NXP said Friday that it has developed a semiconductor chip that allows highdefinition LCD television sets to switch automatically between analog and digital signals.
The company previously known as Philips Semiconductors will build the chip into reference designs that manufacturers can use to speed new HD LCD TVs to retail stores worldwide.
The chip will become available in January . It will be built into two TV reference designs Nexperia TV/ for DVB/PAL and Nexperia TV for analog TVs according to Vincent Vermeer product marketing manager for mainstream LCD TV solutions at NXP.
"Manufacturers have attached a digital bolt on to an analog television set for many of the solutions in the market today" Vermeer said. "The problem with this is you have twouser interfaces on the same television one for digital and one for analog."
NXP's new chip aims to create a seamless environment allowing the signal to switch between analog and digital automatically.
The entire product line is pintopin compatible which means TV designers can reuse the investments across a range of products.
Vermeer said chip production is being subcontracted to undisclosed manufacturers with semiconductor fabrication facilities in Taiwan.
NXP hopes the chip will help boost sales. Research firm iSuppli Corp. estimates global LCD TV unit shipments will reach million in up from million in .
For the second quarter of Sharp led in LCD TV unit market share with . percent according to iSuppli. Samsung followed with . percent; Sony .; Philips . percent; and JVC . percent the research firm said.
Overall sales are up for tech gadgets. Consumer technology which includes IT imaging audio video telecommunications and consumables increased nearly percent between January and June to more than $ billion compared with the same period in according to The NPD Group Inc.
The research firm said the growth in flatpanel TVs both LCD and plasma took the spotlight with more than $ billion in sales for the first half of a percent jump over the same period in .
Vermeer said the move toward a hybrid chip which can switch between digital and analog signals would give consumers a better HD experience.
It also fits nicely into NXP's business strategy to pursue a focus that relies on supplying chips to the fastgrowing consumer electronics market.
Philips Electronics recently agreed to sell percent of its semiconductor division to a group of private equity firms. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company Silver Lake Partners and AlpInvest Partners offered approximately $. billion. Two weeks ago two other private equity firms Bain Capital and Apax joined the group.
The semiconductor unit of Royal Philips Electronics said Thursday it would adopt the name NXP or Next Experience as it becomes a standalone company.
The new name suggests NXP will focus on chips to improve performance of nextgeneration consumer devices including digital televisions multimedia cellular phones electronic passports and digital cash and identification systems.