DVD players now more common in U.S. households than VCRs

New York (NY) - After having been the symbol for home video entertainment for more than 40 years, the U.S. market penetration das dipped below the penetration of DVD players for the very first time. Nielsen Media Research reports that 81.2% of U.S. households owned a DVD player in Q3 of this year, while 79.2% are still using video recorders.

High-definition may have begun to emerge as the cutting edge technology in home video and audio in 2006, but Nielsen new study shows that a significant portion of U.S. households is still in the process of dumping their VCR in favor of a standard definition DVD player. The firm found that market penetration of DVD players jumped by about 6% between Q3 2005 and Q3 2006, marking the first time that there are more households with DVD players than with VCRs.

The history of VCRs can be traced back half a century to the Ampex VRX-1000, which was released in 1956. This device, however, carried a price tag of $50,000, according to Wikipedia, and was more expensive than the average house at the time. More affordable devices came about a decade later and a broad adoption followed with the Betamax vs. VHS battle that began in the mid-1970s and lasted into the 1980s.

The first DVD players appeared shortly after the finalization of the DVD standard in September 1996 - and market researchers expect the format to stay with us for another few years. Kagan Research recently said that it expects high-def media to surpass DVD media sales not before 2012. These numbers suggest that we could see a similar growth phase as we did with DVD players. Nielsen said that DVD players had a market penetration of only 6.7% three years after their introduction in 1999, while VCRs held about 88.6% at the time.

Nielsen's study also includes a few other noteworthy numbers about electronic devices in U.S. households. For example, 73.4% of U.S. homes currently have a computer, with homes with an income over $60K being 50% more likely to own a home computer than homes with an income below $60K. Internet access is now present in 68.5% of U.S. households.

95.4% of consumers with Internet access now go online at least once a week and 37.3% of Internet users go online more than once a day. 78.2% of online users have made purchases over the Internet. 46.8% of online users (ages 12 and above) have used the Internet to download and play music from the Internet.

26.7% of U.S. homes own or rent an MP3 player. The percentage of homes owning an MP3 player has risen by 149.5% since Q3 2003, Nielsen said.

75.2% of U.S. households own at least one cellphone.