DVD-Audio is Finally Here

DVD-Audio has been "almost here" for so many months that it seemed almost anticlimactic when the first players finally emerged on dealer shelves this week. Late in May of this year, Panasonic announced (see previous story) that they would be releasing two players, one under the Panasonic banner and the other under the company's Technics brand, in July. It looks as if they've finally made good on their promise.

Several retailers are reporting a trickle of players, with west-coast consumer electronics retailing chain Good Guys announcing last week that Panasonic and Technics DVD-Audio products began selling at all of their locations beginning July 1.

Initially, retailers will sell the Panasonic DVD-A7 and the Technics DVD-A10 DVD-Audio players for $999.95 and $1199.95, respectively. While both players are able to play a wide variety of high-resolution audio formats (up to six channels of up to 24-bit/192kHz audio), the players can also play DVD-Video discs and CDs.

The Good Guys' Cathy A. Stauffer, obviously betting on the video capabilities of the DVD-A players to entice consumers, comments that "DVD-Audio is a clear advancement in home-theater entertainment. The addition of DVD-Audio to our expanding selection of mid- to high-end consumer entertainment electronics will expose our customers to the full range of digital products and provide them with the opportunity to create the ultimate home-theater system using next-generation audio and video technology."

Commenting on the DVD-A rollout, Panasonic's Gene Kelsey adds that "DVD-Audio offers the closest thing to truly pure sound, and, with the support of premier specialty retailers, will set a new global standard for music."