ASX-listed movie download company, Reeltime, has announced plans to release its own branded home entertainment device, which will be sold at just over $1000.
The Home Entertainment Centre (HEC), built for Reeltime by Taiwanese manufacturer, Gigabyte, features a digital video tuner, DVD and CD player and personal video recorder (PVR) and delivers online content straight to a user's home entertainment system.
Managing director, John Karantzis, said the company would release three different models (80GB, 160GB and 320GB) at the end of the month. They would initially be available direct from Reeltime's website and select ISP partners.
"We are looking to seed and position the product - we need to make sure we have the right balance of price and functionality before we take it to the wider retail channel," he said.
Karantzis said he has had a lot of interest from the retail channel, mainly due to the fact that the product could replace the High-Definition tuner and PVR at about half the cost of a media centre PC.
He said the company would monitor sales of the three models before whittling it down to a single device by the time it engaged with the wider retail market. He expected to do this prior to the end of the financial year.
The device, Karantzis said, would then be pitched directly to retail chains, rather than sold through the distribution channel.
Reeltime, which launched in September, claims to have rights to the largest library of movie and TV content in Australia. This week, Sony Pictures Entertainment bolstered the fledgling company with an investment of around $910,000 worth of shares.
Sony Pictures already owns 7.5 per cent of Movies Online - the hotel entertainment company that owns a majority stake (55 per cent) in Reeltime - meaning it owns about 10 per cent of Reeltime.
Karantzis had no idea why Sony had upped its investment, except to say that there had been some discussions between Reeltime and Sony about extending its business model into other kinds of content.