Consumers snapped up 3 million DVD players last year and took 1.1 million home in December alone, according to retail market tracking service NPD Intelect, which estimates that at year-end DVD players were in 4 million U.S. households.
Consumers, NPD estimates, will buy 8 million DVD players this year, the third DVD has been on the market. It took VCRs nine years from the first year of general availability in 1975 to reach that same annual sales level.
NPD's outlook for this year's sales is far more optimistic than that of the industry. At CES, CEA issued a consensus industry forecast calling for DVD player sales to dealers of just 6.59 million. Dealers bought 4.07 million players last year.
NPD says the success of DVD is traceable in part to the fact that buyers are mainstream consumers seeking higher-quality home entertainment, rather than just early adopters and hobbyists who need the latest thing for their expensive home theater systems.
The research firm also notes that most video software retailers have added DVD sales and rentals, and that some software titles are now being made available on DVD before the VHS version comes out.