Yes, it looks like DVD is going to replace VHS and not be some Betamax. The comparison sucks however. VHS and Beta were two competing formats of the same medium. DVD is a whole new medium, and there is no other option available which can do the same things.
The only other posibility that could be created now is using solid state memory simlar to a Hard Drive, or flash cards like in digital cameras. This could happen someday, but the materials are costly (DVD/CD’s are very cheap) and they are big and heavy. One competitor now is a solid state digital video recorder. Its basically a VRC type machine that saves TV programs like a VCR does, but uses a hard drive like your computer. There is a limited space, and you can’t remove the stored programs, save them externally and view on another machine. When all TVs are linked to the internet and you can download from one machine to another this may become an option, but any external drive to save to is going to use some version of an optical disk and therefore use the indusrty standard (ala DVD).
The main reason DVD is working, and MD is moving slow, is because there is a greater need for DVD. DVD is a huge improvement over magnetic tapes. CD’s were a huge improvement over magnetic tape. The evolution of DVD and players is going to parallel CD’s, not VHS. MD on the other hand isn’t replacing a greatly flawed system. The only problem is that CD’s aren’t recordable (soon to be a non factor for more people), they skip (not a concern for many), their size (this will help) and their durability (the biggest factor). While the MD improves these factors, there isn’t much that forces CD owners to update. Chances are that CD and MD will exist together, and ther few who need a skip free, recordable, durable sound system will buy one, and copy their CDs to MD as they need them. There is no insentive for people to completly replace CD’s. Cassette tapes were perishable, CD’s last forever, the big difference.
As for the next Betamax, that was DIVX, and it has already folded. It was a different format on the same medium. The buyers spoke and the winner has been crowned, start shopping for a DVD, it’ll be as useful as your CD players and your CD-Rom.