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A race to deliver in DVD-ROM market.

SAN FRANCISCO -- As the dawn of the digital video disk (DVD) age draws near, computer companies ranging from multimedia graphics specialists to software publishers are working with PC manufacturers to deliver DVD-ROM solutions for first-quarter 1997.

Diamond Multimedia, Creative Labs and Multicom Publishing are among the early players jockeying for position in the start-up DVD-ROM market.

Diamond Multimedia is working with the disk products division of Toshiba America Information Systems to bundle DVD-ROMs with Diamond's multimedia kits for the commercial distribution and retail channels.

Diamond expects its first retail products to reach store shelves by early 1997. It showcased the products for the first time at Comdex last week.

Creative Labs, provider of Muiltimedia products for PCs, demonstrated a new line of DVD solutions for the PC consumer at Comdex.

The solutions, actually kits, will include a DVD-ROM drive, AC3 audio card, an MPEG-2 video card and bundled software.

The kits are priced starting at $499, and will begin shipping in the first quarter of 1997.

"DVD is opening up tremendous opportunities for title developers, multimedia vendors and content providers to deliver an exciting new entertainment medium for PCs," said Sim Wong Hoo, chairman and CEO of Creative Technology, the Singapore-based parent company of Milpitas, Cal.-based Creative Labs.

Sim said Creative Labs is well positioned to deliver consumer-based DVD solutions for those who are looking to combine consumer electronics functionality with their PCs.

Creative has been a leader in the multimedia upgrade kit market and plans to expand its position and offerings into the DVD market.

Joining the DVD fray on the software side is Multicom Publishing, which disclosed plans to release five branded DVD-ROM titles.

Four of these titles are based on Multicom's best-selling CD-ROMs while the fifth title is a new product release. The DVD-ROM's increased capacity enables Multicom to include such enhancements as full-screen MPEG-2 video, additional video content and stereo AC-3 quality audio.

Tamara Attard, chief executive of Multicom Publishing, said "DVD-ROM enhancements are perfectly suited to make our home and family products even more attractive to consumers."

The DVD-ROM titles that Multicom expects to release during this year's fourth quarter through the second quarter of '97 are: Home Depot's Home Improvement 1-2-3, the leading home repair and improvement CD-ROM; Warren Miller's Ski World '97, the leading ski-related multimedia product created with ski-industry guru Warren Miller; Exploring National Parks, a vacation planning and educational tool; Great Chefs, Great Cities, a multimedia culinary-themed tour through the kitchens of great chefs across the United States; and Better Homes & Gardens Cool Crafts, which brings kids and parents hours of creative expression using low-tech materials such as paper, string, paste and crayons.

The market research firm Access Media International projects the majority of DVD-ROM hardware sales will come from upgrade kits through mid-1997, with sales estimated at $3.7 million in '96 and growing to $194 million in 1997. By the year 2000, AMI predicts DVD-ROM hardware sales will reach $1.28 billion with an installed base of 7 million units.

Another research report, this from SIMBA Information Inc., said DVD-ROM software could generate revenue of $100 million annually by 1999 and will begin to take revenue away from CD-ROM in '97. It published a report in which it projected sales of DVD-ROM software would reach $35 million in '97, $75 million in '98 and $100 million by '99.
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Title Annotation:digital video disk
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Nov 25, 1996
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