Bell tolls for CD-ROM: Report

According to industry analyst Datamonitor, DVD will be the next-generation successor to CD technology within the next 4 years.

By the year 2002, 78% of all software units shipped will be in DVD-ROM format with the remaining 22% on CD-ROMs. Currently, Datamonitor says there are a "negligible" number of software titles on DVD ROM with a predicted rise to 12 percent by the end of 1999. The main factor behind the success of DVD will, says the report, be a high rate of popularity in homes, particularly multimedia titles. The research firm also expects that by 1999 DVD-ROM drives will be standard with all PCs and points to firms like Compaq and Gateway, which provide DVD drives on G6 and Presario models respectively.

Of the 91m consumer software units predicted to ship in 2002, Datamonitor expects 71m to be DVD-ROM. A Datamonitor spokesman acknowledged that the adoption of DVD, which became a standard in 1995, will rise sharply over the next two years as people become more familiar with the format.

Sales of DVD-ROM, say Datamonitor, are expected to rise from 18m units in 1997 to 71m in the year 2002, an increase of 53m units over the period at the expense of CD-ROM - expected to drop from 36m units in 1997 to 20m in 2002, a decrease of 16m.

Software houses like Dorling Kindersley and Broderbund plan to launch hit software titles on DVD-ROM by year end starting in the US and then moving to Europe. But software isn't the only media looking forward to good times on DVD-ROM: Warner Home Video has put its weight behind the format with the release of 25 new film titles due to arrive on September 25. A spokesperson for the company reckons DVD's status is about to change from esoteric technology format to burgeoning entertainment standard. "DVD is doing well, very well and Warner Home Video believes it is on the verge of a very bright future."