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August 26, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

The programmable digital signal processor market will see 20% growth rates this year, reaching a value of $3.9bn according to a new report from chip analyst Forward Concepts Inc. It’s one of the few bright spots in a market that will see negative overall growth over the year, and is being driven by the healthy market for the digital wireless communications products that are one of the primary applications for DSP chips. Things weren’t quite so healthy in some other key DSP markets. Revenues from drive controllers and modems are being restrained by soft pricing, while the audio and controller markets, a smaller proportion, are experiencing only moderate growth. In 1999, predicts the report, demand will pick up and growth rates will rise to 32% – assuming a healthier Asian economy and the emergence of new markets, such as digital cameras, satellite phones, smart antennas, voice over IP, AC motor control and digital television. Over the longer term, the DSP market should grow at a 33% compound growth rate to reach a $13.4bn level in 2002. Meanwhile, function specific non- programmable DSPs represent a larger, if more diffused market, and should see 30% growth this year to reach the $6bn level. These are typically used for modem and PCI audio chips, MPEG decoders, ADSL, HDSL and cable modems, set-top boxes, global positioning system chips, digital hearing aids and more. Unlike the programmable market, which is dominated by large players such as Texas Instruments Inc, Lucent Technologies Inc, Analog Devices Inc and Motorola Inc, the non-programmable market is supplied by over 80 manufacturers. Embedded MPEG-based digital TVs, set-top boxes and DVD players are the dominant markets for these chips. The report – entitled DSP Strategies 2000 – also covers field programmable gate arrays, algorithm-specific chips and media processors. The 600-page report costs $4,350, and is available from Tempe, Arizona-based Forward Concepts.

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