Optima leaps into digital home space

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Box-builder Optima Technology Solutions has laid its cards on the table in the digital home space, launching an entry-level video-editing PC and two new ultraportable notebooks aimed at mobile users keen on digital media.

Box-builder Optima Technology Solutions has laid its cards on the table in the digital home space, launching an entry-level video-editing PC and two new ultraportable notebooks aimed at mobile users keen on digital media.

Optima unveiled its locally-made WorkPro Video Editing PC, Prolite K Series notebook and a new Centoris G Series notebook to media and analysts in Sydney yesterday, Thursday May 13. All will be available to channel and retail partners.

All three new PCs have an RRP of around $2000 -- a factor Optima managing director Cornel Ung saw as giving the Australian box-builder an edge in the burgeoning multimedia PC sector.

“The price of PCs has come down so much, every dollar you want users to pay for it, you have to justify it. I think that's the challenge,” Ung said. “A lot are introducing a media centre PC and charging more than $3000.”

The company that could provide the right functionality at the right price point would be the likely winner, Ung suggested.

Optima's video-editing PC is bundled with Pinnacle Studio Digital Video Version 9 and Pinnacle Hollywood FX Pro video-editing software.

It has a three-year on-site warranty, Intel Extreme 2 Graphics software for lifting colour sharpness and picture definition, six-channel surround sound, two speakers and a 17in CRT monitor, HyperThreading, 512MB of RAM and a 120GB hard drive. RRP is $1999, including GST.

A Samsung deal meant Optima was also offering a digital camcorder for $449 with the package.

“You can see in the US that the [digital home] market is booming with media centre products,” Ung said. “We also have Microsoft OEM licensing in Australia as well, so we are definitely OEM'ing the Microsoft Media Center licence.”

While Australian media centre sales had so far been slow, some vendors had tried to pre-empt the entry of Microsoft Media Center, which was the main product driving sales overseas, he said.

“In Australia, the take-up is quite slow. We looked into the product in October last year but it had been delayed. So we saw some products introduced without the Microsoft Media Centre operating system,” Ung said.

The two other new products -- the Intel Centrino-based Prolite K and the new Centoris G notebooks -- were expected to appeal to road warriors and other professionals wanting to use their notebooks in more diverse ways, such as for watching DVDs at home or while travelling.

The Prolite K weighs 1.9kg, including batteries expected to provide up to six hours' life, two USB ports, TV connector jacks, a Compact Flash card reader, an internal DVD/CD-RW combo drive and internal optical disk drive. It has a 12.1in widescreen LCD, suited to watching movies, creating multimedia presentations or working on spreadsheets. RRP is $2499 and it is available to the channel.

The new Centoris G notebook also targets home users and SMBs. It has a 15in LCD screen, Microsoft Windows XP Home, 256MB of RAM, 40GB hard drive, DVD/CD-RW combo drive, internal modem, Intel Extreme Graphics 2, 10/100Mb/s LAN and FireWire ports, stereo speakers, five USB ports, five hours of battery life and a case.

Ung said Optima was ramping up its channel. The company had picked up 30 more resellers this year using its new channel managers.

An Optima launch around Microsoft Media Center was planned for September or October, he added.

Government and education was likely to remain Optima's main focus but the importance of channel and retail was growing. “We've had about 30 percent growth [in our channel] compared to the year before, and we will better that growth in the next financial year. Definitely, channel will be a bigger business for Optima. It a couple of years' time, it will be about 25 percent of our business,” Ung said.

Optima was seeking to sign resellers in the regions and some metropolitan system integrators, he said.

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