NZ DVD market waits for titles

New Zealand vendors seem a little hesitant when it comes to DVD, digital versatile disk, unsure of which way the market will go and what the final format will be. A spokesman for BMG, an Auckland-based importer of audio and video, describes it as a "Catch-22" situation. "No one is selling DVD players because the software isn't available. Nobody's selling the software because the players aren't available." The spokesman believes a player will need to be launched at the same time as a studio's film catalogue on DVD to draw consumers in. Dell Computer says it will offer DVD with its Dimension XPS desktop PCs, and PC Direct says it is selling DVD drives at the rate of about 30 a month, but believes the market has yet to take off.

New Zealand vendors seem a little hesitant when it comes to DVD, digital versatile disk, unsure of which way the market will go and what the final format will be.

A spokesman for BMG, an Auckland-based importer of audio and video, describes it as a “Catch-22” situation. “No one is selling DVD players because the software isn’t available. Nobody’s selling the software because the players aren’t available.”

The spokesman believes a player will need to be launched at the same time as a studio’s film catalogue on DVD to draw consumers in.

Dell Computer says it will offer DVD with its Dimension XPS desktop PCs, and PC Direct says it is selling DVD drives at the rate of about 30 a month, but believes the market has yet to take off.

“We’ve had them for about five months now and the market is slowly growing, but it’s waiting for the titles to come out,” says PC Direct’s Richard Moss.

Allan Morton of Software Images, an Auckland-based producer of digital media, says demand will drive DVD disk capacity up to 50Gb and beyond. DVD disk capacity starts at about 4.5 Gb per side. Morton has a DVD drive in his PC and buys movies from the US.

Morton says “regionalisation” of disk technologies is no longer an issue. “You can buy players in Singapore that will play disks from any zone.” He says vendors in places like Singapore are unwilling to stock multiple versions of the same machine and are forcing manufacturers to deliver multi-zone players.

Availability of movies is not a problem either, he says.

“I talked to some guys back from Japan in November and there are DVD-only stores over there.”

Morton believes the main driving force behind the shift to DVD from both CD and video will be human nature.

“The more space we create, the more we fill it up.”

Morton believes vendors will be quite capable of finding ways to fill the huge disk capacity that will be available on DVD disks. Products such as EyeWitness World Atlas from DK Multimedia offer a map of the earth’s entire surface at 1km intervals.

Local assemblers like PC Direct sell DVD-ROM decoder cards and drive kits for around $1200.

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