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Consumers Have Little Excuse Not to Buy a DVD Player This Year

24 Nov, 2003 By: Stephanie Prange

Consumers really have little preventing them from buying a DVD player this year. For the first time, the players cost the same or less than many DVDs. Web sites have hinted at DVD player prices on Black Friday (the big shopping day after Thanksgiving) as low as $12.99 -- that's just a little more than the price of a movie ticket in many areas. In holiday circulars this Sunday, I saw several discounters advertising a low-end player for about $30.

While we've become accustomed to DVD prices as low as $5.88 (Wal-Mart, of course), I've frankly been shocked at the freefall in DVD player pricing. For $30, consumers can give most of their friends and family members a disc player. At $30, DVD fans can buy players for multiple rooms.

DVD player household penetration should get an enormous boost this holiday season, as shoppers snap up these cheap players. According to Video Store Magazine market research, last January sellthrough unit sales registered $1.26 billion -- the biggest tally so far this year -- thanks to post-holiday buying. This January should be a corker as well, as consumers buy software to try out their new DVD players or replace their VHS libraries with discs as they make the final leap to DVD.

And the final leap to DVD is getting easier and easier. Lack of recordability is no longer a roadblock. Along with low DVD player pricing, this year brings DVD recorders at reasonable prices for the first time. I saw several in the $350 range. I bet many a family will buy a DVD recorder this year, and, like the frequently seen commercial, transfer all their home movie videos to DVD and toss the VCR.

It's looking more than ever like the long-dominant videocassette is going the way of beta.

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