Morning, folks. We’ve got a bit of interesting information this morning from the UHD Alliance worth sharing today, which is that they’ve just defined the HDR “premium viewing experience” for battery-powered devices.

Here are the details from their official press release…

BARCELONA – Feb. 28, 2017 – The UHD Alliance (UHDA), the inter-industry group charged with fostering an ecosystem that fully realizes and promotes the consumer benefits of Ultra HD and HDR entertainment technology, announced today its specification and logo for portable devices: ”MOBILE HDR PREMIUM.”

Enjoying high-quality programming on portable devices including laptops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones has become a primary mode of content consumption for a large and ever-growing segment of the consumer entertainment audience. The UHDA’s MOBILE HDR PREMIUM designation confirms that a device meets UHDA- defined performance criteria for resolution, dynamic range, color space and bit depth and delivers a consistent premium experience.” [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

Kicking off a new week here at The Bits, we’ve got a couple of things for you today...

First up, Tim has reviewed another new Blu-ray release for you in the form of Franco Propseri’s Wild Beasts (1984 – aka Belve Feroci) from Severin Films.

Also, Mark Altman has a few thoughts, in his latest MOS DEF column today, on good catalog titles that ought to get released in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray this year to help the format get on track.

In announcement news today, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set A League of Their Own: 25th Anniversary Edition for release on Blu-ray on 4/18. It includes the new Bentonville, Baseball & the Enduring Legacy of A League of Their Own featurette, as well as legacy extras including 15 deleted scenes, a 9-part documentary, audio commentary with the filmmakers, Madonna’s This Used to Be My Playground music video, and the film’s theatrical trailer. [Read on here…]

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All right, first things first today: We have a quick bit of follow-up for you this morning on those annual original Star Wars release rumors, the latest appearance of which caused a bit of a stir yesterday (and which we commented on in yesterday’s post). I know... we’re getting tired of talking about it too, but we have what seems to be rather definitive new information.

We’ve essentially confirmed that Disney’s current 4K scan of the film is the most recent revised version (essentially the latest “special edition”), not the original theatrical edition. What’s more, Disney’s director of Library Restoration and Preservation, Theo Gluck, held a special event at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts last night, a presentation called Animation Restoration at Walt Disney Studios. Gluck was asked there about Star Wars and reported that the original cut negative for the film currently exists in its “SE” configuration only. (There’s more info, so do continue on past the jump.) [Read on here…]

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All right, first up today we’ve got a couple more Blu-ray reviews for you: Tim has checked out Lionsgate’s Parents and The Lair of the White Worm, both recently-released entries in their Vestron Video Collector’s Series that are well worth your time. Be sure to give them a look.

Now then…

We’ve been saying for a while now that, once Disney took over the Star Wars franchise, it was inevitable that the original theatrical versions of the Star Wars films would be released at some point. Disney, as a studio, is very disciplined in taking care to meticulously preserve all of the valuable film assets in their vault. So this idea that those original films no longer exist, as suggested by George Lucas himself at one point, is hogwash. [Read on here…]

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Afternoon, folks! We’ve got some great stuff for you here at The Bits today…

First up, Tim has turned in a review of Shout! Factory’s Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume IV, which includes the episodes Space Mutiny, Overdrawn at the Memory Back, Girl in Gold Boots, and Hamlet. The disc is now available, so do give it a look.

Meanwhile, we have a new MOS DEF column from Mark A. Altman as well today, in which he takes a look back at his favorite Blu-ray releases of 2016. We’ll have more from Mark later this week too. Enjoy!

In announcement news today, the BIG news is that Disney and Lucasfilm have just officially set Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for Blu-ray Combo, DVD, and On Demand release on 4/4, with a Digital HD release set for 3/24. There’s no word yet of a 4K version, but it appears that Target and Best Buy will have retail-exclusive Blu-ray 3D versions on 4/4 (per Star Wars.com). The Target package appears to match the Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Collector’s Edition. The Best Buy package comes in a Steelbook. Walmart will also have exclusive packaging. Extras on the Blu-rays will include 11 behind-the-scenes featurettes (A Rogue Idea, Jyn: The Rebel, Cassian: The Spy, K-2SO: The Droid, Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills, Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary, The Empire, Visions of Hope: The Look of Rogue One, The Princess & The Governor, Epilogue: The Story Continues, and Rogue Connections). Note that the lack of deleted scenes – and we know there are many – or audio commentary suggests that a more elaborate Collector’s Edition BD release is coming later this year. You can see the cover artwork at the left and below. [Read on here…]

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We’re starting today with a pair of new Blu-ray Disc reviews, both of them from Universal. Tim’s given Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings a spin and found it well worth your time, especially if you missed it in the theater. It’s probably the best animated film of 2016, so do give it a look. Tim has also reviewed Universal’s Blu-ray upgrade of Peter Jackson’s King Kong: Ultimate Edition, which includes damn near all of the extras from the previous and elaborate DVD box sets. It’s also available for a great price too – just $13.99 on Amazon right now. Give the reviews a read and I think you’ll enjoy them.

Also, we’ve just posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section featuring all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K cover artwork and pre-order links. As always, anytime you order literally anything from Amazon after clicking to them through any one of our links, you’re helping to support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it very much. So please do and thank you! [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, today is a work holiday for many here in the U.S., but we do have some interesting new release news for you all regardless.

First up, new signals from retail sources (including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and others) are suggesting that Disney and Lucasfilm are planning to release Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD on 4/4, instead of the date previously listed by retailers which was 3/28. Until this weekend, Best Buy was taking pre-orders with no date listed, but that’s now been pulled, suggesting that an official announcement may be coming any day. Stay tuned for official details.

Speaking of Disney, the studio has confirmed that it’s currently working on new Walt Disney Signature Edition Blu-ray releases of Fantasia and Bambi. The latter film has been out of print on Blu-ray here in the States for a number of years now, so that’s certainly good news for fans. You can learn a bit more here. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’re closing out the week with some interesting announcement news and a few other odds and ends...

First up today, Warner Bros has just announced that HBO’s Westworld: The Complete First Season will be available in Digital HD on 3/6. The Blu-ray and DVD release is expected to follow later in 2017, ahead of the debut of the series’ second season. Meanwhile, the Digital release will have some extras, including 5 behind-the-scenes featurettes (Welcome to Westworld, Crafting the Narrative, An Invitation to the Set, Reality of A.I.: Westworld, and About the Series), as well as 7 The Big Moment clips (Bernard Faces an Unlikely Saboteur, Teddy Versus the Man in Black, A Host Self-Sabotages, Maeve Gets An Answer, Dr. Ford’s Blood Sacrifice, The Truth About Bernard, and Dr. Ford’s New Narrative). [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve got a pair of new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews for all of you to enjoy here at The Bits today. I’ve given Warner’s The Accountant and Sony’s Inferno a spin on the format, both of which are recent releases, and have a few things to say about each. Do give them a look.

Also today, it’s become fairly clear that Amazon and Disney are having another one of their strange business tiffs that involves Amazon pulling all of Disney’s forthcoming Blu-ray titles off of pre-order. Case in point, Moana, Doctor Strange, etc. This may also be why Disney and Lucasfilm have not yet announced the Blu-ray release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, even though it’s already available for pre-order on other retail sites. While they no doubt have their reasons, these actions are a major inconvenience to both Amazon’s customers and Disney’s Blu-ray consumers, so these two companies should get their act together. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, folks... this is one of those posts it’s fun to write. None of this news has been officially announced, it comes from retail sources. But we know from our other industry sources that this information is legit. The street dates may change, but the titles should all be forthcoming.

The Swedish video retailer CDON.com has just listed for pre-order a number of catalog titles that we’ve known were either in production or planning for a while now, but the news is starting to break. They include (listed by studio and European street date):

Universal – The Mummy (1999 – 5/22), The Mummy Returns (5/22), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (5/22), Despicable Me (6/12), Despicable Me 2 (6/12), Gladiator (6/12)

Sony – The Bridge on the River Kwai (6/19), Spider-Man (6/26), Spider-Man 2 (6/26), Spider-Man 3 (6/26), The Amazing Spider-Man (6/26) [Read on here…]

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