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.

Wii HD: Rumor no more?

April 16, 2011 by  
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Nintendo has been denying the existence of an HD console for so long its become a ritualistic chant at this point, but now rumors (quite strong, reliable ones) are surfacing at various game mags and sites that such a device in high-res will be coming out of the woodwork at E3 2011 in June.

High-Def is what has held back the machine from total gaming domination in our opinion for awhile now, as fun and cool as the console is currently. The graphics are just kinda blocky and old-school for our HD trained eyes, and apparently Nintendo agrees.

While actual hard details are in short supply, as they typically are with something like this — mostly just the typical claim that the system will wipe the floor with competitors, be the oasis for gamers everywhere, etc — they told IGN that it will fully support 1080p resolutions and be fully backwards-compatible with games for the Wii.

Naturally, we’ll believe it when we see it, so we’ll update you as details become available.

HD Trial: DirecTV takes a new tactic to introduce people to new HD content

April 6, 2011 by  
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We always applaud companies who take new and unique steps to show people how cool and powerful new HD channels can be, and DirecTV, as much as we have criticized them at times, have a new and cool technique for exposing their users to their ExtraHD lineup for free for a week. Perhaps reeling a bit from subscriber sadness and desire for more HD channels, DIRECTV will begin a one-week free preview of its ‘HD Extra Pack.’

The package normally costs $4.99 a month and includes eight content packed channels: Hallmark Movie Channel HD; HDNet Movies; MGM Movies; Sony Movie Channel HD; Crime & Investigation HD; Universal HD; Palladia HD; and Smithsonian HD. The free preview will go from April 6-April 13, and is available to everyone capable of getting HD on their units and TVs.

At DIRECTV’s web site, the company is also offering a free 3-month trial of the Extra Pack as well, which is even better for prospective HD searchers.

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!

Opinion: Do you get enough HDTV channels?

March 27, 2011 by  
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Many are of the opinion that HD lineups with cable and satellite providers around the US and the world will continue to expand as time goes on, and that’s a good thing in our opinion. But we also know that in many remote parts of the US, HD channel selections are mighty sparse, and we very much mourn the fact it may not change anytime soon.

How about you, dear reader? How many channels in HDTV do you receive, and do you wish you had had more? Do they only supply the big time channels in your area, but ignore the smaller channels you still may watch once in awhile (BET, AMC, etc)? Feel free to leave your experiences, thoughts and contents of your local feed in our comments area, and we may nuse the info in a future post.

Thanks for reading and happy HDing!

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.

TruTV HD is suddenly…hot?

March 17, 2011 by  
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Yes indeed, a channel that had limited interest from carriers is suddenly hot stuff these days, and that channel is TruTV HD. It’s a channel consisting of mostly reality court and cop shows, with some silly ‘Dumbest’ shows in between. But suddenly they’re airing the NCAA basketball tournament?

Feel free to read this description from TVpredictions.com:

Until recently, TruTV was struggling to persuade TV providers to carry its HD edition. But with the tournament starting this week, DIRECTV, Time Warner, Bright House, Verizon, Comcast, Charter, Cablevision, RCN and AT&T have all announced deals to either offer TruTV in HD 24 hours a day, or at least, show the network’s 13 NCAA games in high-def.

We think its a great gimmick to encourage companies to add their channel, and wish them luck in their sudden growth.

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).

More HDTV ‘Problems’: Actress says HDTV reveals too much

February 4, 2011 by  
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In yet another article about the ‘dangers’ of actors and TV performers about HDTV, actress Kelli Williams of Lie to Me states that due to the detail of HD, actors should actively avoid getting plastic surgery. She says actors can start to look ‘freaky’ in HD because of too much cosmetic work.

It’s yet another report like this that stirred our thoughts and imagination (and a little chuckle as well) about the impact of HD. Who knew years ago when TV was first released to the public that one day, actors would need to change how they dressed and presented themselves due to the intense detail of the medium they worked in.

As HD lovers, we appreciate and can marvel at how the medium has changed the way we watch TV and movies at home, and its even changed the way our performers and special effects people make film today, due to the fact they need to consider how it will look on HD home theaters.

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.

Sign of the Times: Age suit won by HD anchor

January 13, 2011 by  
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Now this is a new one, but perhaps a sign of the times to come? A BBC host claimed their ‘wrinkles’ would be more visible in HD, and claims she was terminated for that reason. Now we know HD shows more details, but this is something very new indeed, and even slightly funny.

A clip from the BBC article here:

A 53-year-old British TV ‘presenter’ has won an ageism discrimination case after she charged the BBC fired her because her wrinkles would be more visible when the show switched to High-Definition. Miriam O’Reilly, a news reader on the BBC show Countryfile, charged that the network asked her to leave the show when it was moved from a daytime to nighttime slot; the show also began broadcasting in HD.

Talk about an issue that would never have been an issue even 10 years ago; too MUCH detail in broadcasting. Hopefully, this doesn’t signal the beginning of more such ‘sexism’ lawsuits for aging broadcasters who have outgrown the use of makeup to cover their blemishes.

Comcast Hi-Def Expansion: Even more HD on the way?

December 19, 2010 by  
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We applauded Comcast’s efforts to expand their HD lineup a few months back, and now they’re looking to do even more, it appears from recent reports.

Comcast reports it added 50 new High-Definition channels in Philadelphia, making it the first Comcast area to offer 150 HD channels, and the new channels include BBC America HD, DIY HD, Ovation HD, PBS Kids Sprout HD and Smithsonian HD, all channels with niche content, but more HD is more HD, and we welcome it with open arms.

Comcast’s Xfinity promotion says it will dramatically boost the HD lineup in more cities in 2011, and that is long overdue and welcome news, indeed. Many markets got by with 30-50 total HD channels for years now, and now it seems they’re making up for lost time.

Ads everywhere?: Advertisers fighting for HD SD commercial side space

December 16, 2010 by  
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Yes, advertisers want to be everywhere it seems, and the battle has taken to the black bars on the sides of HD channels where the commercials are in SD. Some ad people are wanting to put ads there; ads inside of ads so to speak. More here:

Surprisingly, even in 2010 not every commercial on high definition channels is actually in HD, and for channels like TBS that fill in the sides of 4×3 content with their own branded bars, advertisers are suddenly finding issue with competing for screen space. Things reached a head when TBS used its bars to promote the new late night Conan show, and now the Association of National Advertisers has come out with a statement indicating the sidebars belong to the advertiser, not the network, while the ad is running unless otherwise agreed. Of course, simply making commercials in HD (if they’re going to be on, they should at least look good) would fix this, but until then well see who has the upper hand in this battle of wills.

It’ll be good to see this one end once the majority of ads are in HD, so until then we can all stand back and be amazed at the gall of advertisers.

No Glasses Ma?: Eizo releases first glasses-free 3D LCD

December 13, 2010 by  
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Technology marches forward at all times, and in the world of HD 3D, it marches pretty darn quickly, it appears. Eizo has given us a glimpse at a glasses-free 3D future, and we like it so far. Read onward:

Eizo has released a spec sheet confirming the 1920 x 1080 resolution and 23-inch size, also detailing how it works. The monitor uses a directional backlight and a time lag to effectively hit each eye individually through the same pixel, enabling that high resolution in a small panel but still delivering glasses-free performance. Eizo pledges no moiré, color distortion, or other issues typically seen in glasses-free displays, but this tech will surely not come cheap when it ships in the second quarter of 2011. How do we know? Anticipated applications for the FDF2301-3D include scanning electron microscopes and semiconductor inspections.

Yes, it will mostly be used for scientific applications, but no law against it being used by those with thicker pockets for fun.

Deluxe: Blu-Ray treatment of Inception is out of this world

November 13, 2010 by  
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We appreciate that companies want to dress up the HD Blu-Ray releases of films nowadays, but this treatment looks to be really something else entirely. Check it out:

For a moment it appeared that the sweet Limited Edition release of Christopher Nolan’s Inception on Blu-ray would be a European only thing, but Warner Bros. has made it available for US customers as well, exclusively via its WBShop.com website. Located by a few Blu-ray.com forum posters, it looks to have all the fixings, with art cards, totem, PASIV instruction manual and of course the metal briefcase itself with Inception Blu-ray and DVD held inside. Preorders are $49.95 and ship December 6, so don’t forget to figure in overnight shipping.

That price tag is something else as well, but if you’re a 1080p fan and a big follower of the box office hit, this is the way to go, no doubt about it.

Hulu News: Coming to a BRAVIA HDTV near you

November 5, 2010 by  
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We love Hulu and think its the next logical step to content of all kinds, HD and otherwise. News that it will be leaking into HDTV models (and the PS3) very soon makes it even better. More details:

Hulu has just revealed a movement to get Hulu Plus stocked with more content and onto more devices, STAT. Making sure those words aren’t empty, we’re learning that all 2010 Sony BRAVIA HDTVs will today have access to the subscription programming service, with it bleeding over to Sony’s various Blu-ray players, home theater systems, network media players and even the Dash — yeah, that Dash — in due time. In related news, Hulu will be soon yanking the invite requirement to get Hulu Plus on the PlayStation 3, and as of next week, any ole PlayStation Network member (as opposed to PlayStation Plus, as it stands today) will be able to grab it. ‘Course, even those freeloaders will be forced to pony up $9.99 per month if they’re interested in using it.

Easier accessibility is the key to any product’s success, so we’re quite happy with this development.

TV Related and the Quote of the Week: Cablevision ends standoff with Fox

October 31, 2010 by  
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Occasionally, we’ll bring you news that’s only slightly HD related, in this case, the quote from the affected company was too good not to cover. Read on and prepare to chuckle:

Evidently missing the first two games of the World Series was about all Cablevision thought it subscribers could take, as news just hit the wire: the fourteen-day standoff is over and both tonight’s game three of the World Series and tomorrow’s Jets vs Packers game are available to subscribers. While these carriage disputes are pretty common, it is very rare for channels to be pulled and downright unheard of for a channel as popular as Fox. It came to this because Cablevision was very unhappy about News Corp’s new terms and after many pleas to the FCC and politicians to intervene, an advertising campaign, and eventually an unaccepted offer to match the price that Time Warner Cable pays, a deal has finally been done. Not exactly all’s well that ends well, though, as Cablevision released the following statement: “In the absence of any meaningful action from the FCC, Cablevision has agreed to pay Fox an unfair price for multiple channels of its programming including many in which our customers have little or no interest.”

Wow, read that again. Amazing honesty from Cablevision, even if it will probably pass its costs to the consumer down the road.

Big Time Blu-Ray release day: BTTF and Aliens among the jewels

October 27, 2010 by  
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It seems at least a few days a year, major movie properties get their due on Blu-Ray, and that’s the case as of Oct.26th, as two major movie anthologies get their releases on the HD disc medium, along with a slew of other major and minor movies. The volume of titles is pretty rapidly expanding now for BR, and it shows little sign of slowing down.

Among the releases, complete with our own previous coverage of the titles on the links:

Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy (Universal)

Alien Anthology (Fox)

Sex and the City 2 (New Line)

And that’s just the tip of the release list. We always appreciate companies who take the time to remaster classic films for 1080p, as they really benefit from the increased resolution. It’s a trend we hope continues well into the future.

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