Qualcomm enters into Set-Top-Box chip market

New Delhi, India, November 5, 2013: Qualcomm, mobile semiconductor player, is entering into the set-top box (STB) chip business, a move likely to shake up the market’s competitive landscape, according to insights from the Consumer Electronics Service at IHS.

San Diego, Calif.-based Qualcomm is a serious contender to the current STB duopoly held by Broadcom, also from Southern California, and French-Italian maker STMicroelectronics. Both Broadcom and STM sit atop the $2 billion market for set-top box processors.

Jordan Selburn, senior principal analyst, consumer platforms, at IHS, said, “For several years now, the lucrative market for STB audio-visual processors has been dominated by Broadcom and STM. While a handful of vendors also competed, mostly with chips targeted at lower-performance systems, the two powerhouses virtually owned the high-end market and accounted for roughly 80 percent of total STB processor revenue. Now Qualcomm has entered the STB market, and the incumbent leaders will face a serious challenger that has its sights set on domination.”

Qualcomm is entering the STB space via the Snapdragon 600 MPQ8064, a chip featuring the company’s quad-core version of an ARM-based architecture called Krait. The chip can process High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) of a 1080p high-definition signal, though not the next-generation ultra-high definition (UHD) signals. HEVC compresses media content more than current standards, allowing for more channels, faster downloads and higher image quality.

In September Qualcomm announced it was partnering with Technicolor, a top-tier STB manufacturer based in France with a U.S. subsidiary in Boston, to power the Svelte box. The Snapdragon 600 will be inside the Svelte box, which will feature 4G Long Term Evolution, the first time the next-generation broadband connectivity standard will be available on a set-top box for the market.

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