, Blu-ray and HD-DVD applications. ST’s innovative Omega decoder families have set the industry standard for performance at optimum cost, based on a common platform approach, shortening the time-to-market, as well as using common reference software which is supported by a large software community
ST complements its MPEG platforms by providing – or embedding – state-of-the-art satellite, cable and terrestrial tuners and demodulators, which convert the broadcast signal into the digital data stream for the MPEG decoder. Additionally, ST also offers high-performance digital audio amplifiers and TV sound processors that power audio enhancement and surround-sound applications.
Worldwide progress towards analog switch-off continues to be a major driver of the growth in the market, especially in terrestrial and cable services. Most countries have set timetables for the terrestrial broadcast transition extending over the coming years; in some countries it is almost complete, in others the move is in the early stages. In addition, integrated digital TV sets have shown a dramatic increase in popularity, with MPEG-2 integration in DTT (digital terrestrial television) moving faster than industry predictions, and MPEG-4 HD DTT gaining momentum after early adoption in certain countries. Following the success of ST’s MPEG-2 products in DTV, several top Asian and European TV manufacturers are already designing new TV sets based on ST’s state-of-the-art STi710x MPEG-4 solution.
In the fast move to digital broadcast, ST is particularly well placed to support emerging markets, such as the MPEG-2 cable market in China, where ST is already the number one supplier, in addition to local IPTV MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 services; and the satellite and cable market in India, with MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 services.
ST’s market-leading position reflects a continual process of innovation to meet the technical and pricing requirements of STB, DTV and DVD manufacturers. At the top of the current roadmap, the STi7200 dual-video-stream HD decoder chip, announced in January 2007, is intended for networked STBs, digital video recorders (DVRs) and blue-laser high-definition DVD players. This very highly integrated SoC supports both HD-DVD and Blu-ray formats for universal DVD players, in addition to HDTV broadcast standards, and is produced in a state-of-the-art 65nm process technology to deliver lower power consumption and competitive pricing; and several manufacturers are already designing it in to new applications.
For very high volume, price-sensitive markets, integrated devices such as the STi5188 satellite STB receiver/decoder chip, and others, combine the functions of receiver and mass-market decoder, with production in 90nm process technology and additional cost-saving features for manufacturers, to enable the manufacture of digital receivers competing in cost with analog sets.
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