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Warner Pursues Portable DVD

22 Nov, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Today's tech-savvy, mobile youth aren't hung up on screen size when it comes to consuming entertainment, which is one reason why, beginning next month,Warner Home Video will seek to expand on the growing portability of DVD software and hardware with a select-market launch of a 3-inch “mini-DVD” format.

Initial mini-disc releases, which will include some 30 titles priced from $9.98 to $24.98, will include Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed and A Cinderella Story, in addition to sports titles, other movies and TV programming.

The unveiling will coincide with the debut of a $120 mini-DVD player from CyberHome Entertainment, a Fremont, Calif.-based manufacturer and OEM supplier.

The mini DVD player — which features Dolby 5.1 sound, built-in speakers, headphones, AC adapter, rechargeable battery and cradle charger — will include the film Scooby-Doo: Original Mysteries, plus a mail-in offer for consumers to receive two free additional WHV mini-DVD titles from a selection of five. CyberHome electronics products can be found at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, Radio Shack, Fry's Electronics and Amazon.com, among other retailers.

“We want to capitalize on the growing interest in portable DVD devices, and the 3-inch format allows you to create a smaller, more portable device than the 5-inch DVD,” said Jeff Brown, SVP of worldwide marketing at WHV. “We also think that it is a product that particularly appeals to kids under the age of 15. The concept of portability allows young people to have their own DVD player; in short ‘my DVD player.’

A nationwide launch of another 50 titles from a broader range of genres is scheduled for March 2005.

Warner doesn't expect the 3-inch format to compete with conventional DVD titles following extensive research that showed parents appreciated the concept as a downtime stopgap for their kids when traveling in the car, between soccer games or at a restaurant.

Although in partnership with CyberHome, Warner officials see the mini DVD as a subsegment of DVD and anticipates additional hardware players from separate manufacturers coming to the marketplace.

“We see this as a line extension of DVD, with the real opportunity being out of home and making DVD even more portable than it is already,” said Jim Wuthrich, VP of U.S. marketing at WHV.

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