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The leading DVD manufacturers are to ramp up drive production in a bid to double the number of units available in the next year. Projections for DVD drive demand show the market for Europe, US and Asia doubling to 4 million units next year, as compatibility issues are worked out and more software become available. In response to the anticipated demand, the largest Far Eastern DVD suppliers, Sony and Matsushita, are struggling to keep pace. Sony's Chiba plant is stepping up production from 60,000 drives to 80,000, with Matsushita trebling production to 100,000 drives per month. Smaller manufacturers like Nippon Columbia are also increasing production. The UK DVD market is seeing steady growth, according to retailers, but more explosive growth is predicted for later this year and next year. "There is interest but we are meeting demand at the moment," said Micro Anvika spokesman Kashif Merchant. "The drives are still gimmicky but they are set to improve." The market for DVD in other areas is also set to double according to projections. The estimates for Japan are for 300-500,000 DVD drives to ship this year, doubling to one million next year.

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