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DVD set to boom but is not without its challengers

DVD is booming but so too is broadband and video-on-demand

At the DVD Summit in Dublin Monday, speakers took turns to reiterate the phenomenal growth of the medium and, against a backdrop of threats in the guise of piracy, broadband and video-on-demand (VoD), predicted a boom with the advent of Sony's Playstation 2 gaming console and a raft of set top boxes that will have hybrid DVD functionality.

By 2003, one analyst firm predicts the total number of European DVD Video households could reach over 42 million. However, the rise and rise of DVD video is not without its challengers according to speakers at the summit. Spearheading the challenge to DVD is the Internet and online services with video-on-demand representing the most significant challenge. Although it is still some years away, VoD will provide users with instant access to vast libraries of movies for rental.

Editor of industry newsletter DVD Intelligence, Jean Luc Renaud accepts that VoD may seem like the answer to all our entertainment needs, but claims it has a long way to go to challenge DVD. "Just think about sound quality," he says. "To offer anything near the sound quality you'd expect from DVD, VoD has much to do."

Ben Keen, director of ScreenDigest, agrees and maintains that consumers, regardless of advances in Internet technology, will still want something tangible. "People do want the flexibility of something like VoD, but they also want to collect, to archive their favourite films and so on. That will be the role that DVD takes on as we move forward."

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