Chips for TVs

Samsung Electronics has formed a strategic alliance with Germany’s Micronas Semiconductor Holding AG to co-develop chip sets for next-generation TVs.

Specifically, the two companies plan to develop ICs that combine a video signal processor, audio signal processor and micro-controller. Samsung will take part in the development work from the design stage, acquiring chip design know-how from Micronas.

This arrangement will help Samsung to produce competitive TVs. Additionally, Micronas will benefit by securing a steady buyer of new ICs. Samsung Electronics Semiconductor Division is also exploring the possibility of fabricating the jointly developed chips on consignment.

The tie-up of a TV system maker like Samsung and a TV chip set maker such as Micronas is in response to a TV market beset by cutthroat competition. Developing countries are making ever-greater inroads into this global market. Strong competitiveness in both price and quality are now imperative for business survival.

The world TV market stands at 120 million units per year. Samsung holds a 10% share, selling 12 million units annually. Samsung is competing fiercely with major market players Sony and Phillips.

In 1970, Samsung mass-produced its first black-and white TVs, with colour TVs going into mass production in 1976. The company began selling digital TVs in 1998.

Micronas acquired ITT Semiconductor in 1997. The company was established in 1957 with the name of Intermetall. The company acquired the Image & Video Division of Infineon Technologies in 2000, filling out its lineup of TV signal processing devices.

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