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Tuesday, November 19, 2002
Recordable DVD market rides unprecedented heat wave led by Panasonic in 2002


The Recordable DVD market experienced a heat wave of its own last summer, as consumers rushed indoors to get their pick of the newest in affordable and cutting-edge Recordable DVD technology. Sales of Recordable DVD players to consumers in the first three quarters of 2002 grew more than 100 fold over the comparable period in the previous year, led by Panasonic, which captured more than 50 percent market share, according to NPDTechworld.

"Consumers are flocking to stores to get their hands on DVD recorders, and when they buy they are buying Panasonic," said Reid Sullivan, vice president of Panasonic's Entertainment Group. "By delivering on our promise of innovation, ease-of-use and versatility, Panasonic's DVD recorders are proving to be the choice for consumers who want to edit home videos and record their favorite TV programs and movies, and store them in the popular DVD format."

The surge of Panasonic share in the market follows the August release of the Panasonic DMR-E30 recordable DVD player, which carries a suggested retail price of $699.95. Panasonic expects the growth trend to continue and even accelerate now that its DMR-HS2 DVD recorder is widely available for $999.95. The DMR-HS2 offers users up to 52 hours of high-quality video on a 40GB hard disc drive and up to 12 hours on a 9.4GB double-sided DVD-RAM disc, or six hours on a DVD-R disc. The DVD-RAM format means superb audio and video quality, fast random access, enormous storage capability, 100,000 times rewritability and the unique ability to play and record simultaneously. A built-in universal PCMCIA card slot is also included in the DMR-HS2 for easy viewing or storing of digital images saved on the SD Memory Card or other popular flash memory cards. And, the unit's DV input can be used to transfer digital images directly from a digital camcorder. Since both the DMR-E30 and the DMR-HS2 also record on the DVD-R disc, which is generally recognized as the most compatible recordable format, they can be played back on most existing DVD players.

"Panasonic's sleek DMR-E30 is already among the hottest sellers at consumer electronics stores during this holiday season," according to Richard Doherty, director of research for the Seaford, Long Island-based Envisioneering Group. "They're going to sell as many of these as they can get off the boats by Dec. 25," he added.

"Consumers understand the value of recording on DVD discs rather than videotape from the standpoint of convenience, instant access, ease-of-use and extended lifetime of the media," added Panasonic's Sullivan. "Panasonic is finding that they appreciate the enhanced time-shifting and on-disc editing capabilities of DVD-RAM technology and the near-universal compatibility of DVD-R media."

The growth in the recordable DVD market is expected to extend to DVD PC drives, which are often called DVD burners. Panasonic is heating up the 2002 holiday season with the December availability of the new multi-format DVD Burner II, a next-generation combination DVD/CD drive that takes the confusion out of buying a Recordable DVD drive. Meeting DVD Multi-specifications, the new DVDBurner II includes read/write support for all Recordable DVD formats approved by the DVD Forum, including DVD-RAM, DVD-R and DVD-RW, and read/write support for CD-R/RW discs.

Panasonic will introduce a number of recordable DVD products at Comdex in Las Vegas next week. The company will demonstrate both DVD recorders and PC drives at the Recordable DVD Council booth, #7064, in the Las Vegas Convention Center.


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