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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Affordable Recordable DVD Will Drive the Final Nail Into VHS's Coffin

27 Aug, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The same day Video Store Magazine producedthe fourth annual The DVD Awards, some interesting news came out of Europe.

The Recordable DVD Council, a 66-member coalition of top DVD technology developers and users meeting in Berlin, announced it will launch a worldwide program to promote recordable DVD products complying with recording standards approved by the DVD Forum.

A worthy goal. Recordable DVD, once it's widely available and affordable tothe masses, will drive the final nail into VHS's coffin -- and hasten what Tower Records and Video founder Russ Solomon once envisioned as "the end of tape."

Take a look at the CD market. In the middle 1980s, CDs took off like wildfire, driving the poor old 12-inch vinyl LP into obscurity within severalyears of the 5-inch disc's debut.

And yet the audiocassette hung in there for more than a decade, falling out of favor only when consumers could easily "burn" their own CDs, either through a separate console or on their computers.

DVD's ascent has been just as rapid, despite initial concerns about the absence of a recordable component. For time-shifters, there are all sorts of new devices, like TiVo and its various brethren. So it hasn't really been that much of a problem.

And yet, for those of us whose sole need for tape has come down to filming Junior's birthday party, that's reason enough to keep the trusty VCR up and running.

Not that we're doing so willingly. Heck, I'm even thinking of plopping down afew hundred dollars to transfer my home videos to DVD, courtesy of one ofthose new tape-to-disc services now starting up.

Long after Middle America dumps its cassettes in favor of DVD, the VCR will be kept alive by the home movie market. It may not get used more than once or twice a year, but that's reason enough to not pull the plug.

Until, of course, recordable DVD becomes not just a reality, but an AFFORDABLE reality. And by that, I mean recordable machines priced at $250 or less, as well as a significant installed base of next-generation DVD computerdrives that allow the user to burn DVDs as easily as CDs. Apple's breaking ground in that territory, and I have a feeling other computer makers won't be far behind.

The end of tape may be closer than you think.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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