Sales of DVDs in Japan are set to overtake sales of videocassettes next year, and more than triple to $3.106bn (Y341.7bn) by 2003, according to a report from the Japan Video Software Association (JVSA).

In 1999, the market share of DVDs in Japan was only 12%, rising to 30% in the first half of 2000. Sales for the whole of 2000 are forecast to reach $948.2m (Y104.3bn). In a second, high-range forecast, JVSA estimated that sales could increase to $3.620bn (Y398.2bn) in 2003.

DVD's popularity in Japan has been boosted by the release last March of Sony's Playstation 2 games console - sales of which are expected to reach the four million mark by this spring - and lower prices for DVD players, which now sell for around $273 (Y30,000), making them affordable for most Japanese.

Meanwhile, shipments of videocassettes fell 5.4% in the first half of this year, to $706.2m (Y77.69bn), while the market share accounted for by the format slid to 64%, compared with 74% during the same period in 1998.

The JVSA based its reports on a survey of 326 households and interviews with 13 hardware and software companies in the video field.