DVD Player Growth Should Continue For U.S. Market

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According to Ken Kuno, director of Matsushita's DVD Media Division, a unit of the AVC Company based in Osaka, Japan, Titanic should help DVD player sales go through the roof even more than they are expected to this fall.

Kuno told U.S. journalists at a press briefing that Titanic will be one of 6,000 individual DVD titles available in the U.S. by the end of the year. According to Matsushita research, 69% of all U.S. titles are movies, 11% music, and 20% are labeled "other."

In keeping with the company line of a "DVD World," the Matsushita executive said the format will "steadily replace CD in audio, video and PCs" and is the "new packaged media that will stand up to the demands of the 21st century. Sales are far better for DVD than any packaged media of the past."

Matsushita projects that North American (U.S. and Canadian) sales of DVD players will reach 4 million during 1999 and 6.7 million by 2000. However, Kuno noted, "DVD player prices have fallen much more quickly than CD audio [hardware] when it was introduced in 1983."

He also voiced concern about the differences between Panasonic, Philips and Pioneer on recordable DVD and said, "There should be one single platform. That is the most important issue to make DVD the standard for the future."

In what he said can only be called "future developments," Kuno acknowledged that research on blue laser for DVD continues, and by 2002 or so high-definition DVD will be available.

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