USA: There are several main chips required for signal tuning in each digital TV, including digital signal tuners, digital signal demodulators, MPEG decoders, back-end image processors, and EMS memory.
The television tuner itself is a module or “can”, but there is trend toward silicon tuners that will eventually gain majority market share. The major advantage is that silicon tuners dissipate less power than older tuners, while also having more consistent quality and performance resulting from tighter manufacturing tolerances. As silicon process technologies continue to improve, silicon tuner costs will continue to decline.
In tuner IC market, competition is heating up thanks to growing opportunities for additional digital tuner content in HD TVs, as well as in satellite Set-top Boxes and in many PCs as well. In PCs digital tuners let consumers tune-in television programs, and then capture, store, manage and distribute a wide range of video content on their PCs.
As PCs continue to take the role of entertainment devices, growth in this segment will be particularly potent. Meanwhile, the increased demand and falling prices for automotive entertainment electronics have it possible for many OEMs to add rear-seat HDTV entertainment systems to their vehicles, thus providing even further opportunity for suppliers of silicon TV tuners.
Back in 2003, Samsung added TV Tuners to some of their phones. This application market has yet to reach fruition, but there are many suppliers that are banking on this application driving demand long term. For now TV content is delivered primarily over the internet still (on these mobile devices) and not through a tuner, however, there are many new phones that are on the market that include one.
The real problem that is preventing this technology from being incorporated into all phones, much like the camera capability, is battery life. Like WiFi and other power hungry functions on today’s smart phones, digital tuning and video processing takes up a lot of power which results in consumers making a decision to either watch a program for an hour or so then recharge, or bypass the show in order to save battery life.
Still, even with growth in new products, the industry players in this space have remained relatively consistent. NXP has remained the leading player in the silicon tuner IC market. Meanwhile, players such as STMicroelectronics focus their products on Set-top Boxes, while Broadcom focuses on Satellite TV. Other players include Silicon Labs, Mediatek, Samsung, and Maxlinear.
Further consolidation of this industry has continued in 2010. In early September 2010, the Zoran Corporation in Silicon Valley, CA agreed to acquire TV tuner IC firm Microtune for a transaction price of approximately $166 million. Zoran expects the acquisition to be accretive immediately following the close of the deal, which is slated for the fourth quarter of 2010.
Ultimately, the move also serves to further condense an already concentrated market, where opportunities in high volume consumer, computer, wireless and automotive applications will provide suppliers such as Zoran a major boost in the upcoming years.
Worldwide TV Tuner Market Forecast (Revenue, Units, and ASPs)Source: Databeans Estimates.