Zensonic rebrands for global push

Zensonic rebrands for global push

Australian home entertainment electronics designer, Zensonic, has changed its name to Ziova as it looks to create brand identity in the US, Israel and Europe.

The Adelaide-based company - which designs high-definition DVD players featuring built-in media streaming capabilities - signed a deal with niche US distributor, Media West Distribution, in May 2006. But just months into launching its US operations, legal advisors warned that its company name sounded similar to an existing vendor in the market.

"We were advised to re-brand as a precaution," CEO, Raaj Menon, said. "We were told it would protect us from potential trademark issues in the future."

Rather than have alternative names for the same products in different territories, Menon opted to re-brand the company's entire portfolio. The Zensonic Z500 will be re-branded as the Ziova Clearstream CS505, its new media player (the same product minus DVD tray) will be known as the Ziova Clearstream CS510, and its high-definition HDMI cables will be called Ziova Flexstream. Eventually, the company plans to release audio products under the Ziova Crystalstream brand.

Zensonic was the first company in the world to manufacture a HDMI-compliant DVD player. This digital audio/video interface for connecting media players to LCD and plasma screens succeeds the DVI standard and older analogue connections.

Using Zensonic's media players, users stream audio and visual content from a folder on a PC to a remote-controlled media player connected to a home theatre system. This streaming is either Ethernet or wireless.

"Wired is the best option for high-definition content," Menon said. "Wireless is easier, but if you are spending $500 on a high-definition media player, you may as well spend another $100 and get the house wired with Ethernet to get the best throughput."

Outside of the US, Ziova is distributed in Australia by sister company, PC Range, and in Israel, courtesy of third deal signed in July.

Menon's eyes are now set firmly on the European market, which has been problematic because Zensonic products contain lead. The European Union, as of July 1, introduced a ban on technology products containing lead under its RoHS environmental initiative. Menon said all future Ziova products would be lead-free.

Ziova plans to recruit a distribution channel for Europe and the UK next month by showcasing its wares at IFA Berlin, a consumer electronics trade fair held in early September.

Menon was disappointed to have received very little assistance from the Australian Government to tackle overseas markets.

"We are constantly looking for support to do trade shows, but the Government keeps saying we aren't eligible because we do our software research and development in India and our assembly in China," he said. "These products are Australian designed and are always going to be based here in Adelaide. It is just not feasible to manufacture here in Australia and maintain competitive prices."

Ziova was now being used as a case study by the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association to show the Government that the laws needed updating, Menon said.

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