The Blazing Business In Video Chips

Keeping track of the global race in semiconductors once was easy. Japan dominated memory chips, and America had a lock on microprocessors. Then, electronics makers dreamed up an array of new products from digital high-definition TV and videophones to multimedia technology, which merges computers, TVs, and phones. Bringing these to life requires a new breed of powerful chips that capture, compress, and display moving images. "The need for chips that process images is going to become universal," says Masataka Hayashida, Texas Instruments Inc.'s worldwide consumer strategy manager in Tokyo. And the battle lines are being drawn in what could soon be the industry's fastest-growing sector.

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