A Third of U.S. Net Users Have Mobile DVDs?

A new study from Ireland’s Research and Markets reports that portable DVD sales volume nearly tripled during 2001 to 2004, and that by the end of 2005, fully one third of the U.S. population who are comfortable with the Internet (and thus technology) may have portable DVD players by the end of 2005.

The results of the study, Portable and Mobile DVD Hardware in the United States, are somewhat surprising, since portable DVD players are such a niche item. The units essentially fulfill one purpose—watching DVD video content on a small, LCD screen—which limits their appeal: the units have very limited interactivity, don’t play video games, act as a PDA or telephone, or offer any sort of Internet connectivity. Thus, buyers of mobile DVD players are traditionally parents and car enthusiasts who frequently drive with passengers.

However, Research and Markets’ study find that consumers are extremely comfortable with mobile DVD technology as DVD players find their ways into ever-increasing numbers of U.S. households. Sales volume of portable DVD players is outpacing value (meaning, the products have reached a functionality plateau where competing units are no longer strongly distinguished by unique features or capabilities), and sales of mobile DVD players from departments stores and mass merchandisers are nearly the same as sales from video and consumer electronics stores.

Nonetheless, Research and Markets concludes that the limitations of portable DVD players mean the devices will reach market saturation before penetration reaches 40 percent of U.S. adults. Although penetration amongst the U.S. population comfortable using the Internet is expected to reach 33 percent by the end of 2005, market saturation among the larger U.S. adult population won’t be reached until 2006 to 2008.

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