According to DigiTimes, three Taiwanese optical chip designers – MediaTek, ALi and VIA Optical Solution (VOS) – plan to launch self-developed SoC (system-on-chip) solutions for DVD players and 52x CD-RW drives starting in mid-2003.
Among the three, MediaTek is expected to be the first to launch the new chips. The company plans to start sampling a single-chip solution that integrates servo, MPEG-2 decoder and RF ICs for DVD players in June or July. Servo and RF integrated chips for 52x CD-RW drives are also expected to be sampled by the company this summer and could start 0.18-micron volume production as early as the end of this year, sources said.
Meanwhile, ALi and VOS are scheduled to launch similar products in the second half of this year. While ALi’s exact schedule is still unclear, VOS expects to introduce its SoC chips at the end of this year, sources said.
Currently, local optical drive designers are selling servo and RF ICs as a set of CD-RW solutions. MediaTek and ALi offer CD-RW drive chips supporting 48x and 52x read speeds, respectively. While a set of servo and RF ICs supporting 48x CD-RW drives is now priced at US$8-9, the SoC chips are expected to cost 10% less, sources said.
As for chips used in DVD players, MediaTek and ALi reportedly are the only Taiwanese companies providing MPEG-2 decoder and servo controller integrated chips. The introduction of a single-chip solution that further integrates the RF IC is expected to trigger another price war among optical drive chip designers, even though MediaTek appears to be maintaining its leading position in the industry, sources said.