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Tuesday, November 19, 2002
RDVDC ISV meeting speakers credit home video for driving recordable DVD market

Nearly 100 executives from system, software and solution firms nodded in agreement at the RDVDC Independent Software Vendors (ISV) meeting today as they heard industry leaders explain that the demand for Forum-approved Recordable DVD products is being driven by the burgeoning home video market. The media that people are using most to record personal videos and photo albums was discussed by Dr. Shyhyeu Wang, Director of Ritek Corporation's R & D Division.

The RDVDC, a coalition of nearly 100 leading DVD technology developers and users, held the information exchange at the Las Vegas Convention Center the day before the opening of COMDEX 2002. The half-day meeting included technology discussions on all of the DVD Forum Recordable DVD formats - DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, and applications for consumers and businesses that ranged from A/V entertainment to computer data.

Emphasizing that media will play a key roll in influencing the outcome of the format competition, Dr. Wang noted that numbers can tell us many things; and that perhaps, they're even telling us that consumers have already made their choice in formats.

According to research by Fujiwara-Rothchild, a leading research firm that focuses on the worldwide optical disk storage market, write-once DVD media production grew from a little over 13 million discs in 2001 to nearly 103 million in 2002.

Using charts that showed a quarterly breakdown by formats, Wang pointed out that projected annual total for DVD-R media will be about 89,980,000, compared to 12,970,000 for the proprietary format. "In the rewriteable arena, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM production accounts for nearly 75 percent of all the media produced, and the proprietary format has the remaining 25 percent."

Wang attributes the higher production numbers for the DVD Forum rewriteable formats to the high volume of sales from the Japan recorder market. "Overall, there are more media manufacturers producing Forum-approved DVD recordable media," explained Wang. "More producers means there's more competition and media prices are now so low that late arrivals like the proprietary format cannot catch up. Because low-cost DVD-R discs will continue to spur increased consumption, manufacturing costs will decrease and the price difference between DVD-R, and all of the other DVD formats will be even greater, Wang predicted.

Wolfgang Schlichting, research manager for IDC's Optical Removable Storage Program, agreed that home video is the primary driver of recordable DVD adoption but added that right now, consumers are mainly interested in DVD technology as a replacement for their VCRs. "Almost all users understand the concept of DVD recording. However, most associate it with a VCR, rather than a CD-RW usage pattern," he said.

"The figures illustrate the fact that hardware and software vendors need to educate consumers about the benefits of using PCs for recording DVDs over stand-alone recorders, Schlichting emphasized. "They provide much more flexibility in terms of recording options, and are much cheaper if the user already owns a PC that can handle the demands of DVD drives."

Stand-alone DVD recorders cost under $700 today, while PC-attached recordable DVD drives are available for less than $300.

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