Trident becomes top TV video processing chip supplier

US based semiconductor supplier Trident Microsystems has leapt into the leadership position the fast-growing market for television video processing chips.

The firm leap-frogged MStar Semiconductor into first place in the first quarter having capitalised on new technology and customers gained from its acquisition of assets from NXP Semiconductors late last year.

Trident has since built its lead over its nearest rival, accounting for 13.8 percent of global television processing semiconductor revenue, while Taiwanese firm MStar has just 9.7 percent, according to iSuppli figures. It is the first time that Trident has led the market since the fourth quarter of 2007.

“Trident’s strong 2010 performance represents a complete turnaround from its weak results in 2008 and 2009,” said Randy Lawson, iSuppli principal analyst and manager.

“Leveraging the acquisition of Dutch-based NXP’s television semiconductor business in late 2009, Trident has been able to gain leadership in the market for LCD TV controller chips that support 120Hz-and-faster frame rates. NXP products and intellectual property also have allowed Trident to better address the market for smaller, lower-end LCD TVs. Finally, NXP provided Trident with an invaluable customer base in South Korea, greatly expanding its sales.”

A boom in the global market for LCD TV screen as consumers ditch the Cathode-Ray Tube devices has meant that the market for television processing chips, used to drive the LCD panel has consequently seen demand soar, with Trident able to capitalise.

The first three quarters of 2010 saw the television video processor market amount to $1.78 billion, rising 30 percent from the same period of 2009.

“Growth in the television processing semiconductor business is being generated by a number of market and technology trends specific to the TV segment, where dramatic product changes have – and will continue to be – introduced to the consumer marketplace,” Lawson said. “These trends are increasing the complexity and cost of video processing chips.”

LCD panels also require electronics to address slower pixel response times than that of plasma screens, meaning that video processing chips are vital to avoid picture blurring. 

It is also necessary for LCDs larger than 50-inches to provide improvements in their contrast ratios in order to better compete with plasma screens. This in turn requires dynamic backlight controls and video processing algorithms which can be added to processing chips.

HDTVs also require additional processing power, and high definition sets are predicted to rise to 75 percent of flat panels shipped in 2012 according to estimates, up from just 34 percent in 2009.

And with 3D displays also becoming increasingly popular across the world, and internet connectivity in TV sets also becoming widespread, it appears that demand is only set to increase.