Onkyo Sotec HDC-1L

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 December, 2008, 12:00am

Manufacturers of PCs have been moving into the multimedia home entertainment system market for years now, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the guys who traditionally make stereo systems are fighting back.

The Sotec HDC-1L by Japanese audio systems maker Onkyo is not only a standard stereo with an amplifier and speakers, but also a PC powered by an Intel Atom 230 processor running at 1.6GHz, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive and Windows XP.

Like all stereo systems, there's a remote control, but this system also comes with a keyboard and mouse for PC input.

Additional features include a VGA port for connecting to PC displays, ethernet for hooking up an internet connection and a built-in DVD drive.

The features of the HDC-1L are nothing to write home about, but it does represent one of the first times a stereo manufacturer is offering computer capabilities. As such, you can expect dedicated audio technology for better sound quality, and specific remote control software that lets you play music without going into the PC software.

Perhaps its biggest selling point is that it doesn't look anything like a PC, but still offers PC functionality, like Web-surfing, PC games and so on.

The HDC-1L is currently only available in Japan, but it should make it to Hong Kong shores soon.

Prices for the HDC-1L are set at 59,800 yen (HK$5,010) without speakers, 74,800 yen ($6,267) with speakers and 99,800 yen ($8,363) with speakers and a 19-inch LCD.

Pros: dedicated audio technology, looks and plays like a stereo but with PC and internet capabilities

Cons: doesn't appear to have built-in wireless, only 1GB of RAM - no mention of possible upgrades, no TV tuner