Video stores in the US have turned tail and said they will rent out DVD players, instead of relegating the technology to a head-on competitor with cassettes.
UK outlets are expected to follow suit.
This next generation technology is expected to rapidly replace CD and VHS video formats as it offers consumers exceptionally sharp picture quality and cinema standard Dolby Digital surround sound.
DVD has two big advantages over cassettes - sharper pictures and CD quality sound. The players are set to appear for rental in US video store chains, including Blockbuster, this autumn, confirmed the Video Software Dealers Association.
DVD units will be from a variety of manufacturers, including Toshiba and Philips.
?It is a great way taking the technology to consumers and showing them its capabilities,? a Philips spokesman told 'VNU Newswire'. DVD players currently cost around #500.
Blockbuster said no decisions have been made for the UK. The video chain has been sucessfully renting out Sony Playstation units and games for a number of months.
DVD has been seen as a threat to video cassette rental. But store owners are fast realising it helps them maintain a technological parity with competitors, such as pay-per-view satellite.
Manufacturers believe that DVD rental will help them push the technology, which has had a slow roll-out until now. Their research shows that consumers interested in splashing out on a player would want outlets to rent disks.
DVD has recently received a further boost from entertainment giants Time Warner and MGM, which have said they intend to expand distribution and release of movie titles on DVD.
Warner Home Video plans to release popular movies such as 'Ace Ventura' and 'Demolition Man' on the new format. Old classics will also get the DVD treatment, including 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' and 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo?s Nest'.
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