The global market for RF power semiconductors used in broadcasting is much larger than years of “conventional wisdom” have suggested, according to a new study from ABI Research. Its growth is being driven by the current explosion in digital broadcasting, both television and radio. This market is expected to remain very healthy for the next decade. “Historically, this market has been viewed as flat and not very exciting,” says research director Lance Wilson. “In general, most RF power semiconductor vendors have overlooked and dismissed it. That, it turns out, is a grave error.
To date, this market has never been comprehensively examined and we found that it is much bigger—approximately twice the size—than suggested by the conventional wisdom.” This sizable market is being powered by the explosion in digital broadcasting, both television and radio, but especially TV. Some analog TV services are starting to decline somewhat, but the total demand for RF power semiconductors for broadcasting looks very promising for the next 10 years. Regionally, growth will be driven by the phased switchover to digital TV as it occurs in different countries.
Part of the reason for earlier assessments of this market has been that many of these semiconductors have been sold through electronic component distribution sales channels, making it more difficult to know where the parts are going. These channels have now been factored into the market forecast.
What kind of opportunity does this unexpectedly thriving market environment present for existing and new vendors? “Historically, this market favored well-established incumbents,” says Wilson. “But it is not at all an adverse environment for new entrants if performance and pricing goals are met.”