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Silicon Image focuses on CE connectivity co-processor

Posted: 28 Jan 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:connectivity co-processor for TV  serial connectivity  connectivity technologies 

No, said Martino. "We don't have any hidden agenda here. We want to be a Switzerland [in the connectivity debate]."

Broadcom: 'Why choose?'
But of course, if you are Broadcom—whose holy grail is "integration, integration and integration"—Switzerland is off the map. Scott McGregor, Broadcom's CEO, noted during an interview with EE Times at CES, "If you already have all the connectivity elements [like we do at Broadcom], why choose?"

He explained that [connectivity] combo chips are already on the rise. "There are real advantages in combining and integrating different technologies in one chip. We can offer power advantages, space savings and simplify designs." But the bottom line is that OEMs don't have to deal with several different suppliers to bring together a system.

"It's the just one-less-butt-to-kick principle," said McGregor.

For its part, Silicon Image believes a connectivity co-processor could open the door for much more SoC competition on the consumer market for OEMs.

Aside from pushing HDMI and MHL, which are becoming the mainstay of serial connectivity, "We'd like to offer a solution to SoC vendors whose chips are becoming quickly obsolete because the rate of changes in connectivity technologies is moving much faster than their SoC development cycle," explained Martino.

Asked what other connectivity standards (other than HDMI, MHL and Ethernet) will be supported in the connectivity co-processor, Silicon Image is holding its cards close to the vest. "We are currently talking to a lot of top TV manufacturers," he said. The company's co-processors will not affect Silicon Image's bottom line until 2013 or later, he added. Silicon Image is scheduled to sample the first connectivity co-processor in the next nine to 12 months.

It remains to be seen how Silicon Image plans to corral a variety of connectivity IPs for this project. "Internal development, licensing IPs and buying some IPs—all the options are on the table," said Martino.

Martino, originally from Australia, spent the beginning of his career at National Semiconductor, working in Australia, Japan, China and California. Most recently, before joining Silicon Image, Martino was a board member, COO and angel investor at SAI Technology, Inc., a supplier of 4G and security technology solutions to the mobile industry. Martino isn't exactly foreign to the CE market, either. He was COO at Zoran for four years in the early part of the last decade. After leaving Zoran, he served as president and CEO at Cornice, a consumer storage solution company.

- Junko Yoshida
EE Times

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