MediaTek's chips power more than 60% of all smart TVs

Mike Wheatley

Chipmaker MediaTek has revealed the full extent of its near-monopoly on the television chip business, saying that its silicon powers more than 60% of all smart TVs globally.


The revelation came during MediaTek’s annual summit in California, as reported by analyst Avi Greengart on Twitter.

The company boasted that more than two billion TVs sold worldwide are powered by MediaTek chips. However, its influence is even greater than that because it also creates chips for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, so even in TVs that are not powered by MediaTek’s chips, it likely has its technology in there somewhere.

TV brands that rely on MediaTek’s chips include Samsung Electronics, Sony, Philips. TCL, Panasonic and Xiaomi, to name just a few.

Another major player in the TV chip industry is Realtek, whose silicon is used in some of TCL’s models. LG Electronics, meanwhile, designs its own chips, as does Apple for the Apple TV 4K, and Nvidia for the Nvidia Shield streaming box.

At the event, MediaTek said that TV sales during the COVID-19 pandemic were driven primarily by a desire for 4K at 120Hz gaming, which is possible with the latest PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S consoles. Meanwhile, it said 8K TV shipments were “moderated” due to the lack of any substantial native 8K content to drive demand. Going forward, MediaTek believes gaming and HDR will be the biggest drivers of TV sales.

To stress that point, MediaTek introduced Sony Corp.’s executive deputy president Kauo Kii on stage, to talk about his company’s collaboration with MediaTek. Kii elaborated on how the partnership with MediaTek enabled his company to target the premium TV segment, while playing a major role in its transition from HD to 4K TVs.

This year’s flagship Sony TV models, such as the A95K QD-OLED TV, are powered by the MediaTek MT5895 SoC. Next year, the Japanese firm is likely to adopt MediaTek’s newest Pentonic 1000 chip, which was announced last week. The Pentonic 1000 is a 12-nanometre chip that, for the first time, supports up to four HDMI 2.1 ports. Until now, most TVs that rely on MediaTek’s silicon have been limited to just two HDMI 2.1 ports, so it’s a beneficial update.

The new chip will also enable support for Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail, meaning next year’s TVs should have greater contrast control and improved dark detail that can be optimised according to the ambient lighting. Meanwhile, the new Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation (MEMC) capability is able to insert extra frames within scenes to display smoother-looking movements in fast-paced content.

While no TV maker has yet confirmed it will be using MediaTek’s Pentonic 1000, the chipmaker said its newest chip will become globally available by the first quarter of next year.