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The Great DVD Divide

15 Mar, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

I'm feeling a little schizophrenic, and I blame DVD.

Does anyone else feel like we are sitting on a teeter-totter between two very, very different DVD markets?

Just this morning, I was discussing the possibilities and problems of high-definition discs with some industry watchers. The talk turned technical, and the requisite headache ensued for me, but it is an exciting prospect for the industry. However, in my mind, it's still pretty far on the horizon. I just don't think that many consumers are going to be able to wrap their heads around it at the hardware price points we're looking at today. (It's a Wal-Mart world, remember.)

Then, another conversation later in the day hit the opposite end of the spectrum. The value-priced DVD market is booming. These discs are everywhere: the same programs, released over and over — public domain titles peppering dollar stores, discount stores, grocery stores. People are still snapping these up and, more important, the end of the flood of these releases also isn't in immediate sight.

I feel like we had about two years where everyone was, for the most part, on the same page — with standard DVD.

And now it seems we've shifted back into the dual-consumer mentality of the pre-mass-adoption of DVD hardware. Back then, it was the VHS holdouts vs. the DVD transitioners. Now it's the bargain-DVD shoppers vs. the cutting-edge digital technology consumers.

Unfortunately, I honestly believe that this teeter-totter isn't going to level out nearly as quickly as the one we were on a few years ago.

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