No DVD for Xmas

No DVD for Xmas
Svetlana Josifovska reports from Berlin on the products featured at Europe’s largest consumer electronics show, Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA)DVD Video players and software are not going to be launched in Europe in time for Christmas. This is despite the commitment shown to the product by the major consumer electronics makers and Hollywood studios. At IFA, 14 hardware companies and movie moguls confirmed a DVD Video launch for spring 1998. “It has been a long hard run to plough. We have fully agreed on a single standard and [will be] rolling all this rich content in the first quarter of 1998,” said Doug Dunn, Philips’ Video and Sound chairman and CEO. “This product will transform the consumer market which has been pretty flat at $75bn per year for years” Despite the importance of DVD as a consumer product, only a limited number of titles will be released by the time of its planned launch next year. Some industry watchers believe the DVD Video market will not take off before 1999. However, other problems have been linked with the delayed launch, including the copying of DVD content onto analogue formats such as VHS tapes. “There was a delay introduced by the MacroVision copyright protection mechanism used in DVDs which affected the picture quality. Now they are pursuing a better standard,” said Ralf Jakobitz, technical support for Pioneer Germany. At IFA the companies confirmed the acceptance of MPEG-2 audio decoding for Europe. However, Panasonic and Thomson have already been shipping players with Dolby Digital (AC-3) which are incompatible with MPEG-2. “You can play both discs on our equipment but the multi-channel capability will be affected” said one Matsushita spokesman.


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