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Monday, December 09, 2002
CD Players losing spark as DVD mania grows


Remember that handy little CD player that helped revolutionize the way Americans listened to music back in the 1980s? Well, it seems to be losing its luster, falling prey to the growing popularity of the DVD player, which now doubles as both a movie and a music disc player.

And if this holiday shopping season is any indication, CD players look set to finish 2002 on the fringes of America's living rooms as retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. intensify the selling of rock-bottom-priced DVD players to further entice shoppers.

"Every DVD player is a CD player, which is why the CD player is becoming less important," said David Schick, an analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. "The CD player market has already become a smaller market."

Last week, among other hot promotions for the official start to the holiday shopping crush, Wal-Mart flaunted a $48 DVD player while Best Buy Co. Inc. -- the No. 1 U.S. specialty consumer electronics merchant -- said it had an even cheaper DVD player at $39. The first electronic device to fall victim to the unceasing DVD rage was the video cassette player.

Analysts and retailers say consumers are also increasingly losing interest on stand-alone home CD players since the equipment makers are now opting to build all-in-one DVD machines to cut costs. Some video gaming machines such as Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 2, can play DVDs as well as compact discs.

Since their introduction in 1983, CD players have stood at the forefront of home entertainment as more and more people embraced the versatility and quality of compact discs over traditional vinyl records.

But with the music industry in the doldrums and Internet piracy seemingly unstoppable, consumers have little reason to continue spending on stand-alone CD players, analysts said.

Even though CD-player prices have been falling just as fast as Hollywood has been churning out its blockbuster movies on DVDs, very little is seen saving the CD player from biting the dust.


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