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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 13:41 GMT
VHS makes comeback bid
X-Men
2000 film hit X-Men will be available in the new format
The VHS video format is poised to make a comeback - in a new version which provides high definition TV pictures.

In a surprise move, Fox, Universal, DreamWorks and Artisan are to announce the release of a raft of films in the D-VHS format, developed by electronics company JVC.


As far as we're concerned, D-VHS is not a commercial product

Ben Feingold, Columbia TriStar
Independence Day, Die Hard, U-571 and the first two Terminator movies are all set for a high definition D-VHS release in the US in June.

But the move has been greeted with scepticism by some other Hollywood studios, which are backing DVD.

"As far as we're concerned, D-VHS is not a commercial product - the enormous success of DVD leads us to believe, both intuitively and practically, that there's a strong preference for a disc-based product," the Columbia TriStar president Ben Feingold told Variety.

Sales of DVD players and discs have mushroomed in recent years, making it the US's fastest-selling consumer electronics product ever.

Data

But proponents of D-VHS say that it is serving a niche market - and point to what they feel are advantages with the format.

VHS tapes
VHS: An world success, but DVD is catching up
D-VHS can fit more data on to a tape - and it can store high definition TV images, which DVD cannot yet.

High-definition DVD technology is generally agreed to be some years away.

JVC, the original developer of VHS, developed the new format and has also created a copyright protection system which it hopes will protect high definition releases.

Only D-VHS players with this "D-Theater" technology will be able to play the new generation of high definition D-VHS cassettes.

But D-VHS players will be able to play conventional VHS tapes, which the company hopes will make the format more popular with consumers.

The market for high-definition movies is still very small. The number of households with HDTV sets in the U.S. stands at about two million and is projected to reach four million by 2003.

But JVC has said it hopes to sell 100,000 D-VHS players, which currently cost $1,995 (1,400) each, during 2002.

See also:

04 Jan 02 | New Media
DVD sales double in 2001
10 Dec 01 | Business
Demand for DVDs rockets
27 Nov 01 | New Media
Grinch steals DVD sales record
23 Oct 01 | Business
DVDs propel Blockbuster growth
27 Sep 01 | New Media
DVD boom in Europe
25 Sep 01 | New Media
DVD players 'to double' in US homes
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