New Partnership Targets HDTV for Netbooks in China


Mirics Semiconductor and Shanghai High-Definition Digital
Technology Industrial Company (HDIC) have inked a strategic partnership to develop
technologies that would enable the broadcast of high-definition TV content to
portable devices, particularly netbooks, in China.

The two companies plan to develop a comprehensive solution
that will allow terrestrial broadcasters to deliver both HD and standard-definition
content to portable devices using the DTTB (Digital Television Terrestrial
Broadcast) standard, which became the mandatory digital terrestrial standard for
Chinese broadcasters in 2007. All TV receivers in China
must comply with the standard before 2015, when analog TV broadcasts are set to
be shut off.


The deal is interesting because it highlights the growing interest
in providing HD content to netbooks, which have become one of the fastest
growing consumer-electronics categories.

"We've seen a huge explosion in netbooks," noted Chet Babla,
director of marketing at Mirics Semiconductor. "Two years ago they didn't exist,
and now 30 million netbooks will ship this year globally."

Manufacturers have also been adding multimedia capabilities,
including HD screens, to the inexpensive netbooks, which can be purchased for
as little as $200 to $300.

"Netbooks are now bringing multimedia content to the
consumer, rather than just doing e-mail or basic tasks," Babla noted. "Particularly
in developing countries, netbooks are starting to see a lot of shipments and we
see it as a very interesting opportunity to deliver the whole PC and multimedia
experience in an affordable way to the internet population."

Under the partnership, the two companies plan offer a
platform for broadcasters that will use Mirics FlexiFR tuner technology and
HDIC low-power HD/SD dual-mode demodulators.

The delivery of HD content via digital terrestrial
broadcasters to portable devices in China
will take time, however. China Central Television, the state broadcaster, has
launched high-definition broadcasts, but stations in China
are still acquiring the necessary equipment for digital signals and the
transition won't be completed before 2015.

Beyond China,
Babla also sees opportunities for broadcasters to provide HD content to
portable devices in Europe and Asia,
where digital terrestrial television platforms have proved extremely popular.

Some triple and quad play providers have also embraced the
concept. PCCW in Hong Kong, for example, is already
providing HD content to portable devices as part of its quad play, Babla noted.

"It is not just broadcasters that are pushing this kind of
technology, but also operators who want to build an entertainment subscriber
base and differentiate their offerings," he said.