MStar Explains its Business

Patrick Molin MStarPatrick Molin is from MStar in Taiwan. The company was only formed in 2002 by some engineers from TSMC and started with simple chips, but quickly got into TV SoCs and was one of the survivors that eventually took the market. It was the first company to develop a global DVB chip, which was a big step forward.

MStar got into STBs in 2009 when it already had success in TV. Initially it started with FTA STBs, but it added encryption support and now it has more Pay TV STB chip business than FTA. There was an IPO in 2010 and then in 2014, the firm merged with Mediatek, a specialist in mobile phone chips, although it had a TV business as well.

MStar still operates separately because of conditions from the Chinese authorities which will last until 2017. The combined revenue is $7 billion and the company is the third largest fabless chip company and position 12 in the overall chip business.

As well as TV, STBs, smartphones, monitors and now connected devices. The firm still has around 60% of the TV chip business market share. It has shared hardware and software platforms between the STB and TV businesses.

MStar shipped 20 million HEVC and UltraHD chips in 2014 and was one of the first to support HDCP 2.2.

TV develops technologies first and they tend to migrate to STBs a year or more later. Now that security is becoming more important in TV, technology is also being migrated back from STB to TV. MStar has a single team developing both sets of chips and software.

MStar milestones