Jeff Bier, Berkeley Design Technology (04/02/2008 1:46 PM EDT) - EE Times
Digital video is almost everywhere. And where it isn't now, it soon will be. As a result, the market for digital video intellectual property components--hardware, software, you name it--is wide open, with lots of opportunities for profit. And there are roughly five gazillion vendors jockeying for position within a highly fragmented field.
Companies like ARC and Tensilica are offering programmable (and sometimes customizable) hardware-plus-software silicon IP solutions for chip designers. Imagination Technologies and Hantro (recently acquired by On2) are offering hard-wired silicon IP. Software companies like MainConcept are offering proprietary implementations of standards-based compression algorithms ("codecs"). And then you have a gaggle of other companies, like Droplet Technologies and Ipera, that are selling proprietary algorithms for compression and pre- and post-processing.
Programmable chip vendors, of course, are increasingly providing software IP along with their video chips. For example, the video codec software provided by Texas Instruments for its DaVinci chips. Likewise for FPGA vendors, and for companies promoting massively parallel processors for applications like video post-production and surveillance.
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