Priming the DVD-Audio Pump

It might stand to reason that the first market for DVD-Audio discs will likely be consumers who already own DVD-Video machines. It also stands to reason that a large number of consumers who have set up a DVD-Video player in their systems have also added surround-sound speakers in their audio/video rooms, and are looking for new software to take advantage of the extra channels.

Most DVD-V players sold today have built-in DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding along with multichannel audio outputs, which music companies can take advantage of by encoding either format on the DVD-Audio disc along with the higher resolution tracks. Then, consumers who buy new DVD-Video players that have DVD-Audio decoding built in can upgrade their listening experience without having to purchase the title again. Once they have a few Dolby digital/DVD-Audio hybrid discs on their shelves, they may even want to buy a new DVD-A enhanced machine.

But how do you get them hooked on the DVD-Audio idea in the first place? In a trick as old as the first ancient marketplace, Image Entertainment is going to give away the first ones for free. On August 28, Image will be releasing Randy Travis Live: It Was Just a Matter of Time on DVD, videocassette, compact disc, and audio cassette. And, the company adds, a DVD-Audio disc will be packaged free of charge with the regular DVD release of the concert.

Image says that the free DVD-Audio disc will be included with the first-pressing run of the DVD and will feature high-resolution stereo, high-resolution six-channel surround, and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. The CD of the same music will retail for $18 while the DVD-V plus DVD-A discs will cost only $7 more at $25. Image adds that both formats will be available on the same date and will include the same 25 songs, which were recorded live on December 14, 2000 at the Sun Theater in Anaheim, CA.

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