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Recordable DVD's Breakout Year

5 Jan, 2003 By: Kurt Indvik

This is CES week in Las Vegas, and DVD will, once again, be in the spotlight. This time, however, it will be recordable DVD machines breaking some new price ground and not DVD players. It's pretty much accepted that there isn't much room left for price cutting on entry-level players, at least.

Analysts expect some of the first sub $400 recordable DVD players to make their appearance at CES, which may presage the beginning of the major consumer push for recordable machines that could see, even, some sub $300 machines by Christmas 2003. Of course, as we saw with the DVD player, the real mass-market adoption begins when you start to see sub $200 machines and that's not a likely scenario until the fall of 2004, industry watchers say.

“We expect 2003 to become the breakout year for recordable DVD, with demand fueled especially by consumers who want to back up their videotaped memories on the more durable DVD discs,” Robert Greenberg, VP of brand marketing at Panasonic told Video Store Magazine in an article running in this week's issue.

I suspect that there will, indeed, be a whole generation of baby boomer parents for whom the idea of taking that unsightly pile of taped home videos and cramming them all onto thin little discs will be well worth the money. And, they'll tell themselves, they have a ton of kids videos on VHS (the ones their children couldn't live without), some of which they can also find a way to copy over to DVDs, thus adding to the justification of being an early adopter to the recordable DVD player.

Just what the impact the recordable DVD player will have on home video when it begins to make a mass market push in 2004 is anyone's guess. But one might assume that the recent surge in TV fare on DVD may hit something of a bump in the road once (and if) the mass market of recordable DVD owners start recording their favorite shows. And those studios with classic kids fare that saw huge VHS sellthrough might be well advised to issue their DVD versions sooner than later in the recordable DVD player's evolution. Though I'm not suggesting a connection here, it's a good bet (and good timing on Disney's part) that with the theatrical appearance of The Lion King on IMAX early this year we'll see its DVD special edition version coming later in the fall, following last year's Beauty and the Beast rollout model.

Though standards issues remain on the recordable front, it's time is fast approaching and 2003 will, indeed, be the year recordable DVD breaks barriers on a variety of fronts and sets itself up for a major year in 2004.

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