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Thank Goodness for Self-Starting DVDs

18 Apr, 2005 By: Stephanie Prange

In the early years of the DVD business, many bemoaned the kid-unfriendly menu. Unlike VHS cassettes, which just required that viewers popped in the cassette and hit play, DVDs required lots of maneuvering with the remote — something very young children could not do.

Luckily, DVD suppliers have caught on to this problem with many kid-friendly titles starting after a few minutes stuck on the menu screen. With two sick kids this past weekend, I was eternally grateful for that little feature. We had two TVs running with two different DVD programs.

Whatever it is named — “auto play,” “direct play,” or “QuickStart” — the self-starting feature is great for the family market. I have to applaud suppliers for catching on. When DVD first came out, many thought it wouldn't be something kids could use. Now it's fueling much of the category's remaining growth. The overall value of the children's and family video market is estimated at about $2.7 billion, or 17 percent of the $15.9 billion consumers spent buying videos, chiefly DVDs, in 2004, according to Home Media Research. By 2007, projections are the children's video market will account for 28 percent of total home video sales.

Now that's kid friendly.

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