By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: Consumer electronics suppliers expect the 2006 FIFA Soccer World Cup, which commences in Germany on 9 June 2006, to be a major opportunity for retailers to push new technologies and drive sales of DVD recorders.

With a little under two months until kick-off, many manufacturers believe sports fans around the world will be looking to upgrade existing home entertainment components in order to maximise their viewing experience; creating a potential gold mine for switched on retailers.

“Australians are proven sports fanatics. We’ll be watching live bleary eyed and then recording on DVD to remind ourselves of the action,” said Sony Australia product manager – home displays, Graham Keogh.

Keogh believes that the World Cup could create massive growth in niche market segments.

“Sony’s money is on hard disk drive digital video recorders with high definition integrated tuners as the biggest growth portion of the market.”

The World Cup could indeed be the impetus needed to boost high definition digital television and set-top box sales, with the entire World Cup being filmed in high definition (HD).

“There needs to be more high definition broadcasts coming out, the amount of stuff that’s filmed through HD in Australia is not huge. The FIFA World Cup will be filmed and broadcast entirely in HD, so the content has got to keep coming out,” said Philips sales and marketing manager, Matt Moran.

New features such as the automatic time shift buffer featured in the new range of Philips DVD recorders will present consumers with a simple tool to ensure they don’t miss any of the action.

“With the automatic time shift buffer feature you can leave your television on any channel you like and the player will automatically record everything. There is no need to hit any button, you’ll never miss anything,” said Philips product manager – home entertainment networks, Nathalie Pain.

And with price erosion allowing the average consumer to consider the purchase of a DVD recorder, the growth in the segment could prove a catalyst for further and continued growth across the entire DVD category.

“The erosion of price for a DVD recorder over the past six months is certainly stimulating more DVD recorder sales,” said Pioneer Electronics Australia, audio category manager for the home entertainment group, Tony Trent.