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A DVD player is a device that plays DVDs produced under both the DVD-Video DVD-ROM and DVD-Audio technical standards, two different and incompatible standards. Some DVD players will also play audio CDs. DVD players are connected to a television to watch the DVD content, which could be a movie, a recorded TV show, or other content.
The first DVD player was created by Sony Corporation in Japan in collaboration with Pacific Digital Company from the United States in 1997. Some manufacturers originally announced that DVD players would be available as early as the middle of 1996. These predictions were too optimistic. Delivery was initially held up for "political" reasons of copy protection demanded by movie studios, but was later delayed by lack of movie titles. The first players appeared in Japan on November 1, 1996, followed by the United States on March 31, 1997, with distribution limited to only seven major cities for the first six months.
Players slowly trickled into other regions around the world. Prices for the first players in 1997 started at $600 and could top out at prices over $1000. By the end of 2000, players were available for under $100 at discount retailers. In 2003 players became available for under $50. Six years after the initial launch, close to one thousand models of DVD players were available from over a hundred consumer electronics manufacturers.
Fujitsu released the first DVD-ROM-equipped computer on November 6 in Great Britain. Toshiba released a DVD-ROM-equipped computer and a DVD-ROM drive in Japan in early 1997 (moved back from December which was moved back from November). DVD-ROM drives from Toshiba, Pioneer, Panasonic, Hitachi, and Sony began appearing in sample quantities as early as January 1997, but none were available before May. The first PC upgrade kits (a combination of DVD-ROM drive and hardware decoder card) became available from Creative Labs, Hi-Val, and Diamond Multimedia in April and May 1997. In 2014, every major PC manufacturer has models that include DVD-ROM drives.
The first DVD-Audio players were released in Japan by Pioneer in late 1999, but they did not play copy-protected discs. Matsushita (under the Panasonic and Technics labels) first released full-fledged players in July 2000 for $700 to $1,200. DVD-Audio players are now also made by Aiwa, Denon, JVC, Kenwood, Madrigal, Marantz, Nakamichi, Onkyo, Toshiba, Yamaha, and others. Sony released the first SACD players in May 1999 for $5,000. Pioneer's first DVD-Audio players released in late 1999 also played SACD. SACD players are now also made by Accuphase, Aiwa, Denon, Kenwood, Marantz, Philips, Sharp, and others.