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I remember when... DVD arrived in the UK (June 1997)

Thomson isn't a manufacturer we encounter too often these days, but back when a DVD player was as coveted as a Steve Jobs creation on launch day, the French company led the way on our shores.

Having eagerly previewed DVD since its Japanese rollout in 1996, delivery of the first-ever UK-region player was a memorable day at the office. 'The waiting is over!' we declared in our June 1997 issue.

Yet considering all the fanfare, we were left a bit underwhelmed with the DTH-1000U. Costing £600 and styled by French designer Philippe Starck, we expected something more alluring than a CD player clone.

There was a logic to this: with it able to play CDs, and resembling a CD deck, the upgrade path was defined, but there was no excuse for the basic display and poor remote.

  • The Thomson DTH-1000U sits sandwiched between the three decks it pipped to the post as the UK's first DVD player: the Meridian 586, Panasonic DVD-A100 and Pioneer DVL 9. The £1000 Pioneer could also handle laserdisc, Video CD and CD, and is still used by many today.
  • 'This disc will do it all!' we shout. But they didn't come cheap – only 77 region-2 discs existed, and these had to be imported from Japan. UK discs hit the shops in 1998, with each costing around £20 – quite an outlay for Eraser.
  • Don't be thinking we'd forgotten about dear old VHS. Indeed, we even deliberated the use of a Nicam VCR as an audio recorder. Our conclusion? 'For taping CDs, a good cassette deck is better.'