DVD still an unknown

Only 28 percent of respondents were familiar with DVD, a high-capacity storage technology, according to a survey of 1,900 U.S. households.

2 min read
DVD, or digital versatile disc, doesn't ring a bell yet with consumers, according to a new survey from Yankee Group.

Only 28 percent of respondents were familiar with DVD technology, the Yankee Group found in a poll of 1,900 U.S. households. DVD, a storage technology that can hold up to 4.7GB of data, is used for the playback of high-quality audio and video.

Of those who are aware of DVD technology, approximately 13 percent are either "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to purchase a DVD player within the next year. The study points to a significant lack of interest in DVD outside of the computer industry, something that needs to be addressed by marketing from hardware and software firms, according to the Yankee Group.

DVD players were first launched in the Japanese market in November 1996 but only started to appear in U.S. retail stores at the end of January 1997. Slow consumer response has led manufacturers declare that production of DVD players will fall short of initial manufacturer expectations.

However, one of the major companies pushing development of the technology, Toshiba, says it expects shipments to double in 1998-99.

The study appears to confirm earlier findings by Forrester Research, which claimed that DVD technology will make its first significant inroads in the PC industry and not in the consumer electronics industry. While Forrester predicts an installed base of 53 million DVD drives in PCs by the year 2002, only 5.2 percent of households in the U.S. will own a standalone (non-PC) DVD-Video player and only 2 percent will have a DVD-Audio player.

For those who are aware of the technology but aren't purchasing, the lack of recording capability is one reason that DVD Video has not become the must-have replacement for a VCR. Several varieties of recordable DVD are in the works, but industry analysts expect it will be several years before the technology is adopted in the mass markets.