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|DIVX Press Release for October 1, 1998|
New York, October 1, 1998 -- With all the fanfare of a movie premiere, Thomson Consumer Electronics tomorrow rolls out the red carpet for RCA brand DVD players with the DIVX feature that promises to end late-night trips to the video store to return a tape rental.
The all-new RCA DVD players with DIVX go a step further than standard DVD players by offering viewers the opportunity to acquire DVD discs that never have to be returned. Introduced in the U.S. market last year, DVD players connect to the family TV, enabling consumers to watch digital-quality late-run movies on a disc the size of a CD.
"With an RCA DVD player that offers the DIVX feature," said Larry Pesce, General Manager, Worldwide DVD Product Management, "you get the same realistic images and sounds of the movie theatre from the comfort of your living room, plus the advantage of not having to return your videos. It's the ultimate in convenience for viewing current hit movies or longtime favorites."
Thomson, which also markets two RCA brand DVD players without the DIVX feature, will introduce the RCA RC5230Z (suggested retail price $599) DVD player with DIVX capability. The RC5230Z plays both standard DVD discs and audio CDs as well as the new DIVX discs. Approximately 150 movie titles are now available on DIVX discs. The consumer pays $4.50 for a 48-hour viewing period that doesn't start until the disc is loaded into the RCA DVD player. Unlike a rented video tape, however, the disc never has to be returned. The consumer also may opt to pay an additional charge for unlimited play. Most current movie titles will be available on DIVX discs at the same time movie video tapes reach video rental stores.
During launch weekend - Oct. 2-4 - RCA brand DIVX players will be available at approximately 800 consumer electronics stores throughout the U.S., with special retail events planned in New York, Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City. Retailers taking part in the rollout include Circuit City, The Good Guys, Ultimate Electronics, Future Shop, Nationwide, and Sixth Avenue. "We expect to see a major turnout at retailers carrying these RCA DVD players," said Chuck Parrelli, Manager of DVD Marketing. "Research indicates that consumers like the idea of small movie discs that can be affordably purchased, enabling them to build a personal movie library that occupies only a small space in the home."
Adding to the excitement will be a group of former NFL players who will appear for autograph sessions at four different store locations in each of the target cities on October 2 and 3. Players who have agreed to appear are former New York Jets running back Freeman McNeil (New York; running back Chuck Foreman of the Minnesota Vikings (Minneapolis); defensive star Karl Mecklenberg of the Denver Broncos (Denver); ex-Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots quarterback Jim Plunkett (Salt Lake City); former Raiders defensive end Ted Hendricks (Las Vegas); St. Louis Cardinals quarterback Neil Lomax (Portland); and Seattle Seahawks running back Curt Warner (Seattle).
The RCA brand has prepared print advertising (for dealer use) with the heading, "The Best Way to Watch Movies at Home," which will start October 1 in the key cities. In addition, DIVX is running 30-second television spots. Since the RCA brand offers the new DIVX feature, Thomson provided extensive sales training materials including demonstration discs, training books, quick reference guides, and consumer brochures for use at retail. Point of sale materials developed for the retail launch include in-store and window posters, tent cards for set-top displays, easel cards with a brochure pocket, foldout brochures for consumer handouts, and copies of retail ads.
"We believe that the DIVX feature provides significant added value to the RCA DVD players and enhances the consumer's overall entertainment experience with our product. For a relatively small premium, our units provide consumers with the best of the DVD purchase and DIVX rental worlds," said Pesce.