For the first time, DVD players were found in more U.S. households compared to VCR players, according to new research.

In the Nielsen Media Research third quarter report released Tuesday, 81.2 percent of American households had DVD players compared to 79.2 percent who had VCR players. Meanwhile, the VCR penetration rate has declined, with the VHS video tape market leveling off during the past six months.

This study shows the culmination of a long battle for share of consumers, said Paul Lindstrom, senior vice president of custom research for Nielsen Media Research. “We now see that the popularity of DVDs has finally surpassed that of VCRs.

DVD ownership was first tracked by the research firm in 1999. At the time, the penetration rate for the player was only 6.7 percent. Its market share was dwarfed by VCR ownership at 88.6 percent. 88 percent. The research also indicated that households rented two DVDs per month compared to VCR families that rented one VHS over a month, according to the report.

Nielsen's Home Technology Report is a phone survey of 1,253 randomly selected American homes, which are called four times per year.