Smaller retailers get Media Center boost

Smaller retailers get Media Center boost

With many OEMs and systems manufacturers focusing Media Center PC efforts on the mass merchant channel, offerings have been thin on the ground for smaller IT and AV resellers.

However, competition at the smaller end of town has received a boost with the launch of the locally-developed Opus Media Centers, which combine digital media capabilities with a lounge-friendly form factor.

According to Opus Technology managing director, Andy Welch, many of the big name brands are missing the boat when it comes to packaging Media Center systems, internally and externally.

Having put together a series of Media Center boxes - which combine the functionality of a stereo, digital set-top box, DVD recorder and TV time shifter - Welch believes there is a market out there for the right combination of function and form.

"There are a few media center products on the market already, but no one seems to be taking it seriously," Welch said. "Many of the systems don't have a full set of features, while others are the wrong form factor or just too noisy for the lounge."

Also in the running for business from smaller retailers, Pioneer Computers managing director, Jeff Li, said the company was continuing to develop its Media Center-based DreamVision offerings to overcome some of the hardware concerns that have been holding back sales.

"We have recently updated the design, power-source and graphics card - it is now really quiet," he said. "Sales have been fairly slow on the Media Center PCs because the hardware vendors have had technical issues, but now we have a system that is ready to go."

Like Pioneer and Opus, Altech Computers is also courting smaller resellers. Marketing manager, Brian Richards, said its Media Center-based Maestro system was doing well through both IT and AV stores at this level.

"Smaller retailers are our bread and butter," he said. "Certain resellers have picked up on the home theme and are doing really well with the Maestro line."

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