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HD DVD Group Projects 1.8M Player Sales

LAS VEGAS — The HD DVD Promotions Group welcomed four new HD DVD manufacturers, including Onkyo and Meridian, at a press reception here Sunday night, and issued a “minimum target” of 1.8 million HD DVD player sales in the United States in 2007.

During a press conference for the HD DVD format, group members said high performance audio/video equipment manufacturers Onkyo, and Meridian have announced plans to manufacture HD DVD products, as did Chinese manufacturers Alco (Venturer) and Shinco.

Meanwhile, mobile audio equipment manufacturer Alpine is demonstrating an HD DVD player for automobile applications.

Yoshihide Fujii, Toshiba Digital Media Network CEO and chairman of the International HD DVD Promotion Group, said, “If our resolution for 2006 was to bring HD DVD to the early adopter, then our resolution for 2007 is to bring it to the early majority.”

HD DVD studios are forecasting $600 million in HD DVD revenue this year.

By the end of this year almost 50 million HDTVs will be installed in consumers’ homes, Fujii said, and 10 percent of that total is “a reasonable forecast for the size of next-generation DVDs,” Fujii said, adding that sales of 1.8 million unit sales in the U.S. market this year is a “minimum target.”

Movie studios supporting HD DVD, meanwhile, announced plans to deliver over 300 new HD DVD titles into the market this year, including a growing percentage of hybrid HD DVD/standard DVD discs.

Promotion Group representatives said HD DVD continues to have the only such hybrid discs, and that they view the technology as important to ease the transition to HD DVD adoption.

Meanwhile, Fujii said Toshiba has confirmed “the feasibility of a 51GB triple-layer HD DVD disc,” and plans to have the technology standardized by the DVD Forum in the fourth quarter of this year.