Rocketing DVD sales indicate demise of the video

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DVD players have become the fastest-selling new entertainment hardware, eclipsing the phenomenal rise of compact discs and video recorders.

DVD players have become the fastest-selling new entertainment hardware, eclipsing the phenomenal rise of compact discs and video recorders.

Almost three million have been sold in Britain in the past three years, a level CD and video players took twice as long to achieve.

Sales of DVD players, whose images have a cinema-like quality, are expected to double again next year, with recordable players introduced this autumn also expected to make a showing despite costing £1,000.

DVDs – digital versatile discs – were introduced to Britain in 1998, but took off as a consumer entertainment product this year, when two million players have been sold and the price halved to about £180. Today they can be bought in supermarkets for £100.

The typical owner is male, single and subscribes to film channels. A quarter of wide-screen television owners also have a DVD player. A growing number use devices called "hacks" to make their machines play discs from abroad – meaning they can get discs from America shortly after films are released in Britain.

"You can't sell people something that they don't want," said Chris Jenkins, the editor of Total DVD magazine. "The DVD is basically offering the equivalent of the cinema experience in your own home. The VHS video recorder is 20 years old and looking pretty lame."

But Lavinia Carey, the director general of the British Video Association, said the video recorder still had plenty of life left in it. "Yes, three million DVD players were sold – but four million VHS players got sold too," she said.

Ninety per cent of households have a video recorder. By contrast, one in 10 households has a DVD player.

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