If At First You Don't Succeed . . .

When we received notice several days ago from Panasonic that the company was finally releasing its DVD-Audio players next month, we filed the press release for a couple of days to see if it would last the week (see previous story). Apparently, the products are still a go. Panasonic says it will offer a full line of DVD-Audio/Video models under both the Panasonic and Technics brand names, with the first units arriving in stores in July. As previously announced back in August 1999, the Panasonic DVD-A7 will have a suggested retail price of $999.95, and the Technics DVD-A10 will have an SRP of $1199.95.

Remember the "CD-Ready" jargon that was used to sell components and speakers in the '80s? Get ready for "DVD-Audio ready," which is what the company is using to market a line of receivers and speakers being released along with the DVD-Audio players. Panasonic says that a new in-dash mobile DVD-Audio/Video head unit, the CQ-DVR909, will also be available in July, retailing at just under $2000. Unique to this player is a feature that the company calls the "Center Fold"—a fold-out center-channel speaker. And, of course, Panasonic is also introducing "DVD-Audio ready" car speakers at the same time.

Beginning this fall, Panasonic says it will expand its DVD-A line to include a micro component system with DVD-A/V player, along with the introduction of a portable DVD-A/V player for "audiophiles on the go." Pricing and exact availability have yet to be announced.

Panasonic says that it anticipates an "enthusiastic acceptance" for its DVD-Audio products, "based on the capabilities of the new format and the phenomenal success of DVD-Video."