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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for July 31, 2002

One-Billionth DVD Shipped in July - The DVD Entertainment Group has announced that the one-billionth DVD disc shipped out this month, coinciding with the celebration of the format's fifth anniversary. DVD has been the most successful launch of a recording/playback format in history; prerecorded videocassettes took nearly ten years to reach the same point. The number of DVD movies and music videos shipped in the first half of this year showed an 80% increase over last year. Over 16,000 titles are currently available and more than 100 new DVDs come out each week. There has also been a 53% increase in DVD players shipped in the last six months over a year ago. The total number of dedicated DVD players out there so far is 40 million; adjusting for those households with more than one player, that means the format is in nearly 30 households. When taking into account the additional DVD playback capabilities in computers and game consoles, it is felt by the end of this year nearly 50% of U.S. Homes will have the format.

Generally Strong Audio Sales Continue - According to figures from the Consumer Electronics Association, manufacturer-to-dealer sales of audio products for May 2002 grew by over 13%. Complete audio and home theater system sales were the front-runners, with aftermarket autosound showing notable growth in spite of the growing number of new autos that come with standard factory-installed CD players. (Indicating that some car buyers are looking for better sound and more options than most built-in units provide.)

XM Satellite Radio Programming Changes - Due to feedback from their estimated 137,000 subscribers, XM Satellite Radio has reshaped the lineup available on their 100 digital channels directed primarily to in-car listening. Both a new Christian music category with two channels and a Playboy Radio channel have been added - the latter carrying an additional $2.99 a month charge. Sonic Theater features audio books and radio dramas, The Village is a celebration of folk music, The System presents an electronica mix, and on RadioClassics subscribers can enjoy the magic and nostalgia of the Golden Age of Network Radio. About half of the 100 channels are free of advertising and the other half are said to carry half the amount of commercials heard on typical commercial radio.

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