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Molly Olsen
05/28/97 10:30 AM
 
Leo Enticknap wrote:
 
>> Why manufacture a movie on laserdisc for a
>> few people *and* DVD for the masses when the quality is at least as good
on > DVD?  As a >>cinemaphile, why collect laserdiscs and not DVDs, when
the DVD
>> has more information (multiple aspect ratios, guided tours from the
>> director, subtitling or dubbing, etc.) and as-good-or-better image
quality?
>
>All this depends on whether "the masses" actually go out and buy DVD
players.
 
In the U.S., DVD set-top boxes are not widely available yet, but computers
featuring DVD-ROM drives (which will also play movies) are shipping to the
"early adopter" market at prices as low as $2,000 (about the same as other
mid-level consumer PCs).  Movies on DVD are now costing less than CD-ROM
games, and some movies are being bundled with the hardware, both of which
should spur the market for buying movies to play on your computer (and on
your TV, if you hook up a cable).
 
Eventually DVD-ROM will take over from CD-ROM in PCs -- and because those
drives also play DVD movies, a certain market for those is virtually
guaranteed.  I do think the drives will take off much faster than the
set-top boxes, though, for the reasons you mentioned -- there are far fewer
"early adopters" of video entertainment hardware than computer hardware.
 
DVDs can also play music, lots and lots of it...I wonder how this will
affect the audio CD market eventually?  Bill Gates and others have
envisioned one entertainment system that supplies your video, audio, and
computer entertainment via DVD-ROM (or some other medium yet to be
developed), and that technology is available today.  It would mean major
lifestyle changes for users, though.
 
>Basically, what I was trying to say was that, although laserdiscs have a
small market, it is an >established and, within its limits, economically
viable one.
 
It's only viable as long as film distributors continue to release titles on
laserdisc.  I doubt they make money on laserdisc releases as it is -- the
cost of goods is high, and the market is small.  But it's the medium for
collectors, and they want their films to be thought of as worth archiving.
However, the collectors are likely to move to DVD so they can get the
additional material DVD affords over laserdisc, and the film distributors
will either lead or follow them, but both will get there, probably sooner
than in similar shifts in the past (they are getting quicker all the time).
 
Molly Olsen
Producer
Discovery Channel Multimedia
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