Not Done Yet: Real media still tops, according to study

April 25, 2011 by  
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If you listened to the tech articles across the web, you would think that everyone and their brother was watching movies via Internet streaming and/or Video on Demand services via cable or internet services. It’s the big new thing, right? However, a new NPD Group of thousands of avid TV watchers has uncovered that DVD/Blu-Ray is still not quite dead and buried yet.

According to NPD, 77 percent of consumers they surveyed have watched a movie on DVD/Blu-ray hi-def disc in the past 3 months. However, only 21% have watched a home movie via a digital source like on demand or streaming. That’s quite a gap that will take a long time to shrink, more than likely.

Want more telling stats? You got it: NPD also found that 80 cents of every dollar spent on home video is going for the rental or sale of DVDs or Blu-ray discs, not streams or On Demand (the latter of which is too expensive most of the time anyhow compared to hard media). Not only is HD still hot, but the real thing is still pretty hot as well.

Speaking of Crazy: BR edition of Scarface for $1,000?

April 2, 2011 by  
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Now we’ve seen all manner of special edition Blu-Ray HD movies recently, and we applaud the movement to release special editions of movies on BR, but this report may be crossing the line a bit: a $999 edition of the film with only 1,000 copies produced? Yes, according to reports, it’s true.

The Blu-ray edition of Brian De Palma’s 1983 gangster classic Scarface debuts September 6, 2011 and will only have 1,000 copies pressed, is indeed special but perhaps a little too much for many even devoted fans. What do you get for this this sum? A disc encased in ‘SteelBook’ packaging, a digital copy of the film, the 1932 edition of Scarface starring George Muni regarded as pretty good, 10 art cards featuring scenes from the film; and a hand-crafted Scarface-themed humidor.

Here’s a hot tip: Amazon is now selling the $999 edition for just $699. Does this make the decision easier? Let us know if you buy one!

More Blu-Ray Release News: Deluxe Superman BR set coming soon

April 2, 2011 by  
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Here’s even more Blu-Ray release news to whet your HD appetite: the popular Superman movies of the 70′s-00′s is coming to a huge complete set on HD BR very soon, and this will give you all the red-caped glory you can handle in one package.

Warner Bros. has stated the Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology package will be released June 7, 2011 for a street value of $129.95 (no doubt early sales will push it a little lower).

All five theatrical releases are included, but the eight discs include two extra versions (Superman: The Movie Extended Edition and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, both considered by purists to be the real versions of the films) and a bonus disc with tons of extra goodies on it, including two HD documentaries and a slew of other extras from previous releases too.

Blu-Ray News: Star Wars saga set for release Sept. 16th

April 1, 2011 by  
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We reported this huge Blu-Ray news a few months ago, now we have a firm date for release (we didn’t have that previously): Sept. 16th is when you will ‘use the force’ once again, this time in crystal clear HD Blu-Ray.

We’ve heard this will be the “Special Edition” versions of the films included, fully remastered by Lucas himself for the best quality around, with tons of extras, interviews, etc. It should be a huge seller, so pre-ordering may be necessary for best results and to guarantee yourself a copy when it comes out. Feel free to comment here if you plan on buying it, we know we’ll be anxiously awaiting our copy.

Price was not released at press time, but expect prices for 3 packs (1-3 or 4-6) to be around the $50 mark or so.

Limited Edition: Scarface Blu-Ray coming in September

March 24, 2011 by  
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We do love to cover the great classics coming in HD Blu-Ray sometimes, and now we bring you the joyous news of yet another great classic film coming to BR: Scarface.

Brian DePalma’s gangster epic of a cuban immigrant’s coming to the US, rising to become a huge drug lord and slow descent into greed and self-destruction is one of the great guy opus films of all time, and it’s coming this fall when Universal releases the Scarface Limited Edition Blu-ray.

It’ll be be slick too: Steelbook packaging, 7.1 DTS-HD audio, art cards from the film, and even the 1932 original version of Scarface on DVD is included.

Universal’s packed in lots of extras on the disc too, including a couple of add-ons that keep track of both F-bombs spoken and bullets fired during the film, plus picture-in-picture analysis with director Brian De Palma, Al Pacino, Screenwriter Oliver Stone (now that should make some extra time viewing for any Scarface fan).

Blu-Ray discs: Shortage later this year?

March 22, 2011 by  
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Possible bad news for the Blu-Ray/Hi-Def revolution: there could be actual supply shortages due to infrastructure issues with disc makers. Hopefully this doesn’t come to pass, as it could dent the adoption of HD discs in homes, something we’d hate to see.

Home Media Magazine is reporting this possible sad news: research firm Futuresource Consulting says Blu-ray disc copying companies are reaching max capacity due to various internal problems, and if it isn’t dealt with, it could get ugly. And if the studios don’t get on the ball, it could delay studio releases until next year, which could be devastating for the BR market.

Many experts are hoping it gets dealt with this year, and we’re crossing our fingers, indeed. Being aware there’s an issue is the first step, then dealing with it is next. We’ll keep you updated as things progress.

New News: Sharp pushing out 3 new Blu-Ray players

March 13, 2011 by  
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Sharp hasn’t been standing pat lately, as they’re jumping into the new release fray with 3 new Blu-Ray players soon to be released, with tons of the very newest features, including the much valued 3D. Read on with this section of the features from Engadget HD:

Each one is Blu-ray 3D ready with currently standard features like DLNA, Netflix, VUDU, Pandora and YouTube access built in, but are priced a step above the average deck these days. The lower end BD-HP25U lacks the included WiFi and IP control of the higher end models (dongle optional) while the BD-HP35U (pictured above) lacks only the RS-232 control port of its BD-HP75U counterpart. The BD-HP25U ($249) and BD-HP35U ($299) are shipping now while the BD-HP75U ($329) is due to arrive March 14.

Price and feature sets are fairly competitive with Sony, LG and other companies, though maybe slightly higher in terms of MSRP, so make sure you shop around if you end up considering these.

LOTR EE Blu-Ray to be released soon

March 10, 2011 by  
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We remember when the original BR editions of LOTR were released, we said it was a quick cash grab in advance of the EE releases to come in months (or in this case even longer) later on. Turns out we were correct, as you can see by reading on.

Years later the release of the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Blu-ray disc set is finally drawing close, and now the set is available for preorder on Amazon.com, and adding a couple of hours of footage to the epic fantasy trilogy, they include an MSRP of $120 (but currently selling for $83.99) and a video trailer is on the page as well for your viewing pleasure.

These are modern classic films, and Blu-Ray is the only way to view them, in our opinions. We can’t wait til their (as yet unannounced) release date.

Good List of Bad Things: 10 Dumbest HDTV Ideas

March 8, 2011 by  
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Now on occasion we like to read the lists provided by TVPredictions.com, and this one is a doozy of a read: The 10 dumbest things to happen in the world of HDTV over the last decade or so. It’s an amusing and all too accurate list, in our opinion.

The ones we agree with in particular: 3D HD it appears, Voom (decent idea, poor execution), and the quick fall of HD DVD from Toshiba (Blu-Ray clearly had the upper hand when they released it, meaning instant doom for the format and those who chose it, of which I personally know several).

Read the whole list here in all its glory, and marvel in the dumbness.

Price Slash: $169 top line LG Blu-Ray player?

February 27, 2011 by  
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It seems even the high-end Blu-Ray players are getting a generous price reduction, meaning nothing but good news for the future of HD and the BR media format, moving it closer to eclipsing DVD as the home format of choice.

Amazon.com is now selling the LG BD 570 Blu-ray player, which comes with wireless video and audio streaming built in, for only $169. That’s 25% off the retail price, and its got very good ratings from users as well. Not a surprise, given the high ratings we’ve given many LG products in years past.

We assume this item will be gone quickly, so follow the link above to grab it up while its still in stock (which it was last we checked).

Blu-Ray News: Tron Legacy to be released in fancy editions

February 4, 2011 by  
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We like to cover fancy new releases of current movies, where there seems to be a big boom in ultra-slick releases for the HD format, and this one is no exception. Take a read on this special edition of  Tron: Legacy (and check out the cool pics as well) and mention of release day 3D version too:

Looks like Disney’s going all in on that promise to offer Tron:Legacy on Blu-ray 3D day-and-date with the standard release, while it hasn’t been announced officially Amazon already has three separate editions available for preorder. Pictured above is the five disc limited edition with Tron: The Original Classic Special Edition and special identity disc packaging, while the others are a five disc set minus the special case and a four disc combo pack that drops the 1982 original. No word on price or release date, but DiscDish mentions the original will also be available in its own two-disc pack if you’re not a Daft Punk/Olivia Wilde fan.

Personally we liked the ’82 version a bit better in terms of actual filmmaking, but hey, this new one looked awful good as well.

They Love It: Japan crazy about 3D Blu-Ray

January 18, 2011 by  
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Hey, we have one market that can’t get enough 3D HD: Japan, it seems is head over heels about the format. Here’s the skinny about this:

Finally, we find a market that is truly enthusiastic about 3D. Tokyo-based researchers BCN, cited by CrunchGear, report that a cool 57 percent of all Blu-ray recorders sold in Japan last month had 3D playback functionality built in, while 23 percent of all 40-inch-plus TVs sold had the ability to relay stereoscopic imagery. Both those numbers are major leaps in popularity within the nation itself and also easily dwarf penetration rates for 3D hardware in other parts of the world. 3D has apparently grown a lot more affordable in Japan, but lest you think these data are just a symptom of people upgrading their equipment without regard to its third-dimension skills, word is that there’s still a chunky 30 percent premium associated with adding 3D to your BR recorder purchase.

We’re glad someone is getting mileage out of the 3D trend in home theater, here’s to hoping this follows in the US at some point.

Directors Directive: Blu-Ray is the best

January 17, 2011 by  
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Recently 3 quite famous Hollywood directors have weighed in on the hi-def medium and said it: Blu-Ray is the best hardware based HD medium for home movies right now. As if people who read this blog didn’t know that, but its nice to hear famous figures like Oliver Stone saying so out loud. Read on:

Three top Hollywood directors last week urged Americans to buy Blu-ray editions of their movies, saying they offer the best picture and sound available in the world. That’s according to an article by The Los Angeles Times The three directors made their remarks during a panel discussion at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

“Blu-ray does a better job (than DVD) by a factor of about 12 or 13,” said director Michael Mann who has helmed such films as Heat, Ali and Miami Vice.

Oliver Stone, who has directed Wall Street, Platoon and Nixon, says consumers should consider Blu-ray discs as collectibles. He predicted that people will hold onto to their Blu-ray discs until 2050

“This is about film preservation … it’s the last hardware, the best of the last hardware. There won’t be any other hardware now,” Stone said, referring to the rise of streaming videos over the Net.  High Def Digest writes that Stone added: “It’s like having a print at home. Not only is it like a print at home, but it’s actually usually better than the old print. Criterion Classics is great, but a Blu-ray compared to it – there’s just no comparison.”

We applaud these directors for saying what we already knew: Blu-Ray is the best HD home movie medium out there, and nothing else compares.

HDMI Take-Over: New Blu-Ray players to stop supporting analog video output

January 12, 2011 by  
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It’s a trend that needed to begin, quite honestly, and it’ll become official this year: Newer Blu-Ray players will only begin supporting HD output via HDMI ports. It’s a good thing that will make hooking things up and overall quality a lot better, we think. Read on:

The chicken littles have been worried about this since long before the first Blu-ray (or even HD DVD) title was ever released, and the first step towards the analog sunset has officially come. Any new Blu-ray player announced after January 1st 2011 will only output HD via HDMI — players that started shipping last year can still be sold until the end of this year though. If you just love component video, you might figure you’ll be able to get a player today and continue to enjoy it for years to come, but maybe not. You see the studios also have the Image Constraint Token (ICT) which when set on a title will tell every and all Blu-ray players to down convert analog output to 540p. The only reprieve is that if its set on a title, it must be marked on the box, and of course it can’t be retroactively set (any title you own now will continue to play exactly the same way it does on your existing players). We’re waiting for final confirmation, but apparently the ICT hasn’t been an option to studios until now so start looking for the icon on your latest purchases. The final stage in the sunset is 2013 when analog outputs will be removed from Blu-ray players completely.

We applaud the move as a welcome bridge to an all HDMI/HDTV society.

BR Release News: Star Wars saga to arrive on Blu-Ray in September

January 8, 2011 by  
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It’s been rumored, long-awaited and breathlessly talked about by Star Wars fans around the globe, and now thanks to CES, its official: The Star Wars saga will be released on Blu-Ray in September 2011.

It will be issued 3 different ways:

Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray (9-disc Set includes all six films)
Star Wars: Prequel Blu-ray Trilogy (3-disc set includes Episodes I-III)
Star Wars: Original Blu-ray Trilogy (3-disc set includes Episodes IV-VI)

We highly recommend the 6 pack of movies, and it will also include over 30 hours of special features, and exclusive never before seen deleted scenes and bonus footage. This sounds very impressive indeed, and we’ll be early in line to grab these. Prices will top out at $139.99 for the whole shebang, which isn’t too bad really considering how awesome these will look on BR.

Blu is the word: Blu-Ray players now in over 27M US homes

January 8, 2011 by  
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It’s official: Blu is here to stay, more than likely. Based on recent surveys and data, Blu-ray is now in 27.5 million U.S. homes, according to Digital Entertainment Group, an organization high up in the high-def disc industry. The report also states that Blu-ray title sales have doubled in the last year.

“That’s bucking the trend with what’s going on with packaged media in general,” stated Parsons, referring to declining DVD sales, which dropped 11% last year over the year before. No such drop for Blu-Ray though, which is only going up: Blu-ray sales and rentals syrocketed an amazing 53% in 2010, hitting $2.3 billion in total earnings.

Since over 60M homes have HDTVs, that almost half the installed user base, meaning the word is getting out there quite successfully. The news is nothing but good for HD pundits who predict that BR will eventually replace DVD as the dominant medium. Here’s to a bountiful future for Blu.

HDTV Predictions: 2011

January 2, 2011 by  
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Everyone has an opinion regarding what direction HD will go in for the future. One thing is for sure: HD is here to stay for years to come, and it will just keep growing as the economy slowly recovers from its doldrums and people’s wallets begin opening again.

TVPredictions.com has published its top 10 predictions for 2011 and HDTV in general, many of which we agree with. In particular, their stance on 3D HDTV and (lack of a) future right now, the expansion of Blu-Ray as a medium in general, and DirecTV shuffling their offerings to channels with more friendly lease rates, to the detriment of viewers, no doubt. The slow emergence of Plasma as a contender in the HD race wouldn’t surprise us either.

Read more here: Link

Elite Hi-Def: Pioneer’s new line of Blu-Ray players finally available

December 24, 2010 by  
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Pioneer is recognized as one of the leading voices in the plasma/hi-def revolution, and releases of their Elite equipment are always highly anticipated by the gadget geeks out there. So its with great pleasure we bring you this news:

After debuting quietly at CEDIA Pioneer’s 2010 line of Blu-ray players is finally available for purchase, including the low end BDP-430 and its two Elite cousins, the BDP-41FD and BDP-43FD. Other than the obvious addition of Blu-ray 3D compatibility, key upgrades from 2009 include WiFi readiness with optional dongle, streaming from YouTube (after a firmware update), Netflix and Pandora, an expanded continue mode to make sure you start The Twilight Saga: Eclipse right where you left it and the return of Pioneer’s iControlAV remote app for iOS devices. Starting price? $299 for the BDP-430, $399 for the BDP-41FD and its home automation-friendly RS-232 port, while $499 is required to bring home the “armored chassis” of the BDP-43FD.

Not cheap, but sometimes the old adage “you get what you pay for” really is true.

HD Explosion: Blu-Ray sales brisk during Black Friday

December 10, 2010 by  
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It seems low prices and hi-def content go hand in hand quite well, as sales of Blu-Ray and related devices exploded 50% during the recent Black Friday extravaganza event. Here’s the whole scoop from TVpredictions:

Research firm NPD says more than 400,000 Blu-ray players were sold during Black Friday week (ending Nov. 28), a 50 percent increase over last year’s Black Friday sale. That’s according to an article by Home Media Magazine.

Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for NPD, said shoppers sought out discounted Blu-ray players that featured Internet services. Many Blu players now offer wireless connections that enable users to download content from Internet services such as Netflix and Vudu.

Baker added that the medium price per Blu-ray unit sold this Black Friday week was $113, a 23 percent decrease from last year.

“It was a boom time for Blu-ray players,” Baker said, according to Home Media. “The real difference this was that the stuff promoted was relatively current product with current features.”

We’re overjoyed that lower price points has made this technology more accessible to the masses, as that will do nothing but expand HDTV’s dominance in today’s entertainment landscape.

Forest of Hi-Def: Bambi to arrive on Blu-Ray next year

December 10, 2010 by  
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The much-beloved classic Disney masterpiece Bambi will finally be getting the full 1080p treatment in March of next year, it appears, if rumors are to be believed. We always try to keep an eye on noteworthy releases on Blu-Ray, and here’s the skinny on one:

Disney’s officially put a date on the Diamond Edition release of Bambi, which will arrive March 1, 2011 in Blu-ray/DVD combo pack edition HD download, or SD download — DVD only packages arrive April 19th. There’s plenty of exclusive Blu-ray features, including never before seen deleted scenes, 7.1 audio track, a deleted song, a peek inside Walt Disney’s meetings where the concept of the film came to be, and an interactive game. The biggest addition is that this disc will debut Disney’s new “Second Screen” feature on computer or iPad which promises to sync with the film and pull in even more interactive features.

We applaud this effort to move animated classics like this into the hi-def world, so that future generations can enjoy them with increased clarity.

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