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DVD Not Among Players At German CeBit

At the CeBit computer confab, differing strategies in the big battle for the future of the CD – at least on the European front – are beginning to emerge.

While CeBIT will not be the site of the eagerly awaited big punch-up between Philips/Sony and Toshiba/Time Warner, it will at least show how the fight will develop.

Toshiba has decided not to show its Digital Video Disc (DVD) at CeBIT because the company believes the show focuses too heavily on computers – a market Toshiba dismisses in its attempt to get DVD adopted.

Unlike Philips and Sony, Toshiba is concentrating exclusively on the market for movies on disk. It says that CeBIT is inappropriate for its product and it will instead unveil DVD at the Berlin IFA consumer electronics show in August.

However, Toshiba also admits that the specifications for DVD are not yet complete. “Equipment is being finalized. Standards will only be sorted out at the end of the month, so, even if we wanted to, we could not show the final version,” said a Toshiba Germany spokesman.

Unlike Toshiba, Philips sees the computer market as an important springboard for its CD technology. “We see our High Density CD (Philips’ term for DVD) technology being used in many different fields, not just the movie business,” said a Philips representative.

However, Sony and Philips face an equipment problem. Their prototype HDCD player was on exhibit last week at the Intl. Tape Assn. show in the U.S., and was therefore unavailable for display at CeBit. The Tape Assn. show attracts many CD replication companies, and Philips/Sony decided their limited resources were best deployed there.

Philips staffers are disappointed at their low profile presence at CeBIT. Some even made a last minute pitch at a meeting in California two weeks ago to have the equipment brought over for the start of CeBIT, but to no avail. As a result, Philips says the machine will not be at CeBIT until March 13, and then only in a back room.

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