HONG KONG: A final wrap-up of the Electronics Fair
Time to call time on the Hong Kong Electronics Fair, with its usual mix of the totally weird and really rather wonderful, from our first experience of the Chinese NVD video format to a sneak preview of a classy-looking Heritage model from Scottish radio specialists Revo.
The NVD format, on show on the JWL stand, is to Blu-ray what Super Video CD is to DVD – or at least that's how it was explained to us by salesman Double Chen.
Now being referred to as 'Red-ray', it offers near-BD quality while being less expensive for both players and discs, and could provide stiff competition for Blu-ray in China.
Certainly our experience here in Hong Kong is that Blu-ray is less front and centre than it appears in the UK, a fact that also struck us in Japan. BD discs are expensive – think £25 or so in HMV here in Hong Kong, and more in Japan – and not exactly prominent in the shops. We came here expecting a disc-buying bonanza, but instead we'll be buying online from the usual suspects when we get home.
No, what's big here is still Video CD, and its SVCD derivative: that's the alternative format of choice, sitting on the shelves alongside DVD – the other night, in a small music and video store having a 20%-off closing down sale, we saw Hong Kong locals buying carrier-bags full of movies on VCD.
Back to the show, and while audio was somewhat less than prominent, we saw the usual flashing-lights mini-systems, the odd valve amp and DAC, including the neat system above from Cayin, and everything from digital wine-coolers to an iPod-controlled combination lightbulb and speaker.
Oh, and the DJ Mouse system from DJ-Tech, a software package for MP3 mixing driven from a customised heavyweight scratch mouse.
The enthusiastic salesman was giving it some heavy late King of Pop action, as you can see in our video report – check the link at the end of this bloggage.
We tested out the haptics on a touchscreen display at NXT, sampled more freshly-squeezed juice and freshly-baked cakes than was seemly and finished off with a play with the latest Revo products.
The company's Colin Urie explained the links with Last.FM, a trial subscription to which will be offered with new models, and Revo's hopes to offer other streaming services to its buyers, but kept the best surprise until last.
This is the forthcoming Heritage model, complete with its 60s/70s looks, and due in the shops in time for Christmas.
It looks like another strong addition to the ever-growing Revo range, alongside the new Ikon and Domino iPod dock/radios.
Well, that's it from Hong Kong, where the hammering and banging outside signals yet another redevelopment underway.
We've learned not to trust guidebooks or even websites when it comes to finding shops – go to the supposed location and the chances are you'll find bamboo scaffolding and signs announcing another new luxury hotel/jeweller/fashion shop opening soon.
See you the other side of the weekend, jetlag permitting – for now, click here for our final video show round-up.