Qualcomm set to disrupt STB market

Joseph O'Halloran | 02-11-2013

With Intel said to be pulling the plug on its product line and box making incumbents looking for new directions, the set top box market is in some flux and inside the box Qualcomm looks set to change the STB industry.

Indeed according to a new research not from the Consumer Electronics Service at IHS, says the mobile semiconductor giant is “muscling” its way into the STB chip business. The analyst predicts that this move will shake up the market’s competitive landscape, being a serious contender to the current duopoly held by Broadcom, and STMicroelectronics (STM) who lead a $2 billion market for set-top box processors

“For several years now, the lucrative market for STB audio-visual processors has been dominated by Broadcom and STM,” said Jordan Selburn, senior principal analyst, consumer platforms, at IHS. “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% 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.”

IHS adds that the sub-segments being targeted by Qualcomm, including home multimedia gateways, thin clients and residential gateways, are nearly greenfield opportunities where the well-established incumbents may have less of an advantage. It suggests that Qualcomm’s scale and expertise place it as a legitimate contender for new design wins in these areas.

The research also observed that 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, which can process High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) of a 1080p high-definition signal, though not the next-generation UltraHD signals.