By Martin Vedris and Patrick Avenell
SYDNEY: Queensland based NetOpt is the latest company to announce it will distribute DAB+ and internet radio products in Australia as the official 1 January 2009 launch date of free-to-air digital radio looms closer.
NetOpt has today announced it has signed an exclusive deal to distribute and support Europe’s leading music technology brand, Intempo Digital, in the Australian and New Zealand markets.
The range, which the company says will be available in Australia from September through retail outlets, includes DAB+ and Internet radio, iPod and MP3 accessories and a Bluetooth range.
“We are very excited to partner with Intempo Digital to bring their innovative and unique range to Australian and New Zealand consumers” said NetOpt product manager, Rick Nand.
“Both NetOpt and Intempo Digital place extra emphasis on technical support and both companies have an excellent reputation for after-sales support,” he said.
NetOpt said it will adopt Intempo’s style of hands-on customer service where customers are encouraged to call, email or instant-message the Broken Department where somebody will be on hand to help out with a “misbehaving product”.
Meanwhile, the birth of digital radio in Australia is being coordinated by a group of industry representatives, including consumer electronics retailers and manufacturers. The group is called the Broadcasters, Retailers and Receiver Manufacturers Digital Radio Advisory Group, and they had planned to meet on a monthly basis to determine the digital radio launch strategy.
The group includes senior representatives from retailers such as Harvey Norman, Domayne, Clive Peeters, Dick Smith and manufacturers including Philips, Samsung, Yamaha, Revo, Bush Australia and Pure Australasia.
Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), the national industry body representing commercial radio broadcasters, said it has invited other leading retailers such as Bing Lee, Target, Myer, David Jones, Strathfield Group and JB Hi Fi to join the group as well as other manufacturers including Panasonic, TEAC, Sony, Pioneer and JVC.
Broadcasters from the major networks involved in the launch including Austereo, DMG, ARN and Sky Racing.
Free-to-air digital radio services will begin on 1 January in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth and when the digital radio service is switched on in Australia, AM and FM analogue radio services will continue to be broadcast in Australia. However, with an estimated 50 million analogue radios in Australian homes, CRA says there is a huge market for digital receivers.