Ed Driscoll


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DVD! According to Bill Hunt of the The Digital Bits, “today marks the 5th anniversary of the debut of our favorite format into its initial test markets.”

On this day, 5 years ago, I high-tailed it out to my local Good Guys and bought a Toshiba SD-3006 DVD player and three DVDs – Blade Runner, Dr. Strangelove and Legends of the Fall. And I watched them each about a dozen times that first week. Back then, there were only about 20 titles available and just a few thousand players were sold in the first week. Now look at us… more than 15,000 titles and over 28 million players later. DVD… you’ve come a long way baby!

Hunt wants the early adopters of DVD (from March and April of 1997) to email him with their stories. I guess I don’t qualify, because I bought my player in January of 1998. On the other hand, I had a laser disc player since 1988. As I wrote in my Spintech essay on Citizen Kane, it’s really pretty astonishing to see beautiful, crystal clear DVDs selling for $24.95 (and often less)–I can remember buying numerous titles on laser disc at prices ranging from $49.95 to $124.95. And I had to drive 30 miles to Philadelphia or Trenton to find ’em. Today, I can buy DVDs in my supermarket! Nice to see a technology succeed.