Heavyweights back DVD, ink deal

Three industry heavyweights, Warner Home Video, Toshiba and Blockbuster reckon Christmas 1999 will launch DVD into the mainstream and have teamed up to offer a promotional deal for first time buyers.

It will include Toshiba's SD2109B DVD player, 3 Warner DVD films -- Lethal Weapon 4, US Marshals and Contact -- along with 10 free DVD rentals from Blockbuster. The deal will be available from 1 October to 31 December for £299.

Bryan Welsh, managing director of online retailer DVDplus, is keen for the online contingent to get a piece of the action. "We're making sure everything is in place for the mad rush that's expected to happen in the next few months. I've heard rumours that hardware manufacturers are expecting to sell an extra 100,000 players in the run up to Christmas," he said.

Welsh welcomed the trio's promotional deal: "Warner has been very active since the dawn of DVD and promotional tie-ups such as this do help to stimulate the market," he said.

Toshiba, a late entrant into the DVD market, is busy ramping up its production to compete with the likes of Panasonic, which already had a heavy presence in the market this time last year.

Blockbuster Video, which has been steadily increasing the number of its stores offering DVD films for rental, is planning to roll out the service to 550 UK stores in the next few weeks.