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ST organises audio seminar in Noida

Posted: 16 Jun 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:STMicroelectronics  audio seminar  Noida  Mr. Pradeep Kumar  Rita Ghai 

ST Microelectronics India organised an audio seminar in Noida. The seminar began with Pradeep Kumar, the vice president of EMR, speaking about the growth of the company in India.

The company also had a demonstration of Class AB, D, DDX and MP3 products, as well as wireless Bluetooth and I/R audio products, and audio DSPs.

In 2005, the company's sales was Rs.39,696 crore ($8.8 billion), with the Asia Pacific region catering to 46 per cent sales, followed by 31 per cent in Europe, 13 per cent in North America, seven percent in emerging markets and three per cent in Japan.

It has a diverse product portfolio focused on high growth applications, with 56 per cent in automotive, computer peripheral, home, personal and communication products. The others are MLD at 21 per cent and MPG at 22 per cent. The products include applications for computer peripherals. In this category are data storage, printers, optical mouse, monitors and displays and imaging. The second category is for digital consumer items such as set-top boxes, DVDs, digital TVs, digital cameras and digital audio systems. For the automotive sector, it is for car radios, car multimedia, telematics and engine and body safety.

The Class AB, D, DDX and MP3 products main markets are DVD receiver, as per Luigi Pagoto, technical marketing manager, HEG. There is a movement more towards digital for every kind of audio application, so the trend is also in the flat panel television, LCD, PDP are fast moving to the digital audio and not only other kind of application, like home system audio because they require digital audio so these are also moving to the digital solution. However, the Class AB is still alive covering most of the applications, where an analogue source is used. The range is from very few watts to up to 100s of watts. The last generation of Class D are coming closer to the distortion offered by the traditional Class AB. Class D and DDX offer advantage of small space. Within a very small space, you can get high output, create 150W RMS power with very small mixing. But when you are talking about really high quality, high fidelity sound, then analogue is the best.

Estimated size of the market is about Rs.135.33 crore ($30 million), which can be split in Rs.27.07 crore ($6 million) for television sets, Rs.22.56 crore ($5 million) for high end audio and the rest is for other applications such as boom boxes, radio based receivers or five in one receivers, or audios or VCD audio. This is the market size for silicon ICs only.

Major categories for wireless Bluetooth and I/R audio products are classical wireless headset in order to perform a high-end application, with sound processing effects. Also a typical sub-woofer application and other applications such as hands free car kit to enable automotive market with good features. Infrared audio technology is also developed and is based on an evolution of coloured diffusive infrared, that does not suffer of the problem of line of sight, so even if there is obstacle between receiver and transmitter, a good quality of audio is achieved.

Portable devices are the key trends, which are driving the demand for this technology. These include personal media players, such as an I-pod, which is an audio player, but what is coming up are the pmts, which are personal audio-video players, with an embedded micro hard disc, with digital video and digital audio information and it is for personal music on the go, for personal viewing. So, these kinds of applications will push demand for blue tooth, for wireless devices. Mobile phones and home theatre applications are a big demand.

End use applications for audio DSPs are in flat TVs, LCDs and PDP TVs, especially for large size LCD and PDP TVs. The demand for this is the CRT market of close to one crore (10 million) to 1.1 crore (11 million) units. A lot of those technologies are embedded inside the video processor, so we see limited application for Audio DSPs in CRT based TVs, but now we see that a transition is taking place in the Indian market. People are trying to look at flat panel TVs, LCD and PDP TVs, which is in a growth area. Currently there is little production for flat panel TVs but it will grow at around 50 per cent, as prices are going down, we are seeing big price erosions in LCD and PDP TVs. The 40inch LCD TV, will come in a range of Rs. 50,000 to Rs.60,000 then the demand will shoot up.

Key trends for audio DSP products are to implement more and more processes, make customisable solutions for our customers. Today the drivers are mainly the Korean and Japanese TV makers, who are making flat panel TVs, like Samsung, LG and Sony. A lot of people ask for enhanced audio processing, such as certain algorithms, or how to implement a 5.1 channel, Dolby digital, SRS surround or circle surround and enhanced post processing of recorder. That is what people are looking for and the company is providing multiple channel audio and then implementing features like five-band equalizer, and base and some high-end recording features.

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