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A Sigma competitor bites the dust

September 1st, 2008 · No Comments

There was some disappointment at the somewhat slower expected progress in the IPTV and blue-ray market, mentioned at Sigma’s cc last week. They’re not the only one having these problems, and Sigma is faring better than some, a lot better..

We embarked on some work on Sigma and the IPTV market which we will greatly extent in the coming weeks. Preliminary results (note that you’ll have to sign up for some as we are planning to start a newsletter):

(Suggestions and comments are very welcome!)

In that research, we found a competitor we hadn’t previously heard about. The company was first known as Wyschip, but was taken over in 2005 by Micronas.

  • Wyschip (Santa Clara), for example, last month announced a chip that supports Microsoft’s IPTV platform by handling high-definition AV decoding, multiple digital-rights management schemes and networking. [EETimes 2005]

That triggered our interest. We dug some deeper, and this is what we found:

  • Micronas to Acquire WISchip International, a Leader in Video Compression and Streaming Technology Combination of Micronas and WISchip technologies enables a broad range of HDTV solutions [thomasnet Oct 26, 2005]
  • The company’s latest product, the DeCypher(TM) 8100, is a breakthrough multi-stream, high-definition, audio/video system-on-chip (SoC) decoder with integrated digital rights management and networking support, compliant with the H.264 HD standard and Microsoft’s WM9/VC-1.The DeCypher 8100 is a flexible and scalable single-chip solution that will enable OEM consumer electronics customers to develop next-generation IP set-top boxes, high-definition television sets and BluRay (BD)/HD-DVD products. [thomasnet Oct 26, 2005]

That looked pretty good, considering it is info from 2005! Curious we couldn’t find any traction. They also had an older chip.

  • WISchip’s Cypher(TM) 7108 system-on-chip (SoC) is a highly integrated video/audio encoding solution designed to address the increasingly demanding multimedia data storage and transmission requirements of next-generation home entertainment systems, PC and Mac “media centers” and commercial/home surveillance systems. Based on advanced hardware compression technology, the Cypher 7108 supports a broad range of audio and video encoding formats including MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile (without GMC), MPEG-2/1, Motion JPEG, and H.263. [thomasnet Oct 26, 2005]

Pretty good chips that support Microsoft’s IPTV platform? We’re pretty sure they’re not certified, and

  • Micronas has discontinued its IPTV set-top box activities for telecoms applications; most of the employees working in this sector have now left the Company. The crisis in the financial markets has prompted the first uncertainties in the market regarding the general growth prospects for 2008. Incoming orders in the Consumer division during March were disappointing, and this will have a negative impact on the course of business in the second quarter. [Micronas April 17, 2008]

Two conclusions:

  1. Sigma was not the only one suffering from a little slower uptake in IPTV
  2. Apparently, Sigma still rules.. This was actually no surprise to us.

On another note, there was a board message suggesting that Coppergate could be important competition. It’s limited to the home network market though, although their touting of distributing IPTV in the home might have created some confusion:

  • Tel Aviv, Israel and Newark, California, May 7, 2008 – CopperGate Communications, the Everywire Home Networking Company™, today announced the shipment of 5 million HomePNA chipsets worldwide – making the company the leader in IPTV services over coax and phone wires. [copper-gate]
  • [Coppergate was touted as a competitor on the message boards on the basis of the above announcement, but their chips only compete with SIGM in the area of home networking (over existing power or coax lines), see here for a clear explanation what their chip does. Sigma’s chip even includes a wireless solution (UWB) for that.]

Tags: SIGM