DVD technology is kicking in in the US, but more aggressive marketing is still needed by studios and retailers to explain the technology to consumers, especially in Europe, according to the DVD Video Group.
"We still need to expand the support in these areas from key leaders," said Emile Petrone, chairman of the DVD Video Group of America, which was set up to push the DVD format and now has 40 members, including consumer electronics companies, home video divisions and authoring set ups.
There are no 40 DVD players on the market in the US under 30 brands. Pricing ranges from $1,000 to $299. There are 2,500 DVD titles in stores right now, but Petrone is confident this figure will reach 5,000 by the end of the year.
Of US homes 1.4 million now have DVD players, this figure should hit three million by the beginning of 2000. In contrast, Europe should sell around one million DVD players this year and will only have around 1,000 DVD players on the market by year end.
Frank Pauli, general manager of Philips Disc systems, says research in the UK, France and Germany shows that consumers are beginning to realise the benefits of DVD.
"They realise that DVD is offering superior picture quality, sound quality and advanced home cinema," he said. "The market is fast moving from early adopters to mass market."
The DVD Video Group believes that around 20 per cent of music videos will be sold on DVD. Tower Records has already sold more DVD discs than all the laser discs it has sold in the past 10 years put together.
So will DVD top VHS in the forseeable future? Petrone believes it could be as early as 2006.
"This five inch disc is a versatile package carrier for data, movies and music," he said. "It is waking up a sleepy industry with a new wave of digital entertainment."
The DVD group believes that DVD Rom will give the technology the extra push it needs. Hitachi is already rumoured to be considering ending production of CD Rom drives this year in favour of DVD Rom.
The big attraction DVD Rom has for consumers is that it is backwards compatible, so consumers can play exisiting CDs in the drives.
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