A step closer to affordable recordable DVD? Pioneer thinks so…

At a recent press conference, Pioneer Electronics announced its forecast for worldwide DVD sales in 2000 had risen to 17 million from its original 11 million forecast and said it expects a quick drop in DVD-RW hardware prices to less than $1,000 in early 2002 in the United States.

Pioneer’s revised DVD sales forecast shows an approximate 143 percent increase in worldwide DVD sales in 2000 from 1999’s 7 million. In 2001, Pioneer expects sales to climb another 53 percent to 26 million.

The 2000 forecast doesn’t include sales of Pioneer’s first U.S.-market DVD-RW recorder because the company has delayed a North American and European introduction until late in the first quarter.

Pioneer’s first U.S.-market DVD-RW recorder is expected to be priced at $2,500. The company’s president, Kaneo Ito, said Pioneer’s DVD-RW hardware pricing will drop rapidly after that due to a digital-technology alliance formed earlier this year by Pioneer and Sharp.

By the end of 2001, the alliance is expected to yield a Japan-market home DVD-RW recorder at 100,000 yen ($900 at the 111-yen exchange rate). The $900 recorder will be available in the United States in the beginning of 2002, Ito said.

DVD-R discs will initially cost $10-$15, with DVD-RW discs at $20-$25, but the price will ‘come down significantly very quickly’ as quantities build, he said, because the manufacturing process is similar to CD and DVD manufacturing.

Although confident that the DVD-RW format will become ‘the de facto standard in DVD recorders,’ Ito nonetheless wouldn’t rule out adoption of the three-format DVD Multi recorders, which would record onto incompatible DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM discs.

‘In theory,’ he said, Pioneer would prefer to avoid a Beta-VHS format battle, but the company is ‘not sure’ it would be a good idea to build such a player because a three-format recorder might boost prices too much. Nonetheless, ‘all doors are open,’ he said.

Leave a comment