Market Insight

ARM Gaining Momentum in the DTV Space

January 25, 2012  | Subscribers Only

Randy Lawson Randy Lawson Subject Matter Expert

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In the battle over the digital television (DTV) system-on-chip market, MIPS remains the dominant CPU cores seen within the TV SoC space, claiming over 60% of TV SoC shipments on a global basis in 2011.  Two of the top three TV SoC suppliers, namely Mstar Semiconductor in Taiwan and Trident Microsystems in the US, currently license MIPS 32 cores and have both adopted the MIPS32 74K next gen core for future TV SoC architectures.  However, while MIPS has historically been dominant in the TV market, mobile-application CPU leader ARM appears poised to for significant gains in this space.

ARM has been gaining share in the TV space in recent years primarily through their licensee Mediatek, which is the #2 TV SoC supplier in the world, garnering over 17% share of all TV SoC revenues in 2011 according to IHS tracking of the TV semiconductor market.  Furthermore, Mediatek saw their rate of growth climb within the TV SoC market during 2011, compared to slowing growth for leader Mstar, while #3 supplier Trident lost market share. Finally, as MIPS-based TV SoC supplier CSR (formerly Zoran) exits the TV SoC market in 2012 and OEMs move newer TV set designs to chipsets from suppliers such as ST Micro, Marvell and Panasonic (suppliers with SoC solutions based on ARM cores), ARM stands to gain significant share from 2012 onward.  ARM clearly has the advantage from a growth standpoint.

Looking at the bigger picture, the strength ARM has in mobile products such as smartphones and tablets is expected to lend ARM an advantage within the TV and STB space as both these markets move to “smart” (internet enabled, application-based architectures) platforms.  IHS has a positive outlook for internet connectable and “smart” TV sets from 2012 onward, especially as the graphics capabilities of the ARM based chip sets become more compelling.  Overall, ARM-based SoC growth is expected to outpace MIPS in the TV space over the next five years as internet enabled TV sets expand from only 25% of the market in 2011 to over 65% of the market by 2015.

 Read More About DTV SoC > SoC Supplier Shakeup in 2011: Growth Rate Slowing for TV Semiconductor Outlook 

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