DVD-Video Gains Momentum

With enthusiastic backing from the movie industry, DVD-Video is beginning a strong climb to widespread popularity. More than 3000 titles could be available by the end of 1998, which is four times the number available in 1997, the format's first year.

In addition, sales of DVD players are taking off. Research firm InfoTech predicts that 1.2 million machines will be sold this year---an increase of 140% over last year---and that 6.5 million DVD-ROM drives will find owners as well.

Declining hardware prices, attributable in part to the Asian economic crisis, are aiding DVD's rapid growth. Entry-level DVD players can be found below the $400 retail mark. DVD-ROM drives are available to PC makers at less than $100 each and should appear in many mid-priced computers this year.

"All the required elements for success---competitive pricing, title availability, advertising, and distribution---are being put into place," according to InfoTech CEO Julie B. Schwein. "Companies that invest now should be well-positioned to reap the rewards in 1999 and beyond," she says. Infotech projects an installed base of 70 million DVD-ROM drives within 18 months. As the format gains popularity, the company further predicts that DVD-ROM drives will also appear in many video-game consoles and TV set-top boxes.