The DVD Bootstrap

They say a rising tide lifts all boats. It appears that the popularity of the DVD format is having a tremendous impact on sales of home theater components, according to the latest sales figures released by NPDTechworld.

The statistics reveal that DVD player unit sales increased 68.8% in 2001, compared with sales in 2000. Although that rapid growth rate has slowed, overall unit sales still increased 20.7% during the first five months of 2002, compared with the same period the year prior.

But the most interesting numbers correlate DVD and home theater. Sales of home theater systems with DVD increased 230% in 2001 versus 2000 and more than 987% during the first five months of 2002 compared with the same period in 2001. Televisions 30" and larger have also experienced a steady increase, with unit sales rising 9.4% in 2001 over 2000 and increasing slightly so far this year.

NPDTechworld's Tom Edwards says, "Ten years ago, a 19" television with stereo speakers qualified as a home theater, but today big screens and big sound is the choice. DVD has created an awareness of better picture quality and better audio . . . a true theater experience in your own home."

Not surprisingly, while DVD and home theater components have taken off, videocassette recorders (VCRs) have experienced significant sales declines. VCR unit sales decreased 40.5% over the first five months of 2002, compared to the same period in 2001 according to the study. "The high-quality picture generated by DVD technology has made it the movie player of choice."

Edwards adds, "The VCR is not going to disappear overnight. After twenty-five years of sales, VCRs are in 90% of US homes, and many of those models will be replaced by better-performing, more-affordable components. The VCR is also the home movie player for all those camcorder tapes accumulated over the years."