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Next-Generation DVD: Cart Before the Horse?

22 Dec, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Columbia Tri-Star Home Entertainment (now Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) made news earlier this year when it announced that beginning in 2006 all of its video releases would be in the high-definition Blu-ray Disc format.

Since then, Buena Vista Home Entertainment has pledged alliance to the format with Warner Home Video, Universal Studio Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment promising to deliver — by late 2005 — product in the competing HD-DVD format.

Regardless of the format, nothing will come of the new optical-disc configurations that claim superior picture quality and increased capacity until there is market demand — an economic reality some believe is far off.

“We expect the next-generation DVD players will be on the high end of the price spectrum, so it will take a while for them to penetrate down into the market,” Sean Wargo, director of industry analysis, Consumer Electronics Association. “The price differential between a conventional DVD player and next-generation is going to be at least $500.”

What made DVD the media phenomenon among consumers was perceived value at an inexpensive price. Next-generation DVD seems to be headed in the opposite direction.

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