ATI buys NxtWave

$20M deal brings front-end chip set to ATI's back-end tech

Set-top-box chip maker ATI has acquired chip manufacturer NxtWave for $20 million cash in a move that will round out ATI's offerings.

Dan Eiref, ATI director of marketing for the set-top-box division, says ATI will now have a front-end, modulation technology to complement its Xilleon set-top-box backend, which can be found in cable, satellite and DSL digital set-top boxes from such companies as Scientific-Atlanta and Pace.

"NxtWave has excellent VSB and QAM technology that we can do a number of things with, including offering an end-to-end system to our customers that they can offer today," says Eiref. "We can also offer a fully working hardware and software for the unified platform."

NxtWave has about 50 employees located in Langhorne, Pa. They and ATI employees in a nearby office will be moved into a new facility in the area (ATI's worldwide count is approximately 2,000 employees). Operationally, NxtWave will be merged into ATI's set-top division as the technology provider for the front-end.

"Our engineering team is fully intact, and our customer support and applications departments are still together," says NxtWave spokesman Mike Gittings. "We're committed to continuing our NXT 2000 chip line, and we'll be working with the ATSC on our enhanced VSB efforts. The work we started on the smart antennas and cable compatibility will continue as well."

Eiref points out that there is not a lot of overlap, meaning that NxtWave's technology will complement ATI's chip-set development.