Seems like yesterday - from The Digital Bits:
TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN: THE DVD FORMAT TURNS 20 THIS MONTH!
Yes, folks, it’s true… this month marks the 20th anniversary of the beloved DVD format. The exact date is a matter of debate; some technically consider March 1, 1997 as the official date, though our records show that March 19 technically marks the official start of the U.S. launch, and the format was actually launched first in Japan in November of 1996. Either way, the first players and movie discs weren’t available in the seven initial U.S. test markets (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Seattle, and Washington) until much later in March 1997.
First player was $999 - $1,500 adjusted for inflation. I waited a couple years until they came down to under $500 and there were more titles available. I have over 3,000 to rent at my store.