Who Invented the DVD Player

The question of who invented the DVD player isn't a simple one. You can't trace the DVD player back to a single source; it's the combined product of several companies, individuals and events.

DVD was almost another format war.
The idea of the DVD format began with the CD. As early as 1993, companies were working on a CD format that could hold more data, referred to as a "high density CD." Over time, the high-density CD formats evolved into two competing standards: MMCD and SD.

As with previous format developments, different companies lined up behind each of the competing formats. Sony, Philips and other corporations backed the MMCD format, while Toshiba, Time Warner, Matsushita and other companies backed SD. IBM led a group of computer companies that lobbied for a single format, and the DVD format was standardized in 1995.

DVD evolved out of a consortium of powerful companies.
The DVD format evolved out of a consortium of 10 powerful companies: Sony, Thomson, Time Warner, Toshiba, Pioneer, Philips, Mitsubishi, Matsushita, Hitachi and JVC. Many smaller companies contributed to the DVD Consortium in the form of working groups. The DVD Consortium was replaced by the DVD Forum in 1997, and hundreds of companies are now members of the DVD Forum. The DVD logo was originally trademarked by Time Warner, but now belongs to the DVD Format/Logo Licensing Corporation. No one "owns" the DVD format.

Who invented the DVD Player?
To settle the question once and for all, when it was created, DVD stood for "Digital Versatile Disc." DVD was originally developed as a computer data format; not as a media storage device. However, few computer applications required the storage available on a DVD, so video became the logical application. It was only after many manufacturers began using DVD for video that DVD took on the meaning of "Digital Video Disc" to many non-industry companies and consumers.

DVD players follow DVD specifications.
While DVD players vary depending on manufacturer and specific features, they follow the basic DVD specifications laid out by the DVD Consortium and maintained by the DVD Forum. DVD player manufacturers must buy a copy of the specifications and pay to license their product for distribution as a DVD device. However, by utilizing these specifications, DVD player manufacturers confirm that their devices meet DVD standards.

The first DVD players became public in 1997.
Toshiba was the first manufacturer to release a DVD player to the public in the United States in 1997 for nearly $1,000, while the first DVD player was available to the public in Japan in November of 1996. Sony released a DVD player shortly thereafter, opening the DVD player floodgates. Today you can get a variety of DVD players from different manufacturers, some as low as $35. High-end models with digital decoding and advanced sound options are still more expensive, but the DVD player is quite possibly the most affordable video device in the history of electronics.

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