By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Competition from an ever expanding array of portable storage technologies, as well as the format battle that may delay further the proliferation of high-definition video decks, has blank recordable media suppliers refocusing on differentation between existing products.
Double-layer and dual-layer DVD media, for instance, is in growth mode thanks to more compatible camcorder models.
And despite a lack of cooperation between the two HD camps, Blu-ray and HD DVD, suppliers contacted by TWICE in the weeks before International CES were confident that there is enough business to go around in other categories while they wait patiently for one technology to emerge victorious.
"The rumors of the demise of viable, physical blank media has been greatly exaggerated," said Maxell senior VP Don Patrican. "There is a tremendous amount of hardware on the market: DVD camcorders, burners, set-top boxes, PCs with recordable drives, and even the existing installed base of VCRs in some parts of the country provide plenty of opportunities for media suppliers.
While Patrican thinks it is possible for both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats to survive, he sees that as being likely only if "we move toward hardware that plays both. Price will also be a major factor in what format emerges."
Scott Popovich, executive VP for Memorex and Imation, sees a lack of hardware as a problem. "All predictions indicate that sales of Blu-ray and HD DVD products will spike in 2008, but this is predicated on the assumption that hardware becomes widely available in the U.S. and that it becomes affordable. At this point, the lack of hardware and high prices for both formats have trumped the issue of a format war."
Tom Malone , senior VP at Audiovox, sees the consumer suffering the most. "The effect on the overall industry is good and bad. The competition drives companies to create better, more innovative products, and helps keep prices in check. However, it doesn't always benefit the consumer. As history shows, the best technology doesn't always win out."
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.