Consumers are confused by the multiplicity of DVD formats. But that's a temporary impediment to exploding market growth, according to speakers at a three-hour Comdex seminar hosted by the Recordable DVD Council.
Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research called this "the era of digital Darwinism" because most of the products and devices being introduced these days will not survive. That is not entirely a bad thing, he said, since the process would get consumers educated about the possibilities for media in the home.
In the meantime, Peddie said, "current options are too technical and time-consuming to install and configure." He believes there are several forces that will drive the industry to improve, especially gaming and the emerging desire to distribute entertainment throughout the home on a centralized system.
The conclusion of this evolution, according to Peddie, will be "super centers" that manage television, DVDs, music, photographs and all other digital entertainment. As he rhetorically asked, "Do you know anyone who says, 'Gee, if only I could have one more remote'?"
Wolfgang Schlichting, IDC's research manager of removable media, was another speaker at Sunday's seminar. He presented a statistical analysis that determined that the DVD recorder market will grow to almost 90 million units in 2006, 50 million of which would be built in to a computer.
Based on a June survey, IDC found that 8% of respondents planned to buy a DVD burner within six months, with an additional 15% planning to do so within the next year.
Recording and storing home video was the No. 1 reason people wanted these devices, Schlichting said, with recording television programming coming in second. He added that respondents were not very interested in copying commercial DVDs.
Danielle Levitas, director of consumer devices and services at IDC, agreed that DVD recorders would eventually replace VCRs. But she cited content protection, specifically the proposed digital broadcast flag initiatives, as a major inhibitor for consumers.
"We expect fair use to win out," Levitas said.
The Recordable DVD Council has 96 member companies. An entire section of Comdex was designated the Recordable DVD Pavilion, with 32 separate companies exhibiting within it.