The two fastest growing sectors in the semiconductor industry are digital television (DTV) and portable media players reports released this year indicate.

This year, market research firm IDC released data indicating that the trend moving consumers towards digital TV's, including high-definition sets as well as flat panel LCD's and plasmas, is actually one of the largest growing markets in electronics. Within the next five years, the DTV market is expected to grow 18 percent to $7.7 billion.

The DTV market is emerging very quickly, driven by the rapid consumer adoption of flat screen televisions, especially LCD, said IdaRose Sylvester, senior analyst for IDC's Consumer Semiconductor program. Additionally, worldwide digital tuner mandates push more silicon content into the TV, increasing the opportunity for chip vendors. However, the market is exceptionally competitive, and vertically integrated companies still dominate.

Growing at an even faster rate are portable media playing devices. Devices like Apple's iPod or Creative's Zen media players are expected to grow 28 percent over the next 5 years, reaching $8 billion by 2010.

The compressed audio and PMP semiconductor market saw explosive growth in 2005, and continues to grow rapidly in 2006, due to a confluence of unique factors, skyrocketing the segment to the largest in the consumer semiconductor forecast, added Sylvester. Despite challenges, this market represents substantial opportunity for the chip vendors playing in it, if they play the right tune.