Ravisent set to license DVD, HDTV software solutions|
By Junko Yoshida
EE Times (07/23/99, 2:34 p.m. EDT)
MALVERN, Pa. — Ravisent Technologies Inc., Intel's new partner in getting PCs to decode digital-TV data streams, aims to bring its software-centric approach to an array of multimedia machines. Fueled by a recent IPO, Ravisent Technologies Inc. hopes to convince a broad group of DVD, satellite TV and other developers to design-in key algorithms first and work the silicon around the core software later.
In preparing for its initial public offering on July 16, the company changed its name from Quadrant International and redefined its business, billing itself as an intellectual-property supplier that licenses technology to PC and consumer OEMs.
At a time when competitors are being gobbled up by large chip makers — CompCore Multimedia, for example, has become a part of Zoran Corp., and Mediamatics is now owned by National Semiconductor Corp. — Ravisent is essentially the only independent digital audio/video algorithm company focused on licensing.
The company's hardware-independent development expertise has its roots in a team of engineers with a history in the Commodore/Amiga world.
New way of thinking
Armed with a portfolio of solutions for recording, playback, navigation and user interfaces for DVD players, digital broadcast satellites and digital HDTV, Ravisent hopes to change the way OEMs make decisions on their system designs.
"System OEMs are used to picking their favorite chips first and then developing software algorithms and drivers to make an entire system work," said Ed Piehl, director of marketing for Ravisent. The company maintains that choosing software first "would allow OEMs to switch to newer and better silicon components quickly, when they later become available," Piehl said.
Its co-development deal with Intel Corp. puts Ravisent on track to devise a full-scale digital HDTV solution on a PC platform by mid-2000.
By going public, Ravisent plans to use a chunk of its newly raised money to acquire complementary technologies while building a good representation and a full engineering team in Japan.
"The presence in Japan is essential in forming much closer partnerships with a number of consumer OEMs there," Piehl said.
Ravisent doubled its employees to 120 over the last 12 months. It had $38.2 million in sales in the fiscal year that ended last December, registering $1.6 million in profit.