Originally Posted by Mathelo
Taking a closer look at their financials you can see that SIGMA is in trouble. Big losses and their revenue is way down. I wonder what is driving that?
Sigma's revenue from media player chipsets fell drastically from 2009 and is falling still. Think back to 2007/8/9.. The Sigma 863x was the only chipset in town. Syabas were able to sell big quantities of the A-100/A-110 at a high price. The originally WDTV also sold well, again with the 8635. There was a rash of Chinese 8635 based Popcorn Hour clones, all paying royalties to Sigma (if not Syabas!).
The margin on these players and the 8635 chipset used by all of them was large. Sigma effectively controlled the market.
Then the Realtek 1073 chipset happened and suddenly most players were based on it and much cheaper (Xtreamer mk1 onwards). Nearly all the Chinese manufacturers switched to Realtek and new strong products emerged like ACRyan and Xtreamer, again based on Realtek.
The market for Sigma's big revenue producer suddenly collapsed.
They've struggled since then. Only a loyal vanguard of companies have stuck with them (who also happen to be some of the biggest names, but whose sales will have also suffered from new cheap competition). Sigma have tried to diversify, notably into the 'connected home' and powerline networking but these appear to not be generating the kind of revenue the 8635 chipset did in the glory years.
At this stage Sigma need a big product. Something to create big sales and big revenue. The 8910 is never going to be that, so it's development is on a backburner.
Sigma know they will never make big money with the 8910 because it's a niche product in a niche market. It will never compete on price with Realtek (or indeed new ARM chips) and the benefits are something only a few people will be willing to pay a premium for..
I should say that Realtek face a similar challenge, only from ARM based chips and Android. The mass market is where the money is, and in that mass market picture quality is not the paramount factor. Price and increasingly additional features (web browsers / on-demand / games) are.