Humax targets UK DTT market



Korean digital set-top box manufacturer Humax is entering the UK market with a range of digital home entertainment products, with the focus on combining digital TV receivers with Hard Disk Drives. According to Dale Heathcote, commercial director, the company had 'sat outside the UK market for a while,' because it didn't have a relationship with dominant digital satellite platform BSkyB. However, in response to the high level of take up of 'Freeview' digital terrestrial STBs, it now intended to establish Humax as a major consumer electronics brand.

Humax is positioning itself as a value-added supplier, offering differentiated products. "We cannot be a 'me-too' player, otherwise we'd be competing against more than 20 other manufacturers," revealed Heathcote. In addition to an entry-level STB that is designed to offer affordable access to free-to-air digital TV and radio services, Humax will offer a fully featured unit allowing digital text and interactive services. Also available will be a two-in-one combined Freeview digital receiver and DVD player, and combined DTT Personal Video Recorders (PVR).

Scheduled for launch in the first quarter of 2004 is Humax's LCD Integrated Digital TV (IDTV) range, combining a flat panel LCD screen with a DTT receiver. "IDTVs have had a bit of a chequered history so far, but we see this as the way forward," observed Heathcote. The company is also targeting other European markets, with the emphasis away from the standard functionality of the STB. Humax anticipates that the UK will remain the most developed DTV market, with a strong PVR uptake and a higher than average proportion of households taking a second device.