Fwd: Forwarded article: DVD rounding into the future

Sallymaro@aol.com
Mon, 12 Mar 2001 12:05:40 -0800 (PST)

--part1_28.12618c18.27de85b5_boundary
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
boundary="part1_28.12618c18.27de85b5_alt_boundary"

--part1_28.12618c18.27de85b5_alt_boundary
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

The accompanying article is from this morning's Chicago Tribune. I found it
useful in sorting our some of the DVD mysteries, and think it might be
helpful for libraries serving the general public.
Sally Mason-Robinson

--part1_28.12618c18.27de85b5_alt_boundary
Content-Type: text/html; charset="US-ASCII"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

The accompanying article is from this morning's Chicago Tribune. I found it
useful in sorting our some of the DVD mysteries, and think it might be
helpful for libraries serving the general public.
Sally Mason-Robinson
--part1_28.12618c18.27de85b5_alt_boundary-- --part1_28.12618c18.27de85b5_boundary Content-Type: message/rfc822 Content-Disposition: inline Return-Path: Received: from rly-xc02.mx.aol.com (rly-xc02.mail.aol.com [172.20.105.135]) by air-xc04.mail.aol.com (v77_r1.21) with ESMTP; Mon, 12 Mar 2001 12:12:37 -0500 Received: from camcolo2-smrly1.gtei.net (camcolo2-smrly1.gtei.net [128.11.173.4]) by rly-xc02.mx.aol.com (v77_r1.21) with ESMTP; Mon, 12 Mar 2001 12:12:11 1900 Received: from tribune22.su-colo.bbnplanet.com (tribune22.su-colo.bbnplanet.com [205.180.62.29]) by camcolo2-smrly1.gtei.net (Postfix) with ESMTP id 12D543818 for ; Mon, 12 Mar 2001 17:12:11 +0000 (GMT) Received: (from chictrib@localhost) by tribune22.su-colo.bbnplanet.com (8.8.8+Sun/8.8.8) id JAA27090; Mon, 12 Mar 2001 09:12:10 -0800 (PST) Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 09:12:10 -0800 (PST) Message-Id: <200103121712.JAA27090@tribune22.su-colo.bbnplanet.com> To: sallymaro@aol.com From: wylier@aol.com Subject: Forwarded article: DVD rounding into the future Sender: chictrib@tribune22.su-colo.bbnplanet.com X-Mailer: Unknown (No Version) MIME-Version: 1.0 The following article was selected from the Internet Edition of the Chicago Tribune. To visit the site, point your browser to http://chicagotribune.com/. ----------- Chicago Tribune Article Forwarding---------------- Article forwarded by: Wylie Robinson Return e-mail: wylier@aol.com ---Forwarded article---------------- DVD rounding into the future By Stephen Williams Although the DVD phenomenon has yet to peak, "phenomenon" is still the appropriate noun, industry experts say. In its various forms, it has become the most successful product introduction in the short but mercurial history of consumer electronics. What the compact disc, or CD, did for music, the DVD does for movies: It provides an immediate, quantum leap in sensual satisfaction: crisper, more detailed images and sound that surrounds. DVD was launched in 1997, but the early prognosis wasn't good after a somewhat troubled birth. In the early 1990s, a team led by Sony and Time Warner developed one DVD technology, while a group formed by Toshiba and Philips developed another. Pressured by IBM and other computer companies, the two sides came to an agreement in late 1995. But by the time this occurred, the release of the basic hardware had been delayed for months. Even the most optimistic of prognosticators didn't expect the reception it received: In the next four years, more than 15 million DVD players would make their way into American homes, with 9 million players just in 2000, according to the DVD Entertainment Group, an industry trade association made up of hardware manufacturers, film studios and music companies. In contrast, only 5 million CD players were sold over a similar period after that device was introduced. This year the trade group forecasts sales of about 13 million players of various sizes and shapes. And Cahners In-Stat Group, a digital communications research firm, predicts that by 2004, annual DVD player sales in the United States will equal the number of VCRs sold in 2000: about 37 million. Meanwhile, about 182 million DVD movies were jammed through the retail pipeline last year, with sales propelled by such titles as "The Perfect Storm" and "Gladiator." By the end of this year, more than 10,000 titles will be on sale and for rent. And because there's no competing technology at the moment, industry experts suggest the likely prospect is that DVD, as a platform, will rapidly evolve, spawning a whole litter of sons of DVD. At the nation's annual consumer electronics show in January, a raft of so-called combi-players—which integrate DVD capability into the TV set itself—were shown, as well as DVD mini-systems, which usually include the player and five or six speakers designed to show off a six-channel Dolby Digital soundtrack incorporated into most DVDs. And more DVD-based products are poised to enter the market stream. DVD recorders, for example, will arrive en masse later this year. Although they might not be the final nails in the coffin of the videocassette recorder—a remarkable product itself, and one that continues to force retailers to make shelf space for it—DVD recorders will become a better way to time-shift programming. Two new video-recording formats—DVD-R and DVD+RW—are expected to duke it out for supremacy in that critical market. Mike Fidler, senior vice president for DVD marketing at Sony Electronics, says Sony is hedging its bets in the recording phase of the DVD rollout, aiming to produce a box next year that will accommodate both formats "and give the most flexibility. "But there's no rush right now," he said. "Most recorders are in excess of $2,000, and the blank media is $25." Portable DVD players are flooding the consumer electronics market, maturing with larger, sharper liquid crystal display screens and longer battery life. Many laptop and notebook PCs, including Sony's Vaio line and Apple's new PowerBook and its iBook pair, boast inclusion of a DVD-ROM drive, which makes them mini-movie theaters and video editors when they're not doubling as business tools. Video game systems, long dominated by software that came in cartridges, also have become DVD-based: Sony's hard-to-get PlayStation2 and the Xbox being developed by Microsoft both use this technology to allow their console systems to double as a movie player. Relatively new on the market, but a potentially important component in the still-young life cycle of DVD, is DVD-Audio, an advanced, multichannel audio system that borrows on the "surround-sound" technology employed in most movie DVDs. For 2001 and beyond, there are spinoffs galore planned for the DVD: Machines with progressive-scan outputs that can dish out a superior image on the few TV sets that can accommodate them; conversion to the upcoming MPEG4 compression system (which dramatically reduces the amount of storage space needed by compressing video data) from the older MPEG2; and the likelihood, well into the future, of "high-resolution" DVD hardware and software to take advantage of high-definition video equipment. "Right now, particularly with all the successes of DVD, there's no rational need to develop a next generation," said Sony's Fidler. "HDTV still has a small and slow growth pattern, and it will take quite a while to emerge." Here's a closer look at some special current and future DVD-based products: Portables: Although portable DVD players with built-in LCD screens are terrific fun, they're not terribly practical—the image washes out in bright light, battery life is limited and you wouldn't want to drop a delicate $1,500 machine into the sand at the beach. Most new computer notebooks, following the lead of Apple and Sony, incorporate DVD drives and feature larger screens that are easier to watch than those on dedicated DVD portables. But for an indulgence, a take-along movie player from Sharp or Pioneer or Aiwa rates a high "gotta have" ranking. Toshiba has pushed the portable envelope the furthest so far, offering the sub-$1,000 (at discount) SDP-1000, which puts out a glorious picture thanks to a technology called progressive scan. The outlook: lower prices, more variety, less cache. DVD recorders: With three formats up for grabs, expect consumer confusion (and, understandably, reluctance to buy) until the category shakes down. The DVD-RAM system is the least promising recording method for consumer use, because discs made on a DVD-RAM machine can't be played on everyday DVD decks. "DVD dash R" (DVD-R/RW) and "DVD plus RW" (DVD+RW) output discs are compatible with most DVD players. These methods have technological differences but essentially do the same thing. Pioneer, promoting the "dash" system, is preparing to ship recordable drives for computer applications. Apple, in fact, is including one of Pioneer's "super drives"—which records audio and video data—in its high-end desktop. Philips, championing the "plus" campaign, is expected to release the DVDR1000 video recorder in late summer. The Philips deck will record up to two hours of best-quality content on a single blank DVD+RW disc and up to four hours in VHS quality. The outlook: confusion and high prices through this year, and a boom in sales when the dust settles. Eventually, look for DVD recorders to eclipse VCRs. Home players: There are dozens, and prices start below $200 for off-brand models. (We'd suggest sticking to brand-name players that can be had for about $200.) Every DVD player will accommodate compact discs, and more and more decode the sound-effects technologies of Dolby Digital and DTS. And most manufacturers offer DVD changers that hold five (or more) discs. The outlook: Prices probably will remain consistent throughout the year, but look for more "value-added" features at lower costs as the DVD machine matures to become, like the VCR and CD player, a mass-market "appliance." DVD-Audio: DVD-A (for audio) delivers up to six channels of music and high-resolution stereo that produces fidelity superior to current CD music. A major selling point is that DVD-A discs can play on existing DVD video players, and some new DVD-A "combi" decks play videos as well. The outlook: no takeoff for DVD-Audio until hardware prices drop and sufficient (and desirable) software is on the shelves. --part1_28.12618c18.27de85b5_boundary--