Okay, first up today, a quick reminder: Our DVD
Sneak Peek 2007 panel will be held tomorrow morning
(7/26, from 11 AM to Noon Pacific) in Room 5AB of the San Diego
Convention Center. Todd and I will be moderating, and Adam and Sarah
will be on hand as well. Our special guest panelists will include
DVD producers Charles de Lauzirika
(Twin Peaks: The Complete Series,
Blade Runner: The Final Cut),
Robert Meyer Burnett (Shoot
'Em Up, Valkyrie)
and Javier Soto (Hellboy
2). I want to make it clear: We WILL be showing exclusive
footage from both Twin Peaks
and Blade Runner - stuff you
won't see anywhere else. We'll also answer audience questions if
time permits. As I mentioned yesterday, Sarah will have our limited
edition T-shirts available for sale during the panel for just $10.
It's going to be a lot of fun, as always, and you'll be seeing some
VERY cool things, so we hope to see you there!
For those who might be interested, I'll also be participating with
Mark Altman, Jeff Bond, Robert Meyer Burnett, Anthony Pascale and
Daren Dochterman in the Living Long and
Prospering: Celebrating 40 Years of Star Trek panel on
Thursday, from 6 to 7 PM, also in Room 5AB.
Now then... one other Comic-Con note: Our old friend Andy Mangels,
who was on our DVD panel last year, is going to be all over the
place in San Diego. You'll find him doing DVD and book signings,
participating in panel discussions, and even hosting the Scribe
Awards at the show.
here for his schedule if you're interested in saying hello. Be
sure to bring your Filmmation DVDs for him to sign!
And speaking of Scribes, our own Adam Jahnke has been nominated for
a media tie-in award again this year for his work with Lloyd
Kauffman on Toxic Avenger: The Novel.
If you're at the Con on Sunday afternoon, be sure to drop by and
show your support. We're all rooting for him!
Okay, I know I said that we'd catch up with release news on Monday,
but we might as well try to get some of it out of the way now,
because no doubt there will be more announcement news to talk about
from the Con when we get back. So let's get to it...
First up, Warner has announced American
Pastime (7/17), Strictly
Business (9/18), Deadly Friend,
Dr. Giggles, Eyes
of a Stranger, Someone's
Watching Me, The Hand,
From Beyond the Grave, a Twisted
Terror Collection (all the horror titles we just
mentioned for SRP $49.92) and high-def versions of Gods
and Generals (both formats), Gothika
(Blu-ray), The Wild Bunch
(both) and Wyatt Earp (both -
all 9/25), The Reaping (DVD &
both high-def) and an Absolutely
Fabulous: White Box (BBC - both 10/16), Inside
the Green Berets, Secrets of
World War II, Heroes and
Weapons of World War II, Gladiators
of World War II (all BBC), Full
House: The Complete Eighth Season and a Full
House: The Complete Series Collection (all 11/6), and
finally Gilmore Girls: The Complete
Seventh Season and a Gilmore
Girls: The Complete Series Collection (all 11/13).
As we mentioned the other day, New Line has officially confirmed
that they'll be jumping into both Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD later this
year starting with the video release of Hairspray.
Additional details are expected to follow in the weeks ahead. New
Line has also announced the standard DVD release of Flight
of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane on 10/2, with
Havoc 2: Normal Adolescent Behavior
following on 10/16.
20th Century Fox has added Wrong Turn 2:
Dead End to its 10/9 slate, with Voyage
to the Bottom of the Sea: Season 2, Volume 3 following on
MGM has set Teachers, Nobody's
Perfect, Ski School
and Meatballs 4 for release on
8/28, with Griffin & Phoenix
set for 9/11, and Two Weeks,
The Flying Scotsman and A
Dog's Breakfast due 9/18.
On the Blu-ray Disc front, Fox has announced one new MGM title for
release on the format on 9/11... Jeepers
Creepers 2. Fox also informed us at the EMA conference
that they're getting close to announcing more Blu-ray Disc titles of
their own, and that when they do, they'll "be back in a big
way." We hope to learn more very soon.
While we're talking Fox, you may recall how we mentioned a few days
ago that Lucasfilm producer Rick McCallum told audiences at the Star
Wars Celebration convention in Europe recently that the
Star Wars films wouldn't be
released in high-definition until one format emerged a winner.
Industry sources have informed us that McCallum also added that if
the high-def format war isn't resolved soon, the company might skip
high-def disc altogether and release the films in HD via download
In other release news, Sony has set Closure,
The Valet, Married...
with Children: The Complete Seventh Season and Holly
Hobbie Best Friends Forever for DVD release on 9/18,
along with a Blu-ray version of A Few
Good Men. They've also set Black
Book, Tekkon Kinkreet,
Walking Tall: Lone Justice and
King of Queens: The Complete Ninth Season
for 9/25, along with Blu-ray versions of Black
Book, Memoirs of a Geisha,
Underworld: Unrated and Tekkon
Kinkreet. We expect the studio to release Bram
Stoker's Dracula on Blu-ray Disc on 10/2, with a Reign
Over Me Blu-ray following on 10/9, and 20
Million Miles to Earth set to hit the format on 12/4.
Meanwhile, Buena Vista has announced that it's kicking off a
Blu-ray Disc mall tour across the States, 8/17-19 at the Westfield
Topanga Mall in Canoga Park, CA. The tour will offer interactive
display stations, a mini-theater presentation, and will likely
feature previews of Cars, Meet
the Robinsons and Pirates of
the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on Blu-ray. Additional
stops on the tour will include South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, CA
(8/24-26), Westfield North County in Escondido, CA (8/31-9/2),
Westfield San Francisco in San Francisco, CA (9/7-9), Washington
Square in Portland, OR (9/14-16), Westfield South Center in Seattle,
WA (9/21-23), the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN (9/28-30),
Orland Square in Orland Park, IL (10/5-7), Westfield West County in
St. Louis, MO (10/12-14), Tyson Corner Center in McLean, VA
(10/19-21), Roosevelt Field in Garden City, NY (10/26-28),
Burlington Mall in Burlington, MA (11/9-11), King of Prussia in King
of Prussia, PA (11/16-18), Circle Centre in Indianapolis, IN
(11/23-25), Lennox Square in Atlanta, GA (11/30-12/2), The Galleria
in Houston, TX (12/7-9), Barton Creek Square in Austin, TX
(12/14-16) and finally Chandler Fashion Center in Chandler, AZ
In terms of release news, Buena Vista has set Hanah
Montana: Life is What You Make It and Johnny
Kaphala: Back on the Road for 10/9, and Roger Corman's
Eat My Dust: Supercharged Edition
and The Intruder: Special Edition
for 9/25. Cars has also been
confirmed for Blu-ray Disc release (from Disney and Pixar) on 11/6.
Criterion has just revealed that its October DVD release slate will
include John Huston's Under the Volcano
(2 discs, Cat #410), Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless
(2 discs, #408), Gus Van Sant's Mala
Noche (#407) and Terrance Malick's Days
of Heaven (#409).
Universal has set Alfred Hitchcock
Presents: Season Three and Murder,
She Wrote: The Complete Seventh Season for release on
10/9, with Magnum P.I.: The Complete
Seventh Season following on 10/30 and a Curious
George/Babe Two-Movie Collection set for 11/6.
Not done yet... Paramount has announced Wings:
The Fifth Season for 11/6, along with a Chinatown:
Special Collector's Edition and The
Two Jakes: Special Collector's Edition. Christmas
in South Park, Melrose Place:
The Third Season and Perry
Mason: The Second Season, Volume 2 follow on 11/13. Newly
announced titles for October include American
Gangster: The Complete First Season and I
Love New York: The Complete First Season on 10/2.
Lionsgate has revealed that their Blu-ray Disc slate for August and
September will include the animated Doctor
Strange (8/14), National
Lampoon's Van Wilder (8/21), Delta
Farce (9/4), and The Condemned
and House of 1000 Corpses
While at EMA, we were able to confirm that Tartan will be releasing
a number of titles exclusively in Blu-ray Disc format in both the
U.S. and U.K. later this year, including Oldboy
(in October or November).
Image Entertainment also informed us at the show that Caligula
will be released in both HD formats later in 2007 or early in 2008,
along with additional titles to be named.
Finally, we also learned at the EMA convention that BCI will begin
releasing select titles on HD-DVD format (and possibly Blu-ray as
well) sometime later in 2007. We expect additional details to follow
in the weeks ahead.
Okay, that's it for now. We're off to San Diego. But never fear:
We'll be back early tomorrow morning with more cool release news.
We'll also have our EMA Day Three and Four posts up as soon as we
return from San Diego early next week, along with a Monday rundown
of all the DVD and high-def news out of Comic-Con.
All right... the EMA fun continues this afternoon, with
in-depth report on the events of Day Two at the convention.
It's all the fun of being there (more or less), with none of that
icky travel feeling. Or something. Anyway, we think you'll find it
an entertaining read. It definitely captures the experience.
By the way, we've got a couple of quick announcements for you.
First, we're already knee-deep in preparations for our Comic-Con
DVD Sneak Peek 2007 panel,
which happens this coming Thursday morning (11 AM) down at the San
Diego Convention Center. So it may be that our release news wrap-up
from the last week or so will have to be postponed until Monday,
when we return to our regular hours of operation here at The
Bits. EMA was a lot of fun, and Comic-Con should be even
MORE fun, but boy... will we ever be glad to get things back to
normal next week!
Anyway, the second bit of news we have today is for those you who
plan to join us at Comic-Con. We've had many requests over the years
for spiffy Digital Bits swag,
but we've never really done any before. However, in honor of our
10th year, we've decided to change that this weekend. So Todd coined
the slogan, Sarah did the graphics and the result is that on
Thursday morning at our panel, we'll have 100 limited-edition Bits
T-shirts available for sale for the super-bargain price of just $10
each. The shirts are available in Gray (sizes L, XL and a few XXL).
We sprung for the good cotton on these bad boys (Hanes Beefy,
baby!), not that scratchy 50/50 crap. So if you've ever been
thinking, "You know... I wonder if The
Bits guys will ever get around to making T-shirts for
their readers...," here you go.
We give you The OFFICIAL Digital
Bits/Comic-Con 2007 T-Shirt...
We'll be back tomorrow with more EMA coverage and some other news
too, so stay tuned!
We're checking in with a rare Sunday post for a couple of
First, Adam has posted
Electric Theatre column to honor the memory of Sherman
Torgan, the owner of the New Beverly Cinema in L.A., who sadly
passed away last week.
Also, we've kicked off a new
Bits Power Buy today, in conjunction with DocDVD:
You can get awesome deals on Pioneer's Elite Blu-ray Disc player,
the BDP-94HD, as well as Pioneer's new Elite HDMI 1.3a receiver, the
VSX-91TXH, which decodes both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD. Click on the
link to find out more about those.
Finally, here's a big piece of news that broke out of EMA: New Line
informed retailers at the conference that they're going to start
releasing their films on both Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD formats later
this year. The studio had originally announced that they planned to
support both formats this year at CES in January, but they'd been
hoping to use Warner's TotalHD combo format. However, with TotalHD
delayed until at least early next year, New Line has apparently
decided that they'll start their high-def releases in time for the
holidays, beginning with the video release of their new Hairspray
feature film. We'll have more on this as it becomes available.
We'll be back tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Yes... yes, I know. You guys have been REALLY patient. And we
appreciate it. As you might have guessed, we didn't have the chance
to make updates from the show at EMA in Las Vegas. Wireless access
was surprisingly spotty at the Venetian, and the responsibilities of
making sure our group was having a good time (not to mention helping
to coordinate all the meetings and demos) took up so much time, that
each of us ended getting only around four hours of sleep a night. We
also quickly discovered that much of what we saw requires more
processing time than we anticipated - our 70+ strong group
experienced a LOT in just a few short days, that's for sure.
Once our program concluded on Wednesday night, Todd, Adam and I had
still more plans in the offing. We've all been working together for
many years now, but this was the most time we'd ever spent together
- all three of us - in one place. That's just the nature of working
on the Net these days. So bright and early yesterday morning, we
saddled up the rental car and became tourists. In a single day, we
drove from Vegas to the Hoover Dam, from there to Meteor Crater in
Arizona, and then turned around and headed back to Los Angeles -
something on the order of 18 hours of freeway driving. We got back
this morning around 5:30 AM, and have each slept for less than a
couple of hours. Not bad for a group of guys closing in on 40, we
think. But we're absolutely dead to the world right now.
One thing's for sure: A good time was had by all, both at the EMA
event and afterwards when it was just the three of us. For those of
you who attended, thanks so much for coming. It was terrific to meet
some of you for the first time (and some of you again!), having
known many of you via e-mail and HTF
posts for so long. I also especially want to thank all of our
friends over at
(Ron, you and your guys are the best) and also Gord Lacey and the
crew at TV
Shows on DVD (ditto). And of course, all of us here at
The Bits want to thank the
folks at EMA, and all of the studio and HD format people who came to
present to our group.
Both The Bits and HTF
will have full coverage of EMA for those of you who couldn't be
there starting on Monday, including lots of pictures and our
impressions on the things we saw and experienced. And, as always,
we'll catch you up on the latest release news too. In the meantime,
here's a few pictures of our humble Bits
crew - first all of us at EMA (left to right, that's Sarah, me, Todd
and Adam), Ron Epstein of HTF
and myself at the show, and finally Todd, Adam and I on the road
yesterday near Meteor Crater, AZ. You can't tell from our obvious
glee in those last two pictures, but we narrowly missed getting hit
by lightning as we took them. In retrospect, it probably wasn't too
smart of us to stand next to the only vertical metal object for
miles during a thunderstorm, but that sign was just too damn cool to
pass up. Sarah, probably wisely, didn't want to endure an entire day
of driving in the car through 100-degree heat, so she didn't join us
on our little misadventure...
I don't know how Sarah puts up with the rest of us knuckleheads, I
Okay folks... that's it for now. See you all on Monday!
Morning, everyone! Well... this is a big week here at The
Bits. We're off to Vegas with our friends from the Home
Theater Forum to attend the
Expo (formerly VSDA, where the studios go to show off
their upcoming titles to retailers). And as part of our joint 10th
anniversary celebration, we've got a group of some 70 Bits
readers and HTF members along
with us. We've lined up a special slate of private events - studio
demonstrations and the like - for our group to take in, so it's
going to a lot of fun.
I'm bringing the laptop, so if circumstances (and wireless access)
allow, we'll try to make a post each evening to catch you all up on
the latest news and announcements from the show. We're also going to
be taking lots of pictures, so watch for a gallery of those to be
posted after we get back. In the meantime, just recognize that our
posts may be a little more spotty than usual this week. Hope you
Now then... first up today, our own Adam Jahnke (who's car pooling
with me to Vegas later this morning), has posted a brand new
installment of his
Theatre today. In this edition, he reviews Transformers,
Rescue Dawn, Harry
Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Live
Free or Die Hard and Talk to
Me, now playing at your local googleplex.
Also, as always, our own Russell Hammond has updated the
DVD Cover Art section with all the latest DVD, Blu-ray and
HD-DVD cover art. Our Amazon pre-order links are also updated, so a
portion of anything you purchase through our links will go to
support our work here at The Bits.
We very much appreciate it!
In announcement news today, Image Entertainment has revealed a new
Caligula: Four-Disc Imperial Edition
DVD for release on 10/2 (SRP $39.99). The set will include both the
uncensored and unrated theatrical cut, as well as a pre-release
version containing more never-before-seen footage. Extras will also
be extensive, including audio commentary with Malcolm McDowell and
Helen Mirren, a new interview with director Tinto Brass, 2 versions
of the Making of Caligula
documentary, hours of deleted and alternate footage, the soundtrack
on CD, Gore Vidal's screenplay on DVD-ROM and much more. It sounds
like an impressive set. You can read more
at Video Business.
Also, Warner has set Whiskey School
for DVD release on 10/30 (for Polychrome).
Miramax will release Lasse Hallström's The
Hoax on DVD on 10/16 (SRP $29.99). Extras will include
audio commentary with Hallström and writer William Wheeler, a
second commentary with producers Leslie Holleran and Josh Maurer, 13
minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary, the Stranger
than Fiction, Mike Wallace:
Reflections on a Con and Business
as Pleasure featurettes, an Easter egg and more.
Finally, Lionsgate has revealed their August release slate, which
will include a Brigitte Bardot Box Set
(Naughty Girl, Love
on a Pillow, The Vixen,
Come Dance with Me and Two
Weeks in September), a Luis Buñuel
Box Set (Gran Casino
and The Young One), The
Dresden Files: Season One, a Saved
by the Bell: Double Feature (Hawaiian
Style and Wedding in Vegas),
a UFC Box Set, Doodlebops:
Get on the Bus!, Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 5 and The
Doom Generation (repackaged) on 8/7, Acts
of Death, Doctor Strange,
Drunken Monkey and The
Best of Saturday Night Live Collection: DVD 10-Pack on
8/14, Borderline Cult, a National
Lampoon's Van Wilder Blu-Ray Disc, Malicious,
I Pity the Fool and a Rob
Zombie Box Set (House of 1000
Corpses, The Devil's Rejects:
Unrated and a bonus disc that contains the 30
Days in Hell: The Making of The Devil's Rejects
documentary) on 8/21, and I Love Miami,
a Dr. T and the Women: Special Edition
(I REALLY pity the fool who has to sit through that!), Grandes
Luchadores, Care Bears:
Fitness Fun, Care Bears: Gift
of Caring and Miss Spider's
Sunny Patch Friends: Bug-a-Boo Day Play on 8/28.
In other news around the Net this morning, it seems that Toshiba
will be offering their HD-A2 HD-DVD player (plus 3 free discs) for
$99 this week to attendees of the EMA convention in Las Vegas. You
can read more
at Home Media. The HD-DVD camp is clearly working to
get as many players into the market as possible for the upcoming
holiday season, which could be make or break for the format.
On a related note,
has a very interesting story up today on the mounting pressure
on Universal to go format neutral and support both Blu-ray as well
as HD-DVD, like Paramount and Warner.
Back on the subject of moving hardware for a moment, it seems that
Sony's $100 price cut to clear out all of its 60GB PS3 systems
worked for them. According to the
News site, Circuit City stores are sold out of the units.
Indeed, a quick an informal survey of local retailers here in Orange
County over the weekend found low or no stock on the units at many
retailers. It'll be interesting to see if Sony offers a sale price
on it's new 89GB unit before the holidays as well.
Finally today, there's interesting Indy
and Star Wars news: At the
Star Wars Celebration event in
Europe this past weekend, George Lucas' longtime producer, Rick
McCallum, spilled the beans on some interesting release plans at
Lucasfilm. It seems that the first of several volumes of Young
Indiana Jones episodes will finally be released on DVD on
to this link at the official Star Wars blog, the first
batch of discs will street in October, followed by another in
January and one more right after the theatrical release of Indy
IV. There's an audio recording at that link of some of
McCallum's presentation. Several Bits
readers who were on hand at the event have e-mailed us to say that
Rick also told the gathering that the Star
Wars films will NOT be released in high-definition until
there is a clear winner in the Blu-ray Disc/HD-DVD format war
(implying that they'll eventually be released on only one of the two
formats). I expect we'll hear more about this next week at Comic-Con
in San Diego. By the way, the audio recording also offers some new
information on the planned Star Wars
live action series, as well as the future prospects for a theatrical
release of the Star Wars films
in 3-D. It's worth checking out.
Okay, that's it for today. Time to hit the road. Have a great
Monday and we'll try to check in with you again tomorrow from EMA.
Okay... we've checked with 20th Century Fox on that EzyDVD
Wars: The Ultimate Collection we mentioned yesterday.
Turns out it's exactly what we thought it was. This is NOT the
super-ultimate box set we've all been hoping for, just a retailer
assembled bundle of all of the previously released DVDs sets. The
retailer's page has since been updated with pictures of the discs to
clarify this. So that settles that.
Now then... we have a little bit more release news for you this
First, Paramount has set The Sarah
Silverman Program: Season One for release on 10/2, Girlfriends:
The Second Season and CSI: NY:
The Third Season for 10/9, The
L Word: The Complete Fourth Season for 10/23, and American
Gangster: The Complete First Season, I
Love Lucy: The Complete Series, NCIS:
The Fourth Season and Avatar:
The Last Airbender - Book 3: Fire, Volume 1 on 10/30.
Speaking of Fox, the studio has set a Jingle
All the Way: Family Fun Edition for release on 10/16.
Also on the DVD front, Image Entertainment has set the National
Film Preservation Foundation's 4-disc Treasures
III: Social Issues in American Film - 1900-1934 for
release in October (10/16 - SRP $89.99). The 12 ½ hour set will
include a 200-page book, along with 4 feature films and some 44
vintage documentaries, cartoons, newsreels, serial episodes and PSAs
exploring various social issues. You can read more on the set
In Blu-ray news today, Sony BMG has announced David
Gilmour: Remember That Night for release on Blu-ray Disc
Starz (Anchor Bay) has revealed that Halloween
and both its Evil Dead films
and Dawn of the Dead films
will all be released on Blu-ray Disc this October (exact street
dates TBA)! Here's hoping that the Highlander
films, Ghost in the Shell and
other great titles will follow.
Other recent or soon to be official Blu-ray exclusive announcements
include Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds:
Live at Radio City (Sony BMG - 8/28), Delta
Farce (Lionsgate - 9/4), A Few
Good Men (Sony - 9/18), Bug
(Lionsgate - 9/25), The Hoax
(Miramax - 10/16) and The Invisible
(BVHE - 10/16).
On the BD hardware front, Wal-Mart is offering a pretty nice deal
for those interested in buying a Blu-ray player. They're offering
Sony's new BDP-S300 player for $488, plus they're bundling two
titles (Open Season and Gridiron
Gang) right in the box. On top of that, Sony has a
mail-in offer for 5 free movies with the purchase any player, making
this a pretty sweet deal. You can read more
Also, could this be Denon's forthcoming Blu-ray Disc player, or is
it just a marketing/design mock-up? Almost certainly, it's the
latter. But the Coroflot industrial design website has posted photos
of a BD player (the DVD-HD8910) and a new 7.1 media center/receiver
as well (the AVR-HD8910). The text indicates that the receiver comes
equipped with a 2TB built-in hard drive (!) and a direct connection
to the iTunes music store. And both are... well, darned funky
looking. Here's a gander...
This image is taken from a full-page Denon brochure for the units,
Real or not (and we think it's almost certainly not - it's just a
design flight of fancy), it's certainly... well, interesting. Yikes!
On the HD-DVD front, Digital Leisure has announced that the Dragon's
Lair interactive game will appear on the format on 8/15.
The game had previously only been available on Blu-ray. The company
is also planning to release Space Ace
and Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp
in both HD formats later this year.
Finally today, another announcement: Writer/director Hal Masonberg
is trying to rally fan support to encourage Screen Gems to release
The Plague: The Writers & Director's
Cut on DVD. He's been a longtime Bits
reader, so we're happy to help him out. If you want to join Hal's
effort, please visit his
The Plague website and sign up.
Afternoon, folks! We've got more news, some new contests and lots
of cover art for you to check out today.
First though... here's one for The Rumor
Mill. Australian online retailer EzyDVD has a listing for
a 12-disc Star
Wars: The Ultimate Collection, even though Fox and
Lucasfilm have both said that no such release is planned this year.
We suspect that it might just be a set of all the previous DVD
releases of these films gathered in one pack, but we'll try to learn
Now let's have some official release news... Warner has announced a
number of new titles today, including the Looney
Tunes: Golden Collection - Volume 5 and the Looney
Tunes: Spotlight Collection - Volume 5 both on 10/30.
More details will follow. Also newly announced by Warner are NBA
Champions 2007: San Antonio Spurs (on 9/4), a Selena:
10th Anniversary Special Edition and the BBC's Ballykissangel:
Complete Collection (9/18), the Craziest
Christmas Collection (10/2 - includes Tom
and Jerry: Paws for a Holiday, Scooby-Doo:
Winter Wonderdog and Looney
Tunes: Bah Humduck), National Geographic's Engineering
Egypt (10/16), The Adventures
of Aquaman: Collection, The
Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians and National
Geographic's World's Last Great Places
Collection Giftset (10/23), the BBC's The
Day of the Triffids, Doctor
Who: Ep.123 - Time Flight and Doctor
Who: Ep.124 - Arc of Infinity as well as National
Geographic's Nefertiti and the Lost
Dynasty (11/6), and the BBC's Black
Books: The Complete Third Series and The
Complete Black Book (11/13).
Also today, Infinity Entertainment has announced the DVD release of
Hopalong Cassidy: The Complete Television
Collection on 8/7. The 12-disc set (SRP $79.98) will
contain all 52 classic episodes along with 10 bonus films staring
Hopalong (he appeared in some 66 such films in the 30s and 40s).
Also included is the Public Hero #1
documentary from Starz Encore's Western Channel, featuring Hoppy's
widow Grace Bradley Boyd, actor Dennis Weaver and film
critic/historian Leonard Maltin.
Infinity has also announced The
Adventures of Jim Bowie: The Complete Collection (also
due 8/7), which includes all 76 episodes on 10 discs (SRP $69.98).
In news around the Net today, Microsoft has announced that they
have no planned price cuts for their Xbox 360 game system. Many in
the industry, including myself, had expected that they would drop
the price in response to Sony's new $100 PS3 price reduction,
story hinted that the system isn't yet profitable enough
company's recent move to address 360 technical problems) to
allow this. You can read more
at Home Media.
technica has a story up on a new microholography process
being employed by the Institute of Optics and Optical Technologies
at the Technical University of Berlin which reportedly allows up to
500GB of data storage on a DVD-sized disc. If disc-based media
survives long-term, some form of this basic concept is almost
certainly going to play a role.
We've got some cool new cover art for you today... here's a look at
HBO's Entourage: Season Three, Part Two
(10/2), Warner's The Jazz Singer:
Three-Disc Deluxe Edition (10/16), Troy:
Director's Cut - Two-Disc Special Edition and Troy:
Director's Cut Blu-ray Disc (both 9/18), Sony's The
Lives of Others and Immortal
Beloved Blu-ray Discs (both 8/21), Infinity's Hopalong
Cassidy: The Complete Television Collection, and Fox's
28 Weeks Later (10/9) and Family
Guy: Volume Five (9/18). Amazon pre-order links are
provided where available...
Finally today, something of an announcement: The
Digital Bits and a number of other online sites and
bloggers are contributing to a new industry-sponsored website called
The site is dedicated to discussion of the latest in high-definition
home entertainment and the Blu-ray Disc format in particular, and is
supported by Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Studios
among other companies. You'll find a wide variety of news, features,
reviews, exclusive interviews and other information about the future
of high-definition home entertainment. 20-year veteran Hollywood
journalist Scott Hettrick (Daily Variety,
Video Business) is
contributing a regular blog and editorial services. I want to make
it clear that The Bits'
involvement is voluntary and we're not getting paid for it. We're
doing it because, like Scott and many others who have been involved
with this industry for years, we believe that Blu-ray Disc is almost
certain to emerge the winner in the high-def format war based on
current sales trends and the format's overwhelming hardware and
software support. Says Hettrick, "From a
marketing and industry support standpoint, I think that they really
have a far better chance of being successful." We
obviously agree. You can read more on this
at Home Media and
at Video Business, and of course you can visit the
site itself at the link above.
Back with more tomorrow, so stay tuned...
Okay... we're so busy right now, I can't even tell you. We're
getting ready for EMA, Comic-Con and a lot more - a good problem
certainly but the days are VERY long right now. By the way, we'll
have more on Comic-Con in a minute.
Let's start with some new release news this afternoon. 20th Century
Fox has announced the DVD release of 28
Weeks Later on 10/9. The DVD (SRP $29.98) will include
anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio
commentary with director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and co-writer
Enrique Lopez Lavigne, 3 featurettes (Code
Red: The Making of 28 Weeks Later, The
Infected and Getting into the
Action), 13 minutes of deleted scenes with optional
commentary, the 28 Days Later: The
Aftermath Flash-animated graphic novel and the film's
theatrical trailer. That same day, you'll also be able to purchase a
28 Days/Weeks Later Two-Pack Collection
(SRP $34.98) containing both films. We expect that Blu-ray Disc
versions will be announced soon, but that's not yet confirmed.
Also coming from Fox on 9/18 is Family
Guy: Volume 5. The 3-disc set (SRP $39.98) will include
13 episodes from the show's fifth season, 38 deleted scenes, audio
commentary on each episode with Seth MacFarlane and members of the
cast and crew, 3 animatic episodes with optional commentary and 2
featurettes (Drawing Peter and
Toys, Toys Galore).
Fox has also announced The Tripper:
Unrated for release on 10/30, and Shark:
Season One on 10/2.
In other news, HBO has announced the DVD release of Entourage:
Season 3, Part 2 on 10/2. The 2-disc set (SRP $39.98)
will include 8 episodes in anamorphic widescreen video, the Anatomy
of Entourage featurette, footage from the Museum of
Television and Radio panel with the cast and episode audio
Meanwhile, in addition to the Troy:
Unrated Director's Cut we mentioned yesterday (due 9/18),
Warner has also announced a Troy:
Ultimate Collector's Edition (SRP $39.92). The Ultimate
release includes the same 2-disc DVD extras as the Unrated
Director's Cut (these extras are included on both
high-def versions as well), but adds some cool swag, including The
Art of Troy photo book, behind-the-scenes photos and
select pages from the film's shooting script.
Warner has also announced the DVD release of the animated Shaggy
and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue: Volume 1 on 10/30 (SRP
$14.97), as well as Robot Chicken: Season
2 - Uncensored (SRP $29.98) on 9/4. Robot
Chicken will include 20 episodes on 2 discs, plus a bonus
Christmas episode, deleted scenes and animatics, commentaries on
every episode, behind-the-scenes footage, video blogs, a gag reel, a
slide show and the Freedom Rock promotion.
Also today, Buena Vista has set 8 Simple
Rules: The Complete First Season and Home
Improvement: The Complete Seventh Season for release on
8/7. 8 Simple Rules will
include 28 episodes on 3 discs and a blooper reel (SRP $23.99). Home
Improvement will include 25 episodes on 3 discs and a
blooper reel (SRP also $23.99).
And Paramount has set the Nicolas Cage sci-fi actioner Next
for release on both DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD on 9/25. Additional
details will follow when available.
In hardware news, Sharp has just announced a new Blu-ray Disc
player - the BD-HP20S - for release in the 4th quarter. The player
will feature HDMI 1.3, TrueHD and DTS HD support, a new "quick
start" feature to speed up disc load times and more. No word
yet on price.
Samsung has announced that it has a 3rd generation Blu-ray player -
the BD-P1400 - in development for release later this year as well.
The player will support Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD,
and will include a built-in Ethernet port - something previously
only available on HD-DVD players (other than Sony's Blu-ray ready
PS3). You can read more
has posted a story on Sony's PS3 price cut. Somewhat
surprisingly, the story quotes an analyst for industry research firm
Envisioneering Group as saying that the PS3 is already profitable
for Sony. Here's the relevant text:
Sony can cut prices because the company has
fixed production problems with a diode used in the PlayStation 3's
Blu-ray disk player, said Tretton, who is based in Foster City,
California. He declined to discuss costs for the console.
Clearing up the trouble made PlayStation 3 profitable several
months ago, giving the company room to cut prices, analyst Doherty
said. Microsoft still loses money on each Xbox 360 it sells, he
said. "Any price cut they try to make puts them more into the
red,'' Doherty said.
We can't verify any of that, but it's certainly interesting.
Okay... that's the major software and hardware news today. Now for
some other announcements.
First up, don't forget that tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday), Todd
and I make our appearance on the
Shocks radio program with Barry Lynn. We recorded the
interview last Friday, and it runs about 20 minutes. You can listen
online via streaming audio at the show's website. We expect to be on
around 5:30 PM Eastern (the show starts at 5). Barry's a longtime
reader and he's definitely plugged into the world of DVD and
high-definition, so it's a good discussion. We talk about DVD, the
new HD formats, DVD double-dips and more.
Also, we're VERY pleased today to announce official details on our
annual Comic-Con panel. We help kick off the show Thursday morning
(7/26) down at the San Diego Convention Center, and we're doing it
in a big way. Here's the official schedule listing:
11:00-12:00 - DVD Sneak Peak 2007
Join Bill Hunt and Todd
Doogan of The Digital Bits.com,
along with DVD producers Charles de
Lauzirika (Blade Runner: The
Final Cut; Twin Peaks: The
Complete Series), Robert Meyer
Burnett (Shoot 'Em Up,
Valkyrie), and Javier
Soto (Hellboy 2),
as they offer exclusive sneak peeks of great upcoming DVD and
high-def special editions in the works for release later this year.
Exclusive footage from Blade Runner
and Twin Peaks will be shown.
Q&A will follow if time permits. Room 5AB
See? We weren't kidding when we told you we've been showing you
something cool! That's right, we're going to give you the VERY FIRST
LOOK anywhere at both Blade Runner: The
Final Cut and Twin Peaks: The
Complete Series! If you're a fan of either title, you're
NOT going to want to miss our panel. You can find lots more schedule
at the official Comic-Con website. We should also note that if
you're a Blade Runner fan, you
don't want to miss Warner's own panel in Hall H (3:15-4:45 on
Friday) - Ridley Scott himself will be there, along with futurist
Syd Mead and others. Mead is also holding his own Blade
Runner panel on Thursday afternoon (after ours at
1:30-2:30) in Room 6B. You can bet we'll be on hand, so we hope to
see you there!
Also, while we're on the subject of Comic-Con, our very own Adam
Jahnke has been nominated once again for a Scribe Award by the
International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. Adam
and Uncle Lloyd Kauffman are both up in the Best
Novel - Adapted category for their
Avenger: The Novel. The Awards ceremony will be held on
Sunday at the Con from 2:00-3:30 in Room 5AB. They're even going to
be hosted by our old friend
Mangels. Adam, we'll definitely be rooting for you!
Okay, we'll be back early tomorrow with more, so stay tuned...
Afternoon, folks! Hope your weekend was a fine one. Let's get right
to the news today...
Here's great news for you classic film fans... Warner has just
announced the DVD release of Al Jolson's original 1927 The
Jazz Singer in a 3-disc 80th
Anniversary Edition. As many of you know, The
Jazz Singer was the first feature-length film to have
recorded dialogue and music synchronized to the images. The set will
be released on 10/16 (SRP $39.98). The restored and remastered
release will include vintage cartoons, rare Vitaphone shorts, early
sound shorts and the new, feature-length documentary The
Dawn of Sound: How Movies Learned to Talk. We have, of
course, updated our original
Top 100 Films on DVD list (guess we'll have to post the
new list as well one of these days). Now if only we could get an
official release of The African Queen
Warner has more big news today... the studio will be releasing
Wolfgang Petersen's all-new, unrated Troy:
Director's Cut on 2-disc DVD, as well as Blu-ray Disc and
HD-DVD, on 9/18 (SRP $20.97 for DVD, $34.99 for each high-def
version). The film itself will run an additional 30 minutes in
length. Special features will include Troy
Revisited: An Introduction by Wolfgang Petersen, 6
documentary featurettes (Troy in Focus,
In the Thick of the Battle,
From Ruins to Reality, Troy:
An Effects Odyssey, Attacking
Troy and Greek Ship Towing)
and a theatrical trailer.
Warner is also releasing (for the BBC) a new Blue
Planet: Seas of Life - Special Edition on 10/2 (SRP
$59.98). The 5-disc set will contain new interviews, 80 minutes of
behind-the-scenes footage (a 10-minute featurette for each episode),
4 new documentaries (Amazon Abyss,
Dive to Shark Volcano, Between
the Tides and Antarctica)
and a photo gallery. You'll also be able to purchase a Planet
Earth/Blue Planet: Special Collector's Set that same day
that contains both documentary series on DVD for $119.99.
In other release news, Lionsgate is releasing a Cujo:
25th Anniversary Edition DVD on 9/25 (SRP $19.98). The
disc will include audio commentary by director Lewis Teague and the
Dog Days: The Making of Cujo
3-part documentary (includes new interviews with Teague, director of
photography Jan de Bont, producers Daniel H. Blatt and Robert
Singer, actor Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Stephen King's biographer
Douglas E. Winter and more).
Also on 9/25, Genius Products and ESPN will be releasing the 8-part
dramatic series, The Bronx Is Burning,
on DVD. The series follows the New York Yankees in the famous summer
of 1977. The 3-disc set (SRP $39.92) will include more than 2 hours
of bonus content, including new interviews with George Steinbrenner
and Reggie Jackson, complete 1977 Yankee statistics, in-depth player
bios, featurettes and more.
For those of you who have been thinking about picking up a Sony PS3
but were a little sticky on the price tag, Sony has just dropped the
$599 60GB version by $100. That puts the PS3 at $499. You can read
Business. Some in the industry expect that Microsoft may
drop the price of their Xbox 360 in response. Not surprisingly,
sales at Amazon of the
are up 2800% today (according to
Movers and Shakers list).
Around the site today, our own Russell Hammond has updated
DVD Cover Art section with all the latest DVD, Blu-ray
Disc and HD-DVD cover art, as well as Amazon pre-order links, as
usual. Be sure to check it out.
Also, we've got some news in
Rumor Mill this morning that's going to make you Disney
Blu-ray Disc fans very excited... and maybe sci-fi fans too. Don't
And finally today, Sarah's got something very special for you Harry
gallery of photos taken yesterday at the Hollywood premiere of
Warner's new Harry Potter and the Order
of the Phoenix. The Chinese Theatre was a madhouse, let
me tell you. Muggles (especially the teenaged female variety) were
out in serious numbers to scream and swoon at the film's stars.
We've got a quick follow-up on that story about the European Union
from yesterday. There's an IDG News Service story out of Paris (
on PC World.ca ), that indicates that the EU began
investigating the Hollywood studios and the backers of BOTH high-def
formats on its own initiative. This began in early June. From the
story: "There have been no complaints
from companies in the industry," said Audrey Lemonnier, press
officer for the cabinet of European Commissioner for Competition
Neelie Kroes. This is at odds with information in the
Street Journal story we linked to yesterday. However, the
WSJ story apparently features
input from unnamed sources (presumably at some of the Hollywood
studios under investigation) who have come to believe, based on the
specific documents requested and questions asked by the EU, that the
focus has shifted more to Blu-ray in the last couple of weeks. The
WSJ story also indicates that
the HD-DVD camp has been lobbying the commission to do exactly that.
We'll keep an eye on this for you, but our guess is that it's all
going to come to nothing. In fact, if the EU is truly investigating
both formats, Universal's exclusive relationship with HD-DVD would
have to be just as subject to scrutiny. We're guessing there's
plenty of closeted skeletons to go around. It sure is fascinating,
Just a quick announcement: Todd and I are going to be doing an
interview with Barry Lynn for his
Shocks radio program this afternoon. We first spoke with
Barry about DVD issues a few years ago, and it's always interesting
talking with him. The interview will run about 20 minutes and is
being taped to air next Wednesday (7/11) starting at about 5PM
Eastern (2PM Pacific). You'll be able to hear it on all the
broadcast stations around the country that carry his show (see his
website linked above for all the listings) as well as XM Channel
159. You can also listen live online on the site.
Okay... let's have some announcements. First up, Warner is
releasing Murder Game on DVD
And Universal has set The Spooktacular
New Adventures of Casper: Volume One for release on 9/18.
They've also announced that Bickford
Shmeckler's Cool Ideas is moving from 8/7 to 8/21, and
that 30 Rock is being released
in 30 Rock: Season 1, Volume 1
and 30 Rock: Season 1, Volume 2
editions on 9/4 (SRP $26.98 each) in addition to the complete season
version ($49.98) available that same day.
By the way, if release announcements have seemed slow this week,
it's due to the July 4th holiday - a lot of studio execs have taken
this week off. Also, you're likely to see a lot more release news
later this month timed to coincide with the EMA conference (formerly
VSDA) and Comic-Con. We'll be at both events to cover all the
details for you.
Here at the site, we've updated many of the DVD and HD format stats
we track ( above),
so be sure to check them out.
Finally this morning, I wanted to remind you all that this Saturday
(tomorrow) is the big LIVE
EARTH concert event here in the States and all around the
globe. I know there's still some out there who think Global Warming
is a political conspiracy, but screw the politics. I'm a big
believer in science and let me tell you... the science here is ROCK
solid. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise (to avoid another
Soapbox controversy, that's as
much as I'll say here - I'll be happy to send links to the latest
scientific research to anyone who
Regardless of all that... this is just gonna be 24 hours of GREAT
live music. You've got Foo Fighters, Roger Waters, Smashing
Pumpkins, Madonna, Bon Jovi, Snoop Dogg, Beastie Boys, Genesis, Bloc
Party, Duran Duran, Metallica, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Spinal
Tap (yes, you read that right) and many more. Capping it all off, my
favorite band, The Police, are playing too. And our own Jeff Kleist
would like me to take this opportunity to remind you that there may
be international acts that you've never heard of that you'll be able
to see live in the early AM tomorrow. He's personally worked to
bring a bunch of them to the U.S. in the past, and is hoping that
Live Earth will allow many more people to see what they're missing.
So be sure to set that TiVo and check out Abington Boys School (aka
TM Revolution), Kumi Koda, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Rip Slyme, Bonnie
Pink and others on the Live Earth
stage . In fact, you'll be able to see and hear ALL of these
great concert performances tomorrow: NBC is broadcasting highlights,
Sundance and Universal HD (in high-definition!) will be live all
day, it'll be on Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo... even
are both getting in on the act all day long if you have satellite
radio (they have each concert event on a separate channel). Plus,
you can bet there will be a DVD release eventually, and we're hoping
even Blu-ray and HD-DVD releases too. So be sure to check it out,
enjoy some outstanding music and maybe you'll learn a few things
too. It should be fun.
And with that, have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on
Monday. Peace out.
Sorry we disappeared there for a couple of days. We'd planned to
take the 4th of July holiday off, of course, but we'd hoped to
update the site on the 3rd. Unfortunately, while we were travelling,
our Wi-Fi access was spotty and we weren't able to connect with the
old Networld. Ah well. Technology is a fickle mistress.
Anyway, let's catch you up on some release news.
First, 20th Century Fox has set A Dog's
Breakfast for DVD release on 9/18.
Sony has announced Blue Smoke
and Carolina Moon DVDs for
9/11, along with a Blu-ray Disc version of The
Replacement Killers: Extended Cut.
Meanwhile, Universal has set The Starter
Wife and Las Vegas: Season
Four for release on 9/11. Georgia
Rule arrives on DVD on 9/4. And Cat
People, Patch Adams
and The Getaway street on
HD-DVD on 9/25.
New Line has set Gracie for
release on 9/18.
Finally, Warner has revealed a number of new titles including Murder
Game (on 9/4), Smallville: The
Complete Sixth Season (on 9/18 on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and
HD-DVD), Everybody Loves Raymond: The
Complete Ninth Season (also 9/18), D.L.
Hughley: Unapologetic (9/25), Galapagos
(for the BBC on 10/2 on Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD as well as DVD),
Friends of God: A Road Trip with
Alexandra Pelosi (10/9) and Subway
Stories (on 10/16).
We've got a little bit of new cover art for you today: Buena
Vista's What About Brian: The Complete
Series (9/25), Universal's preliminary art for 30
Rock: Season 1 (9/4) and Paramount's Funny
Face: 50th Anniversary Edition (10/2)....
And around the Net today, here's an indication of just how bitterly
this high-def format war is being fought (and how desperate the
HD-DVD camp is becoming in battling Blu-ray Disc).
Wall Street Journal today has a story on how the European
Union's European Commission is investigating the HD format war.
Specifically, Microsoft and Toshiba have asked the EU to investigate
the Blu-ray camp for anti-trust violations (a tactic they've tried
unsuccessfully here in the U.S. in the past as well). Here's the
relevant text from the story: "The HD
DVD camp has been lobbying the commission to draw attention to
Blu-ray's tactics in the movie capital in a bid to force more
studios to put their product on HD DVD, according to people familiar
with the situation." In other words, the HD-DVD camp
can't seem to win this war based on consumer sales alone, even after
slashing their hardware prices, so now they're trying other measures
to try to force the many Blu-ray exclusive Hollywood studios to
support their format too.
This is what you need to know: The Christmas shopping season this
year is almost certainly going to make or break HD-DVD. The HD-DVD
camp knows this as well as anyone. (We suspect that this is one of
the reasons Warner has delayed their TotalHD combo plans until early
next year - after the holidays to see how things play out.) The
HD-DVD camp's media rhetoric seems to have shifted dramatically in
recent months from how they're going to win to how they're going to
survive. They must know that if software sales trends continue the
way they have so far this year in favor of Blu-ray, many other
retailers are going to follow Blockbuster in favoring that format
alone. So the HD-DVD camp is doing everything they can just to stay
in the game, from additional hardware price cuts, to announcements
gets 1000 movies from Amazon" (except not really because
they haven't been made yet and the deal - according to Amazon - is
non-exclusive and open to Blu-ray as well) and on and on. But here
is the reality: According to Tom Adams, president of Adams Media
(from the WSJ story), 105,000
stand-alone Blu-ray players have sold to date compared to about
150,000 HD-DVD players. However, 1.5 million PlayStation 3s are in
the hands of consumers (which can all play Blu-ray movies) compared
to 160,000 who have purchased HD-DVD add-on drives for the Xbox 360.
So the market right now is roughly 1.6 million Blu-ray capable
machines compared to 310,000 HD-DVD machines. Even if only a small
fraction of PS3 owners are watching movies (and given the 2 or 3 to
1 Blu-ray software sales edge despite the smaller number of
stand-alone Blu-ray machines in the market, at least some MUST be),
there's still no contest. Compounding the HD-DVD camp's problems,
their stand-alone hardware sales forecasts are being downgraded even
despite dramatic hardware price cuts, while Blu-ray stand-alone
hardware prices are slowly but steadily dropping too. In other
words, price is the only advantage the HD-DVD camp has left... and
by this time next year that advantage is likely to largely
evaporate. (Though we wouldn't be shocked to see Toshiba cut their
player prices to $199 or even lower for the holidays in a last ditch
attempt to move large numbers of units.)
What all this means to you, is that Blu-ray is rapidly becoming the
clear choice. In our opinion, there's just no chance that HD-DVD is
going to win this format war, and the HD-DVD camp's increasingly
desperate moves now should make that obvious to all. With Blu-ray
hardware prices dropping, and with Fox and MGM about to start adding
their catalog titles to the BD exclusive title slate of Disney,
Sony, Lionsgate and now Anchor Bay/Starz (not to mention all the
great BD titles coming from Warner and Paramount), if you've been
thinking about getting into high-def discs, now's a great time to
jump in with Blu-ray. And if you'd rather wait a little longer for
lower prices and greater hardware and software selection... there's
still nothing wrong with existing DVD in the meantime. Regardless,
we've said from the very beginning that this HD format war wasn't
going to be good for anyone. But the writing seems to be on the wall
at this point and, with a little luck, we'll see the last gasps of
this skirmish play out by Christmas. At this rate, the CES
convention in January 2008 is likely to be VERY interesting indeed.
It's likely to be a fairly slow news week, what with the Fourth of
July holiday here in the States, although we are anticipating the
possibility of at least one big announcement over the next few days.
We'll be sure to chime in if it happens.
First things first today. Our own Russell Hammond has once again
Upcoming DVD Cover Art section with all the latest
DVD, Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD cover art and Amazon.com pre-order
links. There's lots of new stuff to see, so don't miss it!
In terms of announcement news this morning, Warner has set Galapagos
for DVD release on 10/2 (for the BBC), along with the A
Room with a View: Special Edition on both Blu-ray Disc
and HD-DVD. They have also set a Roots:
The Complete Collection 10-disc DVD box set (SRP $119.82,
with exclusive bonus disc) and Roots: The
Next Generations ($59.98) for release on 10/9.
Also, Universal has set Las Vegas:
Season Four and The Starter
Wife for release on 9/11.
Around the Net this morning, Ken Pierce has written a very
interesting companion argument to my original
as to why Blu-ray Disc is likely to dominate the HD format war.
Ken's looked at the biggest films of the last few years and
calculated the percentages of those films, by studio grosses, that
are available for release on each format. It's called
The Numbers, and you'll find it in Ken's Random Thoughts
blog over at the Pixel Perfect website. This is our chief
argument exactly - content is everything and Blu-ray dominates in
terms of studio support.
And here at The Bits today,
we've updated some of the DVD and high-def format stats we track (above),
including the Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD software sales numbers. For the
week ending 6/24, Blu-ray is once again ahead by a 70/30 margin.
Finally today, we have some new cover art for you. First is Buena
Vista's Lost: The Complete Third Season -
The Unexplored Experience (12/11), along with
Lionsgate's Monster Squad: Two-Disc 20th
Anniversary Edition (7/24). Finally, we have what looks
to be French temp packaging for Sony's forthcoming Spider-Man
Trilogy on Blu-ray Disc (TBA) from
It's a very slow news day so far here at The
Bits today, but that's fine because we've got us some
Comic-Con panel planning to do. We'll tell you more about that next
week, but suffice it to say that if you're going to be down at the
Con in San Diego next month, you DEFINITELY want to drop by our
Thursday morning event. We are going to show some VERY cool and
exclusive-to-our-panel footage from some VERY cool upcoming DVD and
high-def releases. Seriously, if you pass it up, you WILL be bummed
once you learn what we're planning to show you. 'Nuff for now.
Okay, we do have just a couple DVD-related news items for you this
First, Sony has set Bobby Z
and Wind Chill for DVD release
Also Warner has announced the animated Charlie
& Lola: Volume 6: How Many Minutes Until Christmas.
Look for it in stores on 10/16.
And Genius Products has set French director Jean-Claude Brisseau's
surrealistic and sensual Exterminating
Angels for DVD release on 7/24 (SRP $24.95). The film was
an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.
Around the Net this morning, there's yet another Blu-ray vs HD-DVD
editorial available today that's worth your reading time -
Fahey's The Blu Corner over at GamesIndustry.biz.
It seems more industry watchers every day are joining us in choosing
Blu-ray Disc in this format war.
Finally today, we'd be remiss if we didn't take a moment to
acknowledge that today is our very own Todd Doogan's birthday! Yes,
it's true... Todd's getting so damn old that he creaks by now. Never
fear though, we've sent large supplies of One-a-Day Senior and prune
juice his way. Be sure to
drop Todd an e-mail
and wish him a happy happy if you get the chance today. Skol,
Doogan! Jahnke and I'll buy you a beer at EMA in a couple weeks. ;)
Okay... that's all for now. See you Monday. Have a great weekend!
(LATE UPDATE -
6/28/07 - 5:15 PM PDT)
Well... it seems as if the chief hurdle causing the delay of
additional Fox and MGM Blu-ray Disc titles may finally have been
cleared. BD+ Technologies LLC has just completed the specs,
licensing program and necessary infrastructure required to allow the
BD supporting to studios to implement BD+ protection on future
software releases. Here's the official press release. You'll note in
particular the quotes by Fox's Mike Dunn and MGM's Eric Doctorow...
BD+ Technologies Launches Content Protection
LOS ANGELES, Calif. June --, 2007 -- BD+ Technologies, LLC, the
licensor of BD+, the exclusive added layer of content protection for
movies and other premium entertainment released on the Blu-ray Disc
standard, announced today the completion of its licensing program.
The program includes the BD+ Specifications and Agreement for BD+
Adopters (Player/Chip Manufacturers), as well as BD+ Content
Participants and authorized BD+ code developers.
Sample copies of all new license documents, as well as other
related information, are available at
BD+ is a Virtual Machine-based content protection technology
created exclusively for the Blu-ray Disc format. The technology
features have already been implemented into all Blu-ray Disc players
in the marketplace, however updated technical specifications are now
Fox has vigorously fought against piracy for years and the
adoption of BD+ as part of the Blu-ray Disc specification, and an
enhancement over and above AACS, was a key factor in our decision to
publish on the format, noted Mike Dunn, President Worldwide,
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. This added layer of
content protection gives Blu-ray yet another distinct competitive
Bob Chapek, President, Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment,
commented, We are excited that BD+ has now come to fruition.
In this day and age, no content provider can risk not fully
protecting their assets."
"The ability to protect IP is the most important issue facing
our industry and the level of copyright protection Blu-ray offers is
one of the major reasons we supported BD from the onset," said
Steve Beeks, COO and President, Lionsgate. "Adding this extra
layer of protection has made us even more confident that we made the
right choice for the studio and the public interest."
On behalf of MGM Home Entertainment, General Manager, Eric Doctorow
noted, This is great news for the market. Content providers
can release more product knowing there is stronger copy protection -
and for consumers that translates into a greater choice of films."
"BD+ serves as an additional safeguard to protect next
generation HD content from piracy," said David Bishop,
President of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. "Sony Pictures
believes that it will become a valuable option for Blu-ray Disc
content providers going forward."
About BD+ Technologies, LLC:
BD+ Technologies, LLC is a joint venture between affiliates of
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., which is best known by its
Panasonic brand, Sony Corporation and Twentieth Century Fox Film
Corporation that was formed in 2006 for the purpose of licensing the
specification for BD+ content protection technology. The BD+
technology provides an additional layer of content protection for
High-Definition movies and other high-value content released on
Blu-ray Discs. Visit www.bdplusllc.com
for further information.
So does this mean that Fox and MGM will soon begin announcing new
Blu-ray releases? We expect so.
(EARLY UPDATE -
6/28/07 - 1 PM PDT)
It's a slow news day DVD-wise, but Warner has set Unaccompanied
Minors for release on 8/7 (SRP $28.98). Extras will
include additional scenes, Charlie's
Dance Reel, audio commentary the filmmakers, the Guards
in the Hall featurette and an Easter egg.
Meanwhile, Palm Pictures has set Marcelo Piñeyro's The
Method for release on 8/14 (SRP $24.99).
On the high-def front however, we've got lots of news today. Like
it or not, here goes...
First, Dimension has just announced that they'll be releasing Badder
Santa: The Unrated Version and Scary
Movie on Blu-ray Disc format on 10/23. Each of these
discs will include much if not all of the original DVD extras, and
will include AVC encoded 1080p video. SRP will be $29.99 each.
Also newly announced for Blu-ray from Disney is Remember
the Titans, due on 9/4 (SRP $29.99). No word yet on
extras, but it's likely all the DVD features will be there, and
again encoding is AVC.
Speaking of Blu-ray, our friend Simon at the U.K.'s
Den of Geek!
e-mailed to say that Kill Bill,
Kill Bill, Vol. 2 and Pulp
Fiction are all apparently set for September release in
the U.K. on the format. Starship Troopers
is set for August, and The Rock,
Con Air and Air
Force One are all due there next week. It seems likely
that all these titles are in the offing for release here in the
States before the end of this year as well. We'll post details as
they come in.
Also today, Adobe has just chosen Blu-ray as their format choice
for delivery of HD video in the forthcoming Adobe Encore CS3, which
debuts in July.
here to read more from EMediaLive.com.
And it appears that the Blu-ray camp is launching a new promotion
to give away 5 free titles with the purchase of select BD players.
Business has more on that today.
On the format "neutral" front, Warner has revealed that
its TotalHD hybrid/combo format, containing both Blu-ray Disc and
HD-DVD, has been delayed until early 2008. You can read more
at Video Business and
at Home Media.
So what's the HD-DVD camp excited about today? Cheap Chinese
players, of course!
Media has just posted a story on the DVD Forum being a
step closer to approving cheap Chinese HD-DVD players. In the piece,
Universal's Ken Graffeo is quoted as saying that
"Hardware drives software."
With all respect to Graffeo (who we've dealt with before and he's a
good guy), we'll have agree to disagree with that strange
cart-before-horse position - maybe the first time we've ever heard
such a statement from a Hollywood studio exec. Yes, you have to have
players out there to sell discs, but people don't buy players just
to buy hardware... they buy them to play SOFTWARE. What good is an
HD player, no matter how cheap, if it can't play HD software from a
majority of the Hollywood studios? The HD-DVD strategy seems to be
to sell as many cheap players as possible in the hopes that enough
will end up in circulation to coerce the Blu-ray Disc exclusive
studios to go format neutral. But again we'll ask, what's more
likely to happen first: Universal goes format neutral... or Disney,
Fox, MGM, Sony and Lionsgate go format neutral? Logic would seem to
dictate that the former is the more likely. But then there's not a
lot of common sense at play in this format war right now.
By the way, this silliness about how the introduction of cheap
Chinese players is what drove the success of DVD, is absolute
revisionist nonsense. (The
Home Media story includes this note referring to
Graffeo: "He notes it was cheap Chinese
DVD players retailing for less than $100 that really spurred the DVD
to mass adoption, and he's hoping the same thing will happen with HD
DVD.") That's COMPLETELY absurd. DVD was a massive
commercial, mass-market success LONG before cheap Chinese players
arrived in stores. In fact, many in the hardware industry decry the
arrival of cheap Chinese players as the very thing that killed
profit margins for DVD hardware. Good grief!
Moving on, remember how we said the other day that you'd probably
start seeing mainstream media reports calling this format war in
favor of Blu-ray in the wake of the Blockbuster announcement? Well,
here's two more...
Ha at Crunch Gear and
Tilley's Load This blog at Canoe.ca. (The latter
appears to be suffering from slash-doting, but it'll be available
again soon enough I'm sure.)
One wonders how long the HD-DVD camp will continue to slash prices
and push their format before realizing that continuing to fuel the
format war risks cannibalizing the HD packaged media market
Finally today, speaking of packaged media (vs. downloading), for
those of you interested in checking out my appearance on The
Loop segment of G4's Attack of
the Show from yesterday,
here (or watch below). It's always fun hanging out with Kevin
and the crew, and it was a blast chatting iPhones with Jerry Block
from IGN too. Anyway, enjoy...
By the way, when I talked on the show about the security problem of
digital storage of movie and music files, there's
good article from a couple years ago at Technology Review
that touches upon the problem. Not only can hard drives crash and
the data become corrupt, the file formats themselves can become
obsolete and unreadable over time. It's interesting reading and it
touches upon what I think could be a major problem as we move deeper
into the digital realm.