Melbourne-based HiFi and AV distributor, QualiFi, has become the latest distributor to tip its cap to home convergence, by signing up high-tech Danish home entertainment vendor KiSS Technology (Keep it Simple Solutions).
QualiFi will take on KiSS’s Ethernet and wireless-enabled Plasma and LCD screens and DVD players.
Traditionally a HiFi and home theatre specialist, QualiFi represents such brands as Marantz. But marketing director, Ralph Grundl, said its traditional vendors were beginning to incorporate more IT into their products.
Many HiFi and home AV vendors were introducing software and other IT components to their products and systems, he said. ”We sell touchscreen remotes which can control anything with an infrared - such as lighting or blinds – from the one remote,” Grundl said.
The home entertainment industry was moving from standalone units to interactive systems,he said.
“We see it as the interface moving the content from broadband internet out to the various devices in the home," Grundl said.
The advent of software such as Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows Media Centre, and Pinnacle’s video editing software was pushing the home PC towards being an interactive entertainment hub.
KiSS was one vendor moving in this direction, he said.
“It’s about sharing rather than having standalone setups," Grundl said. "Even the plasma and some of the LCD screens have Ethernet or wireless.”
KiSS began as a distributor of CDR, DVD and HDDs for PCs, and developed its first DVD-player DP-330 in 2001. Its DP-450 DVD player was the first to support the DivX format. KiSS’s range of DVD products are compatible with DivX, a format favoured for peer to peer sharing of TV and movie files online. It also sells several DVD recorders.
The users of KiSS products would tend to be internet-savvy buyers who were accustomed to downloading information and entertainment from the Web, Grundl said.
While QualiFi’s reseller base tended to be traditional AV and HiFi dealers, he said that the KISS products would appeal to traditional IT resellers. “We probably deal with some of them already,” Grundle said.
Mass merchant customers of QualiFi include Harvey Norman, JB HiFi and Dick Smith Powerhouse.
While local pricing was yet to be set, Grundl confirmed that QualiFi would be selling all KISS plasma and LCD displays, and its DVD players within two months.
A decision would be made later on products like such as top boxes, he said.
“We need to research the standards,” Grundl said.