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(Archived Posts 11/30/07 - 11/9/07)
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UPDATE - 11/30/07 - 6 PM PST)
This has nothing to do with DVD, but there's a bit of sad news
today that we just couldn't let pass unrecognized. The man who
the Snake River Canyon and
trucks and sharks and a whole bunch of other great stuff on
live TV back in the 1970s - not to mention the fact that he had
own pinball machine and inspired
greatest damn toys I ever had as a kid - is no more.
has died today at the age of 69. Get a load of this...
The balls on that guy. Look at 'em... sitting there in his badass
rocket car, staring Death down like it was nothing. I mean,
seriously. The guy had a rocket car. And he wore a cape too. Who can
pull that off anymore? BALLS, I tell you.
Vaya con Dios, E.
(EARLY UPDATE -
11/30/07 - 1 PM PST)
Okay... let's have some software announcements, shall we?
First up, Universal has finally set The
Kingdom for release on full frame and anamorphic
widescreen DVD (SRP $29.98) and DVD/HD-DVD Combo version (SRP
$39.98) on 12/26. The DVD versions will include feature commentary
with director Peter Berg, deleted scenes, a History
of The Kingdom interactive timeline and 3 featurettes (Character
by Character: The Apartment Shootout, Constructing
the Freeway Sequence and Creating
The Kingdom). The DVD/HD-DVD version will also add
U-Control features like The Mission
Dossier: Surveillance and Picture-in-Picture video, along
with web enabled features.
Also newly announced by Universal are Reservation
Road (1/22) and Lust, Caution
(2/10), both on DVD only.
Meanwhile, Think Film has announced the DVD release of its
acclaimed In the Shadow of the Moon
documentary on 2/12. You'll get anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio, an exclusive message from producer Ron Howard,
audio commentary (with director David Sington, editor David Fairhead
and archive producer Chris Riley), over 60 minutes worth of deleted
and extended scenes including additional astronaut interviews and
mission footage, the Scoring Apollo: A
Short Feature with Composer Philip Sheppard featurette,
the film's theatrical trailer and a gallery of additional trailers.
This is an amazing film - I've seen it twice now in theaters. I just
wish it were being released in high-definition as well.
Finally, Warner has announced a number of new titles including The
Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
(due 2/5/08 - sadly only on DVD and with no extras), an It's
the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown: Deluxe Edition (also
includes a bonus episode and the In Full
Bloom: The Peanuts at Easter documentary - 2/19), Justice
League: The New Frontier, a 2-disc Justice
League: The New Frontier - Special Edition and Hooligans
(all 2/26), The Other Boleyn Girl
(3/4 - for the BBC), NBA Boston Celtics
1985-86 and NHL All-Access
2008 (both 3/25), and Terry
Jones: Medieval Lives (4/1 - also for the BBC).
Here at the site today, we've updated some of the DVD and high-def
format stats we track (above),
including the Blu-ray/HD-DVD market share numbers. Speaking of
which, the Blu-ray Disc camp has taken out full page ads in the
trades today (click
here for the digital edition of next week's Home
Media - look on page 35), trumpeting the fact that 7 out
of 10 high-def movies sold Thanksgiving week were Blu-ray. The ad
further claims a Blu-ray software sales advantage of 7 out of 10 in
Europe, and 9 out of 10 in Japan.
In other news today, Sony has announced that it plans to add a
high-def Video On Demand service to its PlayStation 3 platform in
Japan in 2008. You can read more on that
at Video Business.
And it appears that Onkyo's DV-DH805 HD-DVD player is indeed simply
a rebadged Toshiba HD-XA2 (with a few modifications for the high-def
market), at least according to
report at Engadget (based on
examination of the Onkyo by German website AreaDVD.de).
It also does seem to have been abandoned already in the European
to AVMagazine.it (see English translation
- thanks to Bits reader Eric
E. for the link). Just FYI, we have at least one reader who has
reported receiving their Onkyo player today here in the States.
How's about a look at some new cover artwork? It's all DVD today.
Here's Think Film's In the Shadow of the
Moon, Warner's The
Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
and It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie
Brown: Deluxe Edition, Universal's Reservation
Road, and MGM's The John
Frankenheimer Collection (1/22) and When
Harry Met Sally: Collector's Edition (1/15)...
And that's all she wrote for November. Matt, Sarah and I are
looking forward to a sneak peek screening of The
Golden Compass on Saturday night. Fingers crossed that
New Line did the book at least some justice. Should be fun.
We wish you all a fine weekend! Stay tuned...
is reporting today on the home video industry's growing
concern at the continuing slowdown of DVD sales this holiday season.
Nearly every summer movie DVD release has fallen short of sales
expectations so far in the 4th quarter, and overall DVD sales this
year are down from 2006, likely reflecting the maturity of the DVD
format itself, tightening budgets as a result of a downturn in the
economy, and possibly the high-definition format war. The Variety
piece has this to say about the format war:
"The industry is still years away from
its next cash cow. The battle over high-def formats has grown more
entrenched, hindering wide scale adoption of either Blu-ray or HD
DVD. And Internet delivery -- a major part of the WGA strike -- is
even more Lilliputian than DVD. Analysts believe it will be years
before downloads become significant, and even then might only
approach 15% of the current DVD biz."
That part about Internet delivery is key, I think. People who might
be willing to pay $19.99 or $24.99 for a movie plus extras on a disc
are unlikely to ever want to pay the same amount for a download. And
the technological barriers involved in connecting to the Internet
from the living room (not to mention setting up buying accounts and
the problem of digital storage) will likely restrict download
viewing to a small portion of the overall consumer home video market
for some time to come.
Back on the subject of the HD format war impacting DVD sales,
here's a bit of anecdotal evidence: I was speaking with my parents
last week about holiday gifts. It seems they were thinking of giving
someone DVDs for Christmas, but were concerned that they might be
wasting their money if DVDs were going to be obsolete soon. Now, I
was pretty surprised to hear this. We continue to get reports from
readers who have stopped buying standard DVD releases in the
anticipation of purchasing titles on one of the new high-def formats
instead... but not until the format war is over and a single format
becomes the obvious choice. My folks live in North Dakota and
they're pretty casual DVD consumers - they'll buy a few titles here
and there, maybe rent a couple times a month. They're not likely
ever to be high-def disc buyers. And I've never really spoken to
them about either high-def format before - they've just seen the
commercials on TV and the in-store displays at places like Best Buy.
If they're ALREADY concerned that purchasing DVDs might soon be like
buying 8-track tapes (which isn't really true, of course), or at
least have that concern in the back of their minds, other people are
probably thinking the same thing as well. It's not good news for the
home video business.
The overall DVD sales slowdown aside, it seems that Black Friday
software sales were brisk.
Media is reporting that Black Friday DVD sales this year
were up 6% from last year. On the high-def front, however, software
sales for the Blu-ray Disc format dominated those of HD-DVD on the
biggest shopping day of the year. According to Nielsen VideoScan
First Alert numbers, for the week of 11/19 to 11/25 (Monday to
Sunday), Blu-ray held a commanding 72.6% share of high-def software
sales compared to HD-DVD's 27.4% That's very nearly a 3 to 1 margin,
and it comes in spite of a strong surge in HD-DVD player sales in
the wake of Toshiba's recent discounting. Industry insiders are
reporting a surge in Blu-ray Disc player sales as well, however,
also in the wake of recent price reductions. Particularly strong are
sales of Sony's Blu-ray ready PlayStation 3, which have reportedly
increased nearly 300% according to
UK are reporting that Blu-ray's software sales edge has
now extended to Europe, in addition to existing leads in the U.S.,
Japan and Australia. From the Gamespot
story: "According to Media Control Gfk
International, 73 percent of next-generation movies bought by
European consumers were on Blu-ray, and 27 percent on HD DVD."
Lest you think the news is all bad for HD-DVD, the
Promotions Group has announced that Black Friday sales have
pushed the HD-DVD format past the 750,000 players mark, when
Microsoft's Xbox 360 add-on drive is counted in the figures (the
actual breakdown is estimated to be something on the order of
450,000 actual stand-alone players plus 300,000 or so Xbox 360
add-on drives). On the other hand, according to recent estimates
(released prior to Black Friday, so not including Black Friday
sales) there are reportedly some 300,000 stand-alone Blu-ray players
in North America, plus another 1.9 million PlayStation 3s, for a
total of approximately 2.2 million. Ironically, that's also roughly
a 3 to 1 margin. Obviously, not every PS3 owner is watching movies,
but the continuing Blu-ray software sales edge (despite fewer
stand-alone players sold) would seem to indicate that at least some
significant percentage of PS3 owners are watching movies in addition
to playing games. Moriarty
over at AICN is now among them it seems.
One other format war (hardware) note: There are reports circulating
online - which we're working to confirm - that both Onkyo's DV-HD805
and Venturer's SHD7000 are rebadged Toshiba OEM players (the Onkyo
is reportedly an HD-XA2 with slight modifications for the enthusiast
market, while the Venturer is reportedly an HD-A3). There are
indications that Onkyo may actually have cancelled its HD-DVD
player in favor of releasing a dual-format Blu-ray/HD-DVD player in
2008 instead. Does anyone have further details or confirmation on
this? Please let us
Ugh. Format wars. Never a dull moment.
As far as software announcements today, they're all standard DVD.
First up, Universal has set The Land
Before Time: Adventuring in the Mysterious Beyond and
Curious George: Goes to the Doctor and
Lends a Helping Hand for DVD release on 2/19 (SRP $16.98
Buena Vista will debut Hannah Montana:
One in a Million on DVD on 1/29.
Paramount has set Exalted: The Complete
First Season for release on 3/11, along with Comedy
Central's Lil' Bush: Resident of the
United States - Season One and South
Park: The Imaginationland Trilogy. Human
Giant: The Complete First Season is also due from
Paramount on 3/4.
Finally, MGM has announced new DVD special editions of When
Harry Met Sally (1/15) and The
Apartment (2/5). The When
Harry Met Sally: Collector's Edition will include the
film with audio commentary by director Rob Reiner, Nora Ephron and
Billy Crystal, 8 deleted scenes, 7 featurettes (including It
All Started Like This, Stories
of Love, When Rob Met Billy,
Billy on Harry, I
Love New York, What Harry
Meeting Sally Meant and So Can
Men And Women Really Be Friends?) and the theatrical
trailer. SRP is $19.98. Meanwhile, The
Apartment: Collector's Edition will include the film with
audio commentary by UCLA film professor Bruce Block, the Inside
the Apartment documentary and the Tribute
to Jack Lemmon featurette. SRP is also $19.98.
That's all for now. Stay tuned...
Boy... what a busy day! My phone has been ringing off the hook all
afternoon, making it tough to get a post up today. But we've got a
couple quick things to report for you.
First, 20th Century Fox has sent over a statement about the
forthcoming release of Independence Day
on Blu-ray Disc. The title had been set for release on 12/4, but has
now been pushed back to March 2008. Here's the reason why according
to the studio:
"We realize the forums have been whipped
into a frenzy, so here are the facts: While putting Independence
Day through our regular and rigorous QC process, we detected a
minor glitch. Even though 95% of users would likely not know or
encounter it, we chose to do the right thing and remaster, which
necessitates moving the release date. It is now scheduled for a
So there you have it.
Also today, we have a follow-up for you on one other Blu-ray issue.
Some of you may recall that a few months ago, viewers reported a
framing problem with a few scenes in Disney's Pirates
of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Blu-ray
Disc. Disney has apparently corrected the problem in production, so
future copies going into stores will feature the correct framing
(we'll try to find out if there's a way to identify corrected copies
by the packaging - UPC number variation or something). In the
meantime, if you have a copy with the mis-framed footage, you will
SOON be able to call the studio's Blu-ray customer service hotline
at 1-800-723-4763 (U.S.) or 1-800-877-2843 (Canada) to arrange an
exchange. Don't call quite yet - we'll let you know when the fixed
discs are ready. Just know that Disney has been working on the
problem, and a solution will be available to you all shortly.
One last item: For those of you who may be interested in our
Buy deals on Pioneer's new 60" 1080p Elite PRO-150FD
Kuro plasma and BDP-95FD HDMI 1.3 Blu-ray player, only limited
quantities are left. Be sure to act fast if you want to take
here for all the details.
I'll be back with a lot more DVD and high-def news tomorrow, so
Okay... as promised, I've just posted my in-depth review of CBS and
Trek: The Original Series - Season One Remastered, which
is newly available on the DVD/HD-DVD Combo format. It took a while
to really go through everything and to gather my thoughts on it all,
but I'm finally done. All in all, it's a good... though not great...
HD-DVD release. It's worth considering for diehard fans, but the
steep price is likely to keep most casual fans away. As for the
whole notion of TV series on HD-DVD, I'm much more intrigued by the
prospect of Universal's Battlestar
Galactica: Season One, which is due in stores on 12/4.
We'll be reviewing that soon too.
Also today, our own Adam Jahnke has turned in
installment of his Electric Theatre, featuring reviews
of Frank Darabont's The Mist
which is based on the novella by Steven King (and is now playing at
your local cineplex), as well as Sony's new Paprika
Blu-ray Disc. I'm curious to see what Adam says about Paprika.
I actually watched it with him, and although it's a stunningly
beautiful Japanese anime, I'm still not sure I could tell you what
the story was about. We both kind of looked at each other when it
was done and just laughed. Anyway, enjoy his reviews.
Elsewhere here at the site today, we've kicked off three new
giving each of you the chance to take home DVD copies of Warner's
Lancaster Signature Collection,
Bennett: The Music Never Ends,
Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same and
Gilmore Girls: The Complete Seventh Season (includes a
coffee mug!), along with the BBC's
Britain: The Complete Collection, and Shout! Factory's
the Actor's Studio: Johnny Depp. Each of the contests will
run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, December 2nd. Click on the links
to get started and good luck!
Also, Russell Hammond has once again updated the
DVD Cover Art section with this week's latest DVD, Blu-ray
Disc and HD-DVD cover scans and Amazon pre-order links. Remember, a
percentage of everything you order through our Amazon links goes to
support our work here at The Bits,
and we surely appreciate it.
We'll be back tomorrow with news and more, so stay tuned!
Welcome back, folks! We hope you all had a great long holiday
weekend. Sarah spent the week back in Iowa with her family.
Meanwhile, Adam and I had a great time over at Casa Rowe on
Thursday. We all ate way too much, as usual - lots of turkey, lots
of pie. Some football was watched. Matt's clan then decided to take
in a screening of Fred Clause,
so Adam and I opted for The Mist
instead. Let me tell you, the last ten minutes are stunningly
effective, although the preceding portions are a bit too overly
theatrical and "movie convenient." I think if it had been
more subtle early on, The Mist
would really have been a home run. As it is, though, it's still a
good movie - not great, but good. It's certainly creepy and
engrossing, and it's a nice change of pace in the horror genre from
all the torture/gore porn crap we've seen recently. I suspect Adam
will review it in more detail in a forthcoming edition of Jahnke's
Electric Theatre. Meanwhile, Todd says the
dramatization from 1993 (in 3-D sound, no less) is better and
Okay, we've just updated some of the DVD and high-def format stats
we track (above),
including the High-Def Market Share
percentages, which don't seem to have budged much for the week
ending 11/18, in spite of the HD-DVD only release of Shrek
the Third. And before a few of you get bent out of shape,
that's not a slam against HD-DVD. We're just frankly a little
surprised, and wonder what the numbers would have been without Shrek
in the mix. Presumably Disney's Blu-ray titles were very strong
Anyway, we've got a little bit of release news for you this
First of all, New Line has set Rendition
for release on DVD on 1/15/08, though no high-def versions have yet
been revealed. SRP is $28.98.
Warner has set Appleseed Ex Machina
for release on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD on 3/11. There's a
standard DVD version (SRP $24.98), a 2-disc DVD version in a
Digipack (SRP $34.98) and the high-def versions (SRP $34.99 each).
Details on the extras and specs are TBA.
Also newly announced by Warner is a 2-disc Be
My Valentine, Charlie Brown: Deluxe Edition set for
release on 1/15 (SRP $19.98). In addition to the Valentine special,
you'll also get 2 more specials (You're
in Love, Charlie Brown and It's
Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown), along with the Unlucky
in Love: An Unrequited Love Story featurette.
Meanwhile, Sony has announced a number of new DVD releases
including Feel the Noise
(street date 1/29), a Tootsie: 25th
Anniversary Edition, a Midnight
Express: 30th Anniversary Edition, Roxy
Hunter and the Mystery of the Moody Ghost, The
Prince and the Pauper (2007), The
Jane Austen Book Club and Across
the Universe (all 2/5), and Three
Can Play That Game (2/12). Across
the Universe will be a 2-disc set. The
Jane Austen Book Club is also set for Blu-ray release on
2/5. Additional BD announcements are expected.
And Universal has set Saturday Night
Live: Best of 2006-2007 for DVD release on 3/4 (SRP
Around the Net today,
Media has a story (based on a new interview) in which Sony
CEO Howard Stringer reiterates his company's support for Blu-ray.
It's a follow-up of sorts to
interview text we posted a couple weeks ago.
Here's a little bit of new cover artwork for you: New Line's Rendition
DVD, Warner's Appleseed Ex Machina
standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Warner's Be
My Valentine, Charlie Brown: Deluxe Edition DVD and
Sony's Resident Evil: Extinction -
Special Edition DVD (1/1) and Dragon
Wars Blu-ray Disc (1/8)...
Back with reviews later, so stay tuned...
Afternoon, folks! Bits reader
Val sent us a link to
interesting video on You Tube today. You may recall a while
back that there were claims online that the scratch-resistant
coating on Blu-ray Discs could stand up to abuse from a steel wool
pad and still work. That's true, but the way. A few weeks ago, I
watched as our esteemed friend, Gord Lacey (from
on DVD), tried to scratch up a BD disc. They're not
indestructible, but they definitely hold up well to normal wear and
tear, and even to some harsher than normal treatment. Anyway,
someone apparently decided to put the claim to the test, and they
videotaped the effort. It makes for amusing viewing. Turns out the
coating is pretty tough.
There's not much news to report today, other than that the
Forum has approved the triple-layer 51GB HD-DVD format. It's a
little hard to take that seriously. I get a kick out of the fact
that it's 51. Not 50, not 49, not 53, but 51. This format war has
gotten so silly, I'll tell you. We'll see if Toshiba can actually
make the discs work on existing players.
There's only a couple of title announcements today, all standard
def. The first comes from HBO, which has set Pinochet's
Last Stand for release on DVD on 2/26 (SRP $26.98).
Criterion has also revealed that their February DVD slate will
include Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le fou
as a 2-disc set (Cat #421), Bernardo Bertolucci's The
Last Emperor as a 4-disc set (#422) and Alex Cox's Walker
(#423). In addition, they've also announced Eclipse
Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals, a 4-disc set that will
include The Love Parade, Monte
Carlo, The Smiling Lieutenant
and One Hour with You. Look
for that in February as well.
Anyway, what with the Thanksgiving holiday here in the States
tomorrow, most of Hollywood is MIA this week. We're giving The
Bits staff a few days off as well. We'll be dark tomorrow
through Friday, but we've been busy watching discs and writing up
reviews these last few days, so we'll try to have some good ones for
you on Monday. Dr. Adam Jahnke is gracing us with his esteemed
presence here in the old O.C., and we're all going over to Matt's
place for a little turkey and football with his family. We'll
probably catch a few movies too. Good times, my friends. Good times.
In the meantime, don't forget that a lot of your favorite
electronics retailers are doing big Black Friday sales on DVD,
Blu-ray and HD-DVD, so be sure to take advantage if you're
interested. Also, don't forget about the debut of Battlestar
Galactica: Razor on Sci-Fi on Saturday night.
We'd like to wish all of you a very safe and wonderful holiday...
whatever your preferred movie disc format may be! Our best to all of
you. See you Monday!
Okay... it's a little later than planned, but as promised we've got
a review of Universal's
Galactica: Razor - Unrated Extended Edition DVD for you
today. It's due in stores on 12/4, and the edited TV version will
debut on The Sci-Fi Channel this coming Saturday (11/24). I'll tell
you, if you're a Battlestar
fan, you are REALLY going to enjoy it.
Also this afternoon, our own Russell Hammond has posted his usual
weekly update of the
DVD Cover Art section. Look for lots of new DVD, Blu-ray
and HD-DVD cover art and Amazon pre-order links.
In terms of news today, 20th Century Fox has announced a John
Frankenheimer Collection for release on DVD on 1/22 (SRP
$39.98). The 4-disc set will include The
Manchurian Candidate, Ronin,
The Train and Young
Meanwhile, Sony has announced that Daddy
Day Camp will be released on Blu-ray Disc as well as DVD
on 1/29. Also coming that day are Charm
School, The Nines
and Feel the Noise on DVD, as
well as Damages: The Complete First
Season on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc (each a 3-disc set).
Universal will release Saturday Night
Live Lost & Found: SNL in the 80s on 3/4 (SRP
Buena Vista has set Becoming Jane
and Gone Baby Gone for release
on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 2/12.
Paramount has announced an Into the
Wild: Special Edition for release on DVD and HD-DVD
format on 2/12. The film will also be released as a standard edition
Finally, Warner has announced A Pup
Named Scooby-Doo: The Complete First Season for release
on DVD on 3/18.
In news around the Net today,
Media is reporting that Warner has officially placed its
previously announced TotalHD combo format on indefinite hold. No
And we'd be remiss if we didn't remind you all not squeeze the
Charmin today in honor of actor Dick Wilson, TV's original Mr.
Whipple himself, who passed away Monday at the ripe old age of 91.
You can read more
Hey, guys! Hope you all had a great weekend.
First, our apologies: Today's post is going to be delayed until
tomorrow. What with the Thanksgiving holiday later this week, we've
gotten a little caught up in preparations here today - airport
trips, errands and the like. But we'll make it up to you tomorrow by
adding a review of Universal's new Battlestar
Galactica: Razor - Unrated Extended Edition DVD.
In the meantime, our friends over at
Shows on DVD have learned that CBS is expecting to release
Star Trek: Remastered - Season Two
on DVD/HD-DVD format on 3/25/08, complete with more of Billy
Blackburn's home movies from the set. Our full review of Season
One will be up shortly.
Meanwhile, Sony has announced that a Groundhog
Day: 15th Anniversary Edition will street on DVD on 1/29,
along with Daddy Day Camp and
both the DVD and Blu-ray editions of Monty
Python's Life of Brian: The Immaculate Edition
(rescheduled from earlier this year).
Also, it seems that are going to be a number of amazing deals on
Black Friday, not the least of which is this: If you buy an 80GB PS3
at Wal-Mart, you'll get 10 free Blu-ray movies instantly, right on
the spot in the store. PLUS, you get an offer for 5 more via mail.
You can read more
at PSXExtreme. Check with your local retailers' online
sites for the details on all the Black Friday deals (for hardware
and software on both high-def formats) in your area.
Here at the site today, we've kicked off a new
featuring DVD copies of Universal's
Bourne Ultimatum. Don't forget, our contest giveaway for
Masters of Horror DVDs continues another week as well.
Both contests end on Sunday, November 25th. Click on the links to
get started and good luck!
Finally today, we'll leave you with this: Remember that high-def
Earthrise video we mentioned last week? We've found a link where you
can view a short bit of it online in near-full resolution.
Apparently, Discovery HD in Canada has already shown it. We're
waiting to hear back from Discovery here in the States to see when
they might air it too. In the meantime,
it is in DivX format. Enjoy!
Thanks again for your patience and stay tuned...
Boy, we seem to have touched a nerve with our comments about how a
lot of our readers have stopped buying standard DVDs in anticipation
of buying titles in high-def once the format war is over. We've
gotten hundreds of e-mails overnight from readers confirming that
this is exactly what they're doing... and these are serious movie
fans. When some of your most diehard customers have stopped buying
DVDs because of the format war, that's a problem Hollywood needs to
deal with and soon.
Here at the site today, our own Peter Schorn has checked in with
reviews of Warner's
Thirteen and First Independent Picture's
Trust You to Kill Me on DVD. He liked both films, but
found the video quality on Ocean's
Thirteen to be somewhat lacking.
In release news today, 20th Century Fox has announced a 2-disc COPS:
20th Anniversary Edition for release on 2/19/08 (SRP
$29.98). You'll get the original pilot episode with audio commentary
by producer John Langley, the 20th Season
Special, 2 "best of" compilation episodes, a
lost episode, a featurette on COPS
spoofs in the media, segments from the show's first ten and second
ten years, behind-the-scenes footage, celebrity fan interviews and
Meanwhile, Warner has announced The
Beatrix Potter Collection and Tale
of Pigling Bland and Other Stories for release on 2/12
(for the BBC). They've also revealed a title we'd expected was
coming, Hanna Barbera's The Pebbles and
Bamm-Bamm Show, for release on 3/18 (2 discs, SRP
And Universal has set The Rage
for release on DVD on 2/26 (SRP $24.98).
Here's a look at the cover art for Warner's The
Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, as well as Sony's Dragon
Wars (1/8) and Angel-A
We've also got a couple of quick additional notes that might be of
interest to some of you this afternoon...
First, we've learned that Universal Music is releasing a 3-disc
Blade Runner Trilogy: 25th Anniversary
Soundtrack CD on 12/10. There's no word yet on the SRP
and we don't see it available for pre-order anywhere at the moment,
but the set will contain the original soundtrack CD remastered, a
second CD of previously unreleased soundtrack material from the
film, and a third CD of all-new material composed by Vangelis in
honor of the film's 25th anniversary. Each disc contains 12 tracks,
for a total of 36 in all. You can read more details on this
at the Elsewhere Vangelis fan site. Thanks to Bits
reader Justin K. for the heads-up. Here's the cover art...
Also, you U2 fans will be pleased to learn that there's a new
3-disc remastered/expanded edition of The
Joshua Tree coming out next week (11/29). The
Joshua Tree: Super Deluxe Edition includes the original
album on CD, a second CD of bonus tracks, a DVD disc that features
U2 Live from Paris, filmed at
the Hippodrome de Vincennes on July 4th, 1987 during the Joshua
Tree tour, and a 56-page book with unreleased photos,
liner notes and more. SRP is $59.98. You can also buy a 2-disc CD
version (without the DVD disc and the book) for $29.99. The art for
both is pictured above.
And that's it for now. Have a great weekend and we'll see you back
here on Monday with new high-def format reviews. Stay tuned!
Every now and then, we have one of those experiences that
reinvigorates our love of film - we see something that reminds us
why we do what we do, why we go to all the trouble, and why we care
about this stuff so much. Jahnke and I had one of those experiences
last night up in L.A. We got to see something in a theatre that was
so cool, the sun just seems to be shinning just a little bit
brighter this afternoon. Naturally, we're not allowed to say what we
saw, but rest assured that it's something all of you will get to see
eventually, probably sometime in 2008. Sorry to be a tease, but I
just wanted you all to know that you've got a VERY cool cinematic
treat coming to you in the not-too-distant future.
Okay... we've got a BUNCH of release news and cover art for you
this afternoon, so let's get to it.
First up, Warner has set The Brave One
for release on 2/5 on DVD (SRP $28.98), Blu-ray and DVD/HD-DVD Combo
format (SRP $35.99) each. Extras will include deleted scenes, the
I Walk the City featurette and
possibly more TBA. Here's the cover art for both high-def versions,
featuring a gun-toting Jodie Foster no less...
Meanwhile, Image Entertainment has set Suburban
Girl for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 1/15. The DVD
(SRP $27.98) will offer audio commentary with director Marc Klein
and the film's theatrical trailer. The Blu-ray (SRP $32.98), will
include the DVD extras, plus audio in DTS HD audio.
Also today, Lionsgate has just unveiled an impressive January 2008
release slate, which will include War,
3:10 to Yuma (2007), Days
of Darkness, a Cary Grant
Collection (includes Indiscreet,
Operation Petticoat, The
Grass is Greener and That
Touch of Mink), Clifford: My
Big Red Valentine and Clifford:
Playtime with Clifford all on 1/1, Good
Luck Chuck on 1/15, When Evil
Calls on 1/22 and Right at
Your Door, Lardon Que Roba a
Ladron? and Trade
Now let's talk specifics. War
will be released on both DVD and Blu-ray. The DVD (SRP $29.95) will
include audio commentary with director Philip G. Atwell, a second
commentary with writers Lee Anthony Smith and Gregory J. Bradley, 9
The Action of War vignettes,
the Scoring War featurette, an
audio trivia track, a gag reel and deleted/extended scenes. The
Blu-ray (SRP $39.99) will include all that, plus The
War Chest on-screen navigation mode (featuring 36
vignettes on the story, style, stunts and sound), Director's
Window visual commentary with Atwell, The
War Zone audio trivia track, the Yakuza
Fighter BD-Java game, "dynamic resizing menus",
bookmarks, a "Blu-line Slider" scene selection option and
a behind-the-scenes FX Bonus
picture-in-picture option (called True PiP in Lionsgate's
promotional materials). The Blu-ray extras will all be in high-def.
Here's the cover art for both versions...
3:10 to Yuma will also be
released on both DVD and Blu-ray. The DVD (SRP $29.95) will feature
audio commentary with director James Mangold, deleted scenes, the
Destination Yuma documentary
and 2 featurettes (An Epic Explored
and Outlaws, Gangs & Posses).
The Blu-ray version (SRP $39.99) will include all of the above,
along with the Inside Yuma
picture-in-picture viewing option, 4 additional featurettes (3:10
to Score, The Guns of Yuma,
Sea to Shining Sea and A
Conversation with Elmore Leonard) and an interactive Historical
Timeline of the West viewing option. Here's the cover art
for both versions...
Let's not forget Good Luck Chuck,
also available on both R and unrated DVD versions as well as an
unrated Blu-ray. The R-rated DVD (SRP $29.95) will feature audio
commentary with star Dane Cook, director Mark Helfrich, producer
Mike Karz and writer Josh Stolberg, as well as the All
About the Penguins featurette. The Unrated DVD (SRP also
$29.95) will offer an unrated version of the commentary, 4 Chucked
Up featurettes (Polymastia,
Kama Sutra, Frank
the Penguin Actor and All
About the Penguins), a gag reel, ad-libs, deleted and
alternate scenes, and something called the Sex
Matrix, billed as "16 fierce thrusting positions in
an interactive matrix." Okkkaaaaayyy, that sounds like
something you need to shower after viewing. I'm not sure what to
think. The Blu-ray version (SRP $39.99) will include all of the
unrated features above, along with 3 additional featurettes (Good
Luck Chuckles, Real Life Chuck
and Eleanor Skepple) and a
2-song music video montage featuring Accident
Prone by The Honorary Title and I
Was Zapped by the Lucky Super Rainbow by The Flaming
Lips. All the video-based extras on the Blu-ray will be in full
1080p resolution. Here's the art for both unrated editions of the
Finally, for those of you interested in Right
at Your Door, the DVD-only release (SRP $27.98) will
include audio commentary from writer/director Chris Gorak, 2
featurettes (Forearm Silver: An Interview
with Chris Gorak and Film
School: Tips on Making an Independent Film with Chris Gorak)
and alternative ending scripts. I missed this film in theaters, but
Matt said it was pretty good, so I'm looking forward to catching up
with it on disc.
In other news today,
Media is reporting Nielsen VideoScan First Alert data
showing that Disney's Ratatouille
is selling big numbers on DVD and Blu-ray. The DVD sales are
reportedly as much as 40% than those of Sony's Spider-Man
3 the previous week. Actual sales figures should be
available early next week.
There's word this afternoon that Hollywood has lost a reported $1.9
billion on new release titles in 2007, because sagging DVD sales are
no longer covering the costs of theatrical production and
distribution. The film industry hopes that either high-definition
discs or downloads or both will eventually replace the lost DVD
sales profits, but that isn't likely anytime soon. Consumers aren't
likely ever to want to pay $29.99 or $19.99 for a digital file
download, so the best downloads are likely to do in the near future
is boost the rental market. Meanwhile, most consumers aren't getting
into high-def discs because of the format war and because DVD is
good enough for them. What's interesting is that a lot of our
readers, who have expressed interesting in high-def discs but who
haven't taken the leap yet because they want to see a clear winner
emerge first, have told us that they've stopped buying DVDs in the
meantime. After all, why buy a title on DVD when you know that you
ultimately want to buy it in high-def instead? It's a pickle, and
it's one more reason why we think Hollywood needs to end this format
war ASAP. Anyway, you can read more
at Home Media and
at Video Business.
has reportedly set themselves the goal of selling 11 million
PS3s worldwide by March 2008. Their recent price cuts have
sales of the console here in the States (as many as 100,000
units sold in the week ending 11/11 alone). But 11 million? We'll
see. The new Ratchet & Clank
game might help. This might help too: We're hearing that the BD
Profile 1.1 firmware update for the PS3 will be released in late
December, just in time for the first Blu-ray software titles set to
employ it, and the full 2.0 update may not be far behind.
another boost: The PS3 is reportedly set to add playback
compatibility with the popular DivX codec in a forthcoming firmware
update as well.
Let's see... what else. There's a few funny videos online related
to the format war today - funny to those of you who aren't so
wrapped up in this thing that you can't laugh about it. Dozens of
readers have e-mailed these to us, so here you go: There's a Blu-ray
promo out there featuring a guy using his HD-DVD player as
drink holder, and another one with a guy retiring his HD-DVD
player to the
"junk closet". There's also a video showing that the
best use for a Blu-ray laser diode is to create
more realistic Star Trek phaser. And the HD-DVD camp
has delivered a cute
analogy to promote HD-DVD playback on the Xbox 360. You just
KNEW this format war was gonna go viral at some point...
Anyway, we'll leave you this afternoon with a little more cover
art, 'cause why the hell not? Here's Lionsgate's Right
at Your Door on DVD, along with both the DVD and HD-DVD
versions of Paramount and DreamWorks' Zødiac:
2-Disc Director's Cut (both due out on 1/8)...
Now we're off to finish more of those disc reviews for you.
Everyone have a great day and stay tuned!
Today's update is going to be a quick one, because we've got a lot
of material that we're trying to get reviewed for you, including New
Line's Hairspray on Blu-ray,
Warner's Stanley Kubrick titles on all three formats and CBS's Twin
Peaks: The Complete Series on DVD.
To make things even more challenging, CBS/Paramount's Star
Trek: The Original Series Remastered - Season One showed
up yesterday on HD-DVD. Now... I'm a huge and life-long Trek
fan, and I'm not one who's opposed to this whole remastering
process. So I've been quite looking forwarding to seeing these
episodes in high-def on disc. Given all that, I'm not going to rush
this review, because I really want to take the time to go through
everything in detail. But I do have some quick initial impressions
that I wanted to share with you today.
First, the packaging is a lot smaller than I expected. The discs
all slip into this little Digipack affair that's not much bigger
around than the discs themselves, and that in turn fits into the
clear plastic outer case. Smaller is a good thing in my book, in
terms of conserving shelf space (especially since this set doesn't
replace the previous TOS: Season 1
DVD set). Unfortunately, upon opening the case, the first sight that
greeted me was Disc One of the set all scratched to hell, despite
the fact that it was secure in the packaging. Thankfully the disc
seems to play okay, but I've only had time to watch one episode on
it. So far no combo disc problems - fingers crossed. I must say, I
still dislike that these are combo discs though, because there's no
disc labeling. That means to find the episode you want to watch,
you've got to consult the packaging to see which disc it's on. That
gets old quick.
When the disc starts up, you take this little animated trip in a
turbolift to the transporter room. Once you get to transporter,
things are good, but the trip itself is a little repetitive.
Thankfully, while the actual menu interface you select options from
is a little confusing at first, once you figure it out (it only
takes a minute or two) it's pretty great.
Speaking of extras, the only bonus feature I've looked at so far is
the starship fly-around option. It's fairly easy to navigate, but
there's not a lot of depth to it, so it gets boring rather quickly
(although seeing little tiny crewmen through the ship's windows is a
nice touch). The Billy Blackburn archive footage is the real
treasure here, and it's definitely what I'm most looking forward to
checking out, so more on the extras later.
The one last comment I wanted to make however pertains to the video
quality. I was expecting to be blown away by remastered TOS
on disc, and at times I was. But I was also expecting the quality to
be significantly improved from the high-def broadcasts, given how
much better the video bit rates should be on disc, and I wasn't so
much. I'm having a hard time coming up with a reason why that would
be - because it shouldn't be - other than that the video may have
been compressed a little too much to fit these episodes on to the
HD-30 portion of the combo discs. Each disc seems to have three
episodes plus some extras. The first episode I watched was Where
No Man Has Gone Before. And I have to say, I was a little
surprised to see what looked like compression artifacting during
some of the effects shots. I couldn't help wishing that there was a
Blu-ray version on BD-50 discs to compare it with. Now... I don't
know how much of a difference that would realistically make, because
most of the studios that do or have supported both formats seem to
use the same video encode for both formats for cost reasons, which
means the video bitrates for Blu-ray are always reduced because of
the need to accommodate the disc space available on HD-DVD. In any
case, forget Blu-ray - I was still really expecting to be dazzled by
the HD-DVD image, and I'm not. Don't get me wrong: This set still
seems to be quite good overall. A lot of hard work has obviously
gone into it, and as I said I want to really take the time to give
it a fair shake. But so far, I'm just a little bit underwhelmed. I'm
sure that will be spun like crazy in various quarters online, but so
be it. It can't be helped, I suppose. Anyway, I'll keep looking and
report in more detail later.
There's just a little bit of additional release news today: 20th
Century Fox has announced An Affair to
Remember: 50th Anniversary Edition for release on DVD on
1/8/2008 (SRP $19.98). The 2-disc set includes a new anamorphic
widescreen transfer (2.35:1), audio commentary by singer Marni Nixon
and film historian Joseph McBride, 5 featurettes (Affairs
to Remember: Deborah Kerr, Affairs
to Remember: Cary Grant, Directed
by Leo McCarey, A Producer to
Remember: Jerry Wald and The
Look of An Affair to Remember), the AMC
Backstory: An Affair to Remember episode, Fox
Movietone News: An Affair to Remember Shipboard Premiere Attracts
Celebrities, a trailer gallery, a poster gallery and a
And 20th Century Fox has set Blind
Dating for DVD release on 2/5, with Dirty
Laundry following on 2/12.
Also, Warner has announced a number of additional titles for
February and March 2008 release, including A
Black Woman's Guide to Getting Married (for Lightyear -
2/5), Simon Schama's Rough Crossings
(for the BBC - 2/26), Ben 10: Season 3,
a Doctor Who: Remembrance of the Daleks -
Special Edition, Doctor Who:
Ep.104 - Destiny of the Daleks and a Doctor
Who: The Complete Davros Collection (includes Eps. 78,
104, 134, 143, 152 - the Doctor Who
titles all for the BBC - all 3/4), National
Geographic's Dinosaurs and Tom
and Jerry Tales: Volume 4 (both 3/11), and NFL
Films Classics: Big Game America, NFL
Films Classics: Eyeball to Eyeball, NFL
Films Classics: More Than a Game and NFL
Films Classics: Legends of Autumn Volumes IV-VI (all
(LATE UPDATE -
11/13/07 - 2 PM PST)
Man... we just can't get enough of these high-def images of the
Moon and the Earth from the Japanese Space Agency. And here's the
has just unveiled the one we've all been waiting for... the
money shot as it were: A high-definition video recreation of the
famous Earthrise photo from Apollo 8.
Click on the image for a link to JAXA with a couple more shots, as
well a standard-def video clip.
Isn't this completely freaking cool? Seeing something like that is
just good for the soul, I think. I'll say it again: Somebody has GOT
to release this footage on Blu-ray and HD-DVD. I want to sit back in
my home theater and just watch hours of this stuff.
(EARLY UPDATE -
11/13/07 - 1 PM PST)
Okay, we're very pleased today to offer you a number of disc
reviews. Our own Peter Schorn has turned in his thoughts on
Paramount and DreamWorks'
on HD-DVD. He's also offered up a trio of standard DVD reviews,
Kind of Wonderful: Special Collector's Edition and
World's Fastest Indian.
Also, Adam Jahnke has returned to his
Theatre today with fresh reviews of a number of films now
playing at your local cineplex. Included are his thoughts on the
Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men,
Tony Gilroy's Michael Clayton
and Andrew Dominik's The Assassination of
Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, all of which
Jahnke says are worthy of your attention.
Elsewhere around the site today, Russell Hammond has added lots of
new DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD cover art and Amazon pre-order links to
Upcoming DVD Cover Art section. There's plenty of new
stuff to see, and remember that you can organize the titles into
lists based on format and sales. All of the proceeds for anything
you order from our links goes to support our work here at The
Bits, and we greatly appreciate that.
In announcement news this afternoon, I don't think we've mentioned
this yet but 20th Century Fox has released (on 11/6) The
Coen Brothers Gift Set, which includes the previous DVD
versions of Blood Simple, Raising
Arizona, Millers Crossing,
Barton Fink and Fargo.
SRP is $49.98.
Warner has set Introducing the Dwights
for release on DVD on 2/12/08 (SRP $27.95).
Sony has set Magic in the Water
for DVD release on 12/11. 2-disc sets of Earth
vs. the Flying Saucers and It
Came from Beneath the Sea are also coming from Sony on
1/25/08, but don't get too excited: The sets contain just the
original B&W versions along with new colorized versions. Not
really our cup of tea.
Meanwhile, Universal has set Coach: The
Third Season for 2/19 (SRP $26.98).
And you Captain Stubing fans will be thrilled to learn that CBS and
Paramount have set The Love Boat: Season
One, Volume One for release on DVD on 3/4/08. Also, look
for The Fugitive: The First Season,
Volume Two on 2/26, and Walker,
Texas Ranger: The Fourth Season on 2/19.
Finally today, the TV DVD Awards
were announced in Hollywood last night, sponsored by Home
Media Magazine, TV Shows on
DVD, the Digital Entertainment Group and The
Hollywood Reporter. I had the honor of serving as a judge
for the awards. The judging panel selected the top four finalists in
each category, and you guys chose the winners in online voting. I
must say, you all did a fine job. The winners are as follows:
Best of Show: Get
Smart: The Complete Series (Time Life/HBO)
Best 2000s Series: Heroes:
Season 1 (Universal)
Best 1990s Series: Seinfeld:
Season 8 (Sony Pictures)
Best 1980s Series: Fraggle
Rock: Season 3 (20th Century Fox/HIT)
Best 1970s Series: The
Muppet Show: Season 2 (Walt Disney Studios)
Best 1960s Series: Get
Smart: The Complete Series (Time Life/HBO)
Best 1950s Series: The
Adventures of Superman: Seasons 5 & 6 (Warner)
Best Animated Series: The
Simpsons: Season 10 (20th Century Fox)
Best Children's Series: The
Muppet Show: Season 2 (Walt Disney Studios)
Best Reality Series: Survivor:
Vanuatu (CBS DVD/Paramount)
Best Variety Series: The
Best of Chappelle's Show (Paramount/Comedy Central)
Best One-Season Wonder: The
Dresden Files (Lionsgate)
Best Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie:
Roots: 30th Anniversary Edition
Best Foreign TV Series: Doctor
Who: Series 2 (BBC Video)
Best TV Documentary: Planet
Earth (BBC Video)
Best Bonus Materials: Lost:
Season 2 (Walt Disney Studios)
Best Complete-Series Set (TIE):
M*A*S*H: The Martinis & Medicine
Collection (20th Century Fox) / Get
Smart: The Complete Series (Time Life/HBO)
Judges Special Citation for Best
Packaging: The Greatest
American Hero: The Complete Series (Starz/Anchor Bay)
I'll tell you, the Get Smart
set really is a gem - one of the best TV DVD releases we've seen in
a long time (as it happens, it was
of our choices for Best TV DVD in last year's Bitsy
Awards as well). It's only available online
from Time Life at the moment, but we expect it in stores next
year timed to promote the theatrical release of Warner's new Get
Smart feature film. Anyway, you can read more on the
at TV Shows on DVD. Congratulations to all the
winners, and thanks to all those of you who voted for participating.
We'll be back tomorrow with more, so stay tuned!
Afternoon, folks. We've got a couple of quick news updates for you
First, MGM has announced a 2-disc New
York, New York: 30th Anniversary Edition for release on
12/4 (SRP $19.98). Look for it to include a new introduction and
audio commentary by Martin Scorsese, a second audio commentary by
film critic Carrie Rickey, selected scenes commentary by
cinematographer László Kovács, alternate takes
and deleted scenes, trailers, a photo gallery, the New
York, New York Stories documentary and a new interview
with star Liza Minnelli.
Meanwhile, Fox has set 2 Days in Paris
for DVD release on 2/5.
TLA Releasing has Evil Dead Trap 2
on the way to DVD on 12/11, along with Footsteps
and the Rock & Rule: 2-Disc
Collector's Edition. Sex Crazy
will follow on the revised street date of 12/18.
Sony has set Barney Miller: The Complete
Second Season, Missionary Man,
Blonde Ambition and Molière
(2007) for release on DVD on 1/22. They're also releasing a newly
re-mastered edition of Spice World
DVD on 11/27, along with First Snow.
And Disney has announced that a Peter
Pan in Return to Neverland: Pixie-Powered Edition DVD
will be available on 11/27 for a limited time.
Now then... we wanted to say a few words about all the recent
brouhaha over Sony CEO Howard Stringer's "stalemate"
comment from last week with regard to Blu-ray and HD-DVD. I don't
know how many e-mails I've gotten in the last few days on this,
either from HD-DVD fans eager to gloat that Stinger was clearly
conceding the format war, or Blu-ray fans wondering why Stringer was
being so pessimistic. As it turns out, he wasn't. I've done a little
digging over the weekend, and have managed to obtain a transcript of
his actual comments. Remember how last week, during Blu-ray fest,
Warner Home Video's Dan Silverberg's comments were taken out of
context by supporters of both high-def camps to suggest that Warner
was about to chose sides in the format war? Except that's not what
he actually said or meant to imply? This is the same sort of
thing... yet another case of much ado about nothing.
The deal is this: Howard Stringer was being interviewed by Business
Week's Steven J. Adler about his career at the 92nd
Street Y in NYC on Thursday. He was asked a few questions about
Blu-ray Disc and the format war, and he spoke about it for maybe 5
minutes out of a 90 minute interview. Here's the actual text of the
relevant portion of the interview:
Adler: Of course, one of the
big fights right now is Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD for the high definition
video market. I mean, the first and most obvious question is:
Shouldn't there just be one format? Why should people have to choose
between the two? And is there any possibility that we'll be heading
Stringer: I should point out
that that is not part of the software battle. I mean, that's
actually in some ways sort of anachronistic. We're fighting over a
packaged goods hardware that will not go on forever, from a classic
sense. We have a more expensive version, as Sony tends to, and
Toshiba has a cheaper version, which seems to keep getting cheaper.
I believe it has slowed down the progress of high definition
packaged goods. Oddly, the studios kind of liked it for a while.
They were able to leverage one of us against each other. But in the
end, it's counterproductive. We have a sort of stalemate at the
moment. As you know, they had fewer studios, but then they paid a
lot of money for Paramount. So we have four studios and they have
two or three studios. It's a difficult... it's a difficult fight.
There was a chance to integrate it before I became CEO. This is
something I inherited. And I don't know what broke down. I wish I
could go back there, because I heard it was all about saving face
and losing face, and all the rest of it. But it's not a battle about
the digital future. That's what's so strange about it. If it doesn't
work out, that doesn't say very much about where we're all going.
It's just... it's a scorecard: one-nothing or something. But it
doesn't mean as much as all that. PlayStation 3 will still go on
playing games. It would have to have a different disk drive. And
that's about it really.
Adler: So when a consumer now
has to choose between the two, if they want to get into the high
definition video, Wal-Mart was selling the Toshiba HD-DVD for $99
last Friday for a couple of days. Usually, it's been $199 there. I
think your list price is $499 for Blu-ray. That's an enormously big
difference, particularly in a slowing economy. Can you play that
game with the difference being that great?
Stringer: Well... we've been
selling them as fast as we're making them because the brand -- first
of all, we're not the only ones selling them at that price. So is
Panasonic, so is Samsung, so is Sharp. And one of the reasons it's
more expensive is because it does more. The bandwidth is greater. If
you just want a two-hour movie, the Toshiba version is a high
definition picture. But we thought that to drive high definition
into the customer's imagination, you should future-proof the disks
so that you could have director's cuts, which are fairly obvious. We
have six to seven hours of bandwidth available. You can have
interactivity in three dimensions. We would be prepared to allow the
package goods to survive much longer by making it much more
innovative. But that does make the player more expensive. Now, they
all come down. The race is to bring costs down. It always is in
consumer electronics. So it isn't going to stay at $499.
Adler: But are you surprised
by how little Toshiba can sell its unit for?
Stringer: No, because -- look,
I can sell it for a dollar. I'd lose a lot of money, but if you want
to go that route, it's a tough competition, and it seems to be about
a lot of things, including face. So if you want to cut the price
down and engage us in a price war, that's a different system. We
were trying to win on the merits, which we were doing for a while
until Paramount changed sides.
Adler: Microsoft seems to have
an interesting role in this. They're selling add-on HD-DVD drives
for the -- they're taking HD-DVD to the Xbox, and Xbox competes
strongly with you. Is Microsoft kind of working in cahoots or in
alliance with Toshiba on HD-DVD? Is that a competitive challenge to
Stringer: Only the spirits
know. [laughs] Yeah... you never know
with Microsoft do you? You never know. Xbox versus PS3 is sort of a
subplot. What Microsoft's role is in that? I don't know. We're still
selling software at a faster level than Toshiba. Obviously, we care
about the software side more than the Toshiba does. It doesn't have
a studio. It doesn't own a studio. So it's in our interest to --
actually the most significant thing in some ways about Blu-ray,
going back to Microsoft... the Blu-ray Disc has a very high security
level, which Fox in particular, but also other studios, was most
excited about -- wanted to have some protection from instant
ripping. So the specs that went into the Blu-ray, which were done in
conjunction with many studios, had this security level. That is
probably not in Microsoft's interests. The Toshiba disk is certainly
far easier to rip. Whether you like that or don't like that depends
on your consumer enthusiasm.
---end of excerpt---
That was the extent of it. Naturally, the one comment out of the
entire 90 minutes (or even this small portion)
the AP ran with is the stalemate bit. Since then, it's been
spun like crazy. We've seen commentary from people who weren't there
proclaiming what a "remarkable admission" it is. Some have
even gone so far as to claim that Stringer declared Blu-ray a
failure and that Sony is about to give up the battle. All of which
mischaracterizes what he actually said and meant.
Hey... this kind of thing happens, especially when people let their
passions over this stuff get the better of them. We've even
occasionally made the mistake of jumping to conclusions in the past
ourselves. But here are the facts: Sony and the rest of the BD
camp's commitment to Blu-ray Disc hasn't wavered in the slightest,
and from everything they've ever told me both on and off the record,
that isn't likely to change anytime soon. And while we're at it,
Warner supports BOTH HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and from everything
they've ever told me both on and off the record, that isn't likely
to change anytime soon either. So everybody can relax and take a
deep breath. If you're a Blu-ray fan, enjoy all the great Blu-ray
titles coming out now. If you're an HD-DVD fan, same thing.
It's just another day in this silly format war, which at this point
has been taken to unfortunate extremes by some. As we said last
week, it's worth keeping in mind that no kittens will be harmed in
this thing, whatever the outcome.
And now for something completely different: Remember that high-def
Moon video I mentioned last week? The
Space Agency has just released the first full-resolution still
images from the video. Feast your eyes on this...
By the way, we'd like to send our best wishes out to all you
soldiers past and present, and your families too, on this Veteran's
Day holiday (technically yesterday, but you get the idea). We
appreciate all of you and the sacrifices you make. Stay safe.
Also today, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the recent
passing of director
Mann and literary icon
Mailer. Both will surely be missed.
We'll be back with more high-def reviews tomorrow, including New
Line's Hairspray on BD and
DreamWorks and Paramount's Transformers
on HD-DVD. We'll have a few new standard DVD reviews as well.
Okay... let's have some announcement news this morning...
Warner has announced the DVD (SRP $19.95), Blu-ray and HD-DVD (SRP
$35.99 each) release of Invasion
on 1/8/08. Extras will include the We've
Been Snatched Before: Invasion in Media History
featurette and more.
Warner has also set No Reservations
for release on 2/12 on both Blu-ray and HD-DVD.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate has set War
for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 1/1/08. The DVD (SRP $29.95) will
include audio commentary with director Philip G. Atwell, a second
commentary with the writers, 9 The Action
of War vignettes, the Scoring
War featurette, an audio trivia track, a gag reel and
deleted/extended scenes. The Blu-ray version (SRP $39.99) will
include all of the above, along with The
War Chest on-screen navigation mode, visual commentary
with Atwell, The War Zone
trivia mode, the Yakuza Fighter
BD-Java game, "dynamic resizing menus", bookmarks, a "Blu-line
Slider" scene selection option and a behind-the-scenes FX Bonus
picture-in-picture option (called True PiP in Lionsgate's
And here's great news: Genius Products and The Weinstein Company
have finally announced the DVD release of Anthony Mann's El
Cid on 1/29/08, as part of Weinstein Co's new Miriam
Collection label... yes, named after Bob and Harvey's mother. The
Miriam Collection is meant to highlight "the best of
contemporary and classic cinema." The 2-disc DVD will be issued
in two versions - a deluxe edition and collector's edition. The
deluxe edition will offer the film digitally remastered and will
feature an introduction by Martin Scorsese, 1961 radio interviews
with stars Charleton Heston and Sophia Loren, audio commentary by
historian Neal M. Rosendorf and Bill Bronston (the son of producer
Sam Bronston), a documentary on film preservation/restoration,
featurettes on the producer, director and composer, and the Hollywood
Conquers Spain documentary. The collector's edition will
include all that, plus reproductions of the original 1961 program, a
comic book and 6 production stills. Fans have been waiting for the
DVD release of this film for a long time. Let's hope that The
Fall of the Roman Empire isn't far behind. You can read
more on this in next week's
version of Home Media.
In other news, according to new data from Ralph Tribby's DVD
Release Report (tracked
Blu-ray Disc has regained the lead in total high-def titles
available over HD-DVD, which had been lost when Paramount and
DreamWorks pulled their 29 titles as the result of their deal with
Toshiba to go HD-DVD only. During the week ending 10/31, Blu-ray had
332 available titles, compared to 328 for HD-DVD. Blu-ray also has
more announced titles on the way in the coming months, with 66
compared to 42. You can read more
at Home Media.
Speaking of Blu-ray, studio reps at Fox have indicated to us that
MGM's delayed catalog Blu-ray Disc titles were pulled "for
marketing reasons" only and have been tentatively rescheduled
for release as part of a Father's Day promotion in early 2008. These
include The Amityville Horror,
Battle of Britain, A
Bridge Too Far, Red Dawn,
Rescue Dawn and Ronin.
That's all for now. We'll leave you today with some new cover
art... here's Fox's Family Guy: Blue
Harvest DVD (1/15) and Sunshine
Blu-ray (1/8), and Warner's TCM Archives:
Forbidden Hollywood Collection - Volume 2 (3/4)...
Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday with new
reviews and more!
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