Analysts fear that OEM’s inability to agree on a standard for rewritable video format will continue to slow development of home DVD recorders. The three major standards, DVD-RAM, DVD-RW and DVD+RW, all have powerful backers though some believe DVD-RW may be gaining marginally on the competition. The prospects of merging standards may not even be technically possible and the increased cost of building devices that support two standards could discourage consumer uptake of the technology that is widely presumed to be VHS’s replacement technology.
In the meantime, JVC has introduced Digital VHS (D-VHS) tape technology which sidesteps many copy-protection issues by storing data in uncompressed format. A technique for preventing copying from deck to deck also seems reliable, attracting the support of Hollywood players like Fox Home Video, Universal Pictures and New Line Cinema. The quality of the stored content is at least as good as DVD formats and is completely backwards compatible with the ubiquitous VHS tape. JVC beat Sony in the format wars of the early 1980s and hopes that the high cost of its products will not prevent its spread. The first JVC D-VHS deck, available Q2, will sell for about $2,000 and must be used with TVs that will be, initially at least, even more expensive.