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In the wake of semiconductor giant STMicroelectronics announcing it was to discontinue the development of new platforms and standard products for set-top-box and home gateway, citing “significant” losses in an increasingly difficult market, UK-based Dialog Semiconductor, a provider of highly integrated power management, AC/DC power conversion, solid state lighting (SSL) and Bluetooth Smart technology, has revealed it is entering the Smart TV and STB market with a family of highly integrated PMICs (power management integrated circuits) that leverage its power management expertise in smartphones and tablet computing.
Dialog is currently sampling three PMICs for low to high-end smart TVs to major OEMs. The devices were developed in partnership with TV System-on-Chip (SoC) vendors and have been proven in several reference designs.
“Dialog invented the high integrated configurable PMIC concept for smartphones, tablets and other portable devices and we lead the market today,” advised Jalal Bagherli, CEO of Dialog. “We have now adapted the concept to the power architecture of TVs and the resulting PMICs will radically change for the better how the TV analogue power path will be designed going forward. There has been an absence of analogue innovation in TVs for years, something that we’re changing with this new generation of products. The technology is based on our heritage of mobile market success and we will once again deliver compelling benefits to consumer product manufacturers.”
According to analyst Gartner, over 550 million TVs and STBs will be made in 2017. Increasing demand for high definition (4K) televisions is driving TV sales growth and the STB market is experiencing particularly rapid expansion in India and China. In addition, the advent of media streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon TV has created new products such as video streaming sticks and personal media boxes in which the new PMICs may also be used.
Costs savings will be achieved because one PMIC will replace up to 130 discrete components typically found in a TV today. As a result, printed circuit boards can be simpler and less expensive. Pick-and-place assembly will be up to three times faster, cutting manufacturing costs, and by standardising the analogue power path with a few programmable power management devices across a wide range of applications, manufacturers will reduce both R&D and inventory costs.
The power requirements of SoC devices in TVs and STBs are becoming more complex as video processing technology advances. The processors require precise, highly efficient power supplies with dynamic voltage scaling and low ripple and noise, the latter to ensure improved picture stability. Using Dialog PMICs guarantees system cost reduction, improved power efficiency, enhanced performance and greater reliability.
Compared with power management designs that use discrete components, greater efficiency will deliver energy savings of up to 5 watts. Less heat needs to be dissipated, resulting in increased reliability, which is further enhanced because there are fewer components and connections. Designs will be simplified because the PMICs enable centralised control of the whole TV or STB power path. In addition, the regulatory requirements around the world are pushing for lower standby power dissipation, typically below 300mW, which can be readily met using a PMIC-based system design.
Samples of Dialog’s TV PMICs are available now and the company will be ramping to high volume production in the second half of this year.