Sigma Designs

Sigma Designs

Sigma Designs, is an American public corporation that develops and markets high-performance system-on-a-chip semiconductors for Internet Protocol set-top boxes, DVD players/recorders, high definition TVs, digital media adapters, portable media players and ultra-wideband connectivity products. They also offer engineering support services and customized chipset development. Sigma Designs has 50% of the market for decoder chips that go into Blu-ray disc players.

Sigma Design’s headquarters is in Milpitas, California. The company develops products for the following key markets: IPTV (video over IP) Set-top Boxes, Blu-ray and HD DVD Players/Recorders, HDTVs, Digital Media Adapters, Portable Media Players, and UWB (Ultra-Wideband) Connectivity Products. They have alliances with a variety of well-known tech names, including Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent.

Monster Cables Partnership

On June 12, 2008 it was announced that Sigma Designs is collaborating with privately owned Monster Cable, to create "advanced wireless solutions for HDMI home entertainment distribution." . Noel Lee, the founder of Monster, stated that the reason they chose to do business with Sigma Designs is because “the company’s solutions proved to be the most reliable and because they meet Monster’s strict quality parameters.” The new product, entitled “Monster Wireless Digital Express HD”, is powered by Sigma’s Wireless HDAV™ which features Sigma’s UWB Windeo® chipset and its Intelligent Array Radio™ (IAR) technology..

Sigma’s IAR technology incorporates three antennas to deliver a wireless link that is allegedly uninhibited by walls, objects or people, also referred to as non-line-of-sight activity. Presumably this sort of technology will allow users to “mount their HDTVs on walls without the need for multiple HDMI and A/V cables spread throughout the room or hanging across the walls.”

XViD controversy

In July 2002, Sigma Designs released an MPEG-4 video codec called the REALmagic MPEG-4 Video Codec. Before long, people testing this new codec found that it contained considerable portions of Xvid code. Sigma Designs was contacted and confirmed that a programmer had based REALmagic on Xvid, but assured that all GPL code would be replaced to avoid copyright infringement. When Sigma Designs released the supposedly rewritten REALmagic codec, the Xvid developers immediately disassembled it and concluded that it still contained Xvid code, only rearranged in an attempt to disguise its presence. The Xvid developers decided to stop work and go public to force Sigma Designs to respect the terms of the GPL. After articles were published in Slashdot and The Inquirer, in August 2002 Sigma Designs agreed to publish their source code.


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