4 Aug 2008
Sound Concepts(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 08,2008)
With superb performance and integrated functions, audio-visual products from Hong Kong are tuned into success
Versatile, sophisticated and stylish, the new generation of audio-visual products goes the distance to deliver pleasing, high-quality images and sounds.
For RockridgeSound Technology Co, for instance, toppling distance barriers means creating Internet radios with easy access to 12,000-plus stations worldwide.
"Wherever you are, you can receive online stations from your home country," says Managing Director Roland Young. "Internet radios suit countries that are full of migrants, like Germany, Australia and the US."
Listeners tune these radios by "screening down", selecting a country or region, city and then a station. Pre-sets for favourite stations remove the need to screen down every time, Mr Young advises.
The company's Internet 05 version has built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, plus a traditional FM radio tuner, an RJ45 connector for an Internet cable and a radio digital service (RDS) showing such data as weather or music information on an LCD panel. The long, curved design usually comes in black, although other colours are also available.
Another versatile radio, the red digital audio broadcasting (DAB) RB 41B, is triangular in shape and has an RDS LCD screen and button controls between the front speakers. On top are an iPod dock and an antenna for DAB and AM/FM reception.
Retaining the familiar alarm-clock and snooze-button functions, both radios carry unit prices of about US$75 FOB China.
"We are good at sound design," Mr Young says. "Even our small units have hi-fi sound effects. We're very experienced and do lots of OEM/ODM work for big companies."
Those seeking visual enjoyment should also check out Samwin Hong Kong Ltd's DVD players, which often come with extra features such as TVs, radios, digital photo frames, iPod docks and USB/card readers.
The range offered includes portable DVD player model SW6071, which has a seven-inch screen, USB/card reader and built-in rechargeable battery lasting two hours. Measuring 204x156x38mm, the device fits easily into a briefcase or handbag, and its sturdy casing comes in bright colours such as red or yellow.
"This product is very eye-catching," notes Marketing Manager Sandra Poon. "We created it with a sense of style. The colours resemble those of Ferrari cars."
The item should survive a one-metre fall if dropped or bumped off a desk, while anti-shock capabilities also allow its use in moving vehicles.
"There's a full-function remote control, but as users may forget to take it with them we have placed simple button controls on the player as well," explains Ms Poon, adding that the unit price is about US$73 FOB Shenzhen.
Meanwhile, Gowell Enterprises Int'l Ltd expects strong demand for its Blu-ray Disc (BD) player, Dolby headphones and high-definition (HD) set-top boxes.
"Our BD player, unlike many others, can play DivX [a video format popular in Europe]," advises Chief Executive Officer Jason Wong.
He claims that while most headphones have two channels, the company's Dolby models give a 5.1-channel effect using the Dolby virtual-surround technology, and uncompressed audio-CD quality.
"If I arrive home late and want to watch movies, but my son is sleeping, I can use the Dolby headphones to enjoy a cinema effect without disturbing anyone," Mr Wong says.
With these 2.4 gigahertz wireless headphones, users within 30 metres can hear clearly, even through walls.
"The one-to-many capability means that dozens of people with headphones can listen to signals from the same source," Mr Wong enthuses.
Gowell's HD set-top box has a hard disk to allow "time shifting" so that TV viewers with phone calls or other interruptions will not miss anything, while an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) function can record shows onto the hard disk.
Demand for such set-top boxes widens as more markets embrace HD broadcasting, Mr Wong remarks. "That's the evolution of television."
Another increasingly popular item is the LCD TV, such as OTIC Digitech Ltd's best-selling 19-inch models 1938A and 1988. Different cabinets, some with glossy finishes, satisfy the style preferences of different markets.
"Demand for LCD TVs continues to rise rapidly," says Director Kenneth Wong. "The trend should continue as more countries switch from analogue to digital broadcasts."
Customers also favour OTIC's 42-inch sound-bar speaker systems which, sometimes equipped with iPod docks, fit onto special stands with the TVs.
"Many consumers will consider the speaker-bar system because most LCD TVs have audio limitations due to their slim sizes," says Mr Wong. "These new speaker systems enhance the audio performance."
Operating in a slightly different niche is Foshan Shunde Daliang Weiman Electronic Co Ltd, which highlights its DVD-combo products, Internet radios and mini hi-fi systems. The latter typically have DVD/CD capabilities and two or more speakers.
"Usually, the mini hi-fi systems are for family use," says Sales Manager Etta Pan. "They comprise several pieces but remain compact."
He observes that users like the integration of functions such as MP3, radio, USB/card reader and iPod port. "Most customers come from Europe, but we plan to develop more products for the US where the market taste is different."
With such a sound vision of the market, suppliers are certain to continue to roll out new audio-visual products to wow consumers the world over.
TEXT BY JOHN CAIRNS