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All right, we’ve got a couple things for you all today here at The Bits to close out the week...

First, we’ve learned that Panasonic’s forthcoming new Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the DMP-UB900, will feature Blu-ray 3D compatibility. That’s good news for those of you who are serious BD enthusiasts and have been waiting for this unit. It’s only available in Europe at the moment (for around £600, which is about $870) and we don’t have a US street date or SRP yet, but it is coming to our shores by mid-year. Meanwhile, click here to read What Hi-Fi?’s review of the European version of the player.  [Read on here…]

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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to follow us on Twitter @thedigitalbits @BillHuntBits and on Facebook here and here. And you can help support The Bits by pre-ordering Blu-rays and other items from Amazon through this link.]

All right, folks... as predicted, Disney has just made their official announcement of the home video release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Extras are exactly as leaks predicted. So too are the different retailer exclusives. The good news for you Blu-ray 3D fans if that Disney has confirmed that a Blu-ray 3D version is coming later this year. That suggests that this first release of the film on Blu-ray is just the vanilla version, and that there could be a more elaborate special edition package (with 3D) coming in time to promote the theatrical release of Star Wars: Rogue One during the holiday season. There's no mention of a 4K UHD version, but our sources tell us that Disney isn’t planning to get into the 4K game until late 2016 or early 2017, so it’s possible there could be one then.

In any case, here’s the official press release, with all of the final cover artwork... [Read on here…]

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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to follow us on Twitter @thedigitalbits @BillHuntBits and on Facebook here and here. And you can help support The Bits by pre-ordering Blu-rays and other items from Amazon through this link.]

Tim kicks things off this afternoon with another of his Pick-Ups Blu-ray reviews. This time he’s checking out Scream Factory’s recent double feature release of The Dungeonmaster and The Eliminators. Do give it a look.

In announcement news today, Universal has just officially set Krampus for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/26, with the digital HD release due on 4/12. Both disc versions will include audio commentary with director/co-writer Michael Dougherty and co-writers Todd Casey, and Zach Shields, an alternate ending, deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, image galleries, and The Naughty Ones: Meet the Cast featurette. To this, the Blu-ray will exclusively add 5 additional featurettes (including Krampus and His Minions, Practical Danger, Inside the Snowglobe: Production Design, Behind the Scenes at Weta Workshop: Krampus, and Dougherty’s Vision). You can see the cover artwork below.  [Read on here…]

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We’ll be back with more later, but this is just a quick early post to let you all know that Amazon now has their pre-orders pages up for Warner’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition on Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray, and DVD (SRP $54.98, $35.99, and $34.99), as well as The Hobbit Trilogy: Extended Edition on regular Blu-ray (SRP $99.98).  [Read on here…]

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The big Blu-ray news today is this: Warner Home Video has just officially set The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition for release on 3-disc Blu-ray and 5-disc DVD on 11/17 as we expected (SRP $35.99 and $34.99), with a digital release on 10/20. The film is R-rated (presumably for added violence) and will be 20 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. There will also be The Hobbit Trilogy: Extended Edition 9-disc Blu-ray and 15-disc DVD box sets that same day (SRP $99.98 and $78.92). All of these will include UltraViolet digital copies.

Now…  Warner’s press release doesn’t really mention a Blu-ray 3D release of either, so I called and asked for clarification. Here’s the deal: The Blu-ray 3D versions of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition and The Hobbit Trilogy: Extended Edition are going to be Amazon-exclusives. That’s why they’re not listed in the press release.  [Read on here…]

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All right, we’ve got some cool news for you anime fans. FUNimation has officially announced that their planned Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series will finally arrive on Blu-ray Disc (and also DVD) in December. Four versions are planned: A DVD standard edition, a Blu-ray standard edition, an Amazon-exclusive BD/DVD combo premium edition, and a second BD/DVD Combo premium edition that will be exclusive to the FUNimation.com site. The exclusive versions will include different packaging and collectable swag items TBA. The exact street date and further details will follow in the weeks ahead, so we’ll be sure to update when they do.  [Read on here…]

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We’ve got some cool stuff for you today, Bits readers!

First up, we have a trio of Blu-ray reviews for you.  Dr. Jahnke has upgraded his reviews of a pair of cheesy horror/sci-fi films on Blu-ray, including Midnight Legacy’s Alien 2: On Earth and FUNimation’s Alien vs. Ninja.  Told you they were cheesy.

Also, Tim Salmons has checked in with an in-depth review of 1428 Films’ fantastic new Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th documentary on Blu-ray/DVD Combo.  It’s SEVEN HOURS of Friday the 13th behind-the-scenes goodness, and how can any self-respecting slasher film fan pass that up?  Enjoy!  [Read on here...]

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All right, we’re wrapping up a week of reviews with still more reviews!

Our own Tim Salmons has turned in a look at Disney’s new The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh on Blu-ray, which is not only a terrific classic animated film but it looks like the disc is pretty good too.  Don’t miss it!

Also today, we’ve upgraded nine more older Blu-ray reviews from The Original Bits into the new database, including Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet: 25th Anniversary Edition and Richard Rush’s The Stunt Man from Dr. Adam Jahnke, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo and The Holy Mountain from Doogan, Danny Boyle’s Sunshine from the late great Barrie Maxwell and my own reviews of a pair of great space documentaries, The Wonders of the Solar System and The Wonder of It All, as well as Zhang Yimou’s visually stunning and poetic Hero.  Enjoy!

Also here at The Bits today, we’ve now got a complete and official listing of all the extras that will be included on Warner’s newly-announced Blu-ray Disc versions of Pacific Rim (due on 10/15).  Here’s what to look for...  [Read on here...]

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Hey, weren’t we just talking about this title today?  Well, now it’s official...

Warner Home Video is releasing Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim on Blu-ray 3D Limited Edition Gift Set, Blu-ray Combo and DVD on October 15th (SRP $44.95, $35.99 and $28.98).  According to the press release, extras on the Blu-ray versions will include audio commentary by Guillermo del Toro, a Prologue by del Toro, 4 Focus Points (The Directors Notebook, Drift Space, The Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim and The Shatterdome), deleted scenes and a blooper reel.  We’re double-checking to see if that’s the complete list of special features or just a “Cliff’s Notes” version, and also if there’s any retail exclusive Bonus Disc nonsense and whatnot.

[Late Update: We’ve heard back from WHV – here’s the final confirmed and detailed list of extras on the Blu-ray versions:  Audio commentary by Guillermo del Toro, The Directors Notebook, 3 documentary featurettes (Drift SpaceThe Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim and The Shatterdome), 17 Focus Points featurettes and features (A Primer on Kaijus & JaegersIntricacy of Robot DesignHonoring The Kaiju TraditionThe Importance of Mass and ScaleShatterdome Ranger Roll CallJaegers Echo Human GraceInside the DriftGoth-TechMega Sized SetsBaby Kaiju Set VisitTokyo Alley Set VisitOrchestral Sounds from the AnteverseThe Shatterdome (a Production Database), The Wall of Life/RationsExcuse MeTheft and “Catch You In The Drift, Dad”), deleted scenes (some 30 minutes worth according to del Toro in recent interviews) and a blooper reel.]

As you can see, the Blu-ray 3D version comes in special “Jaeger” packaging, which I hope looks a little better in person than it does in the pictures below.  Here’s a look at Warner’s final cover art for all three versions, hot off the wires...  [Click here for the artwork]

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Afternoon, folks!  We’ve got still more Blu-ray reviews for you today...

First up, our own Dr. Adam Jahnke has checked in with his thoughts on Warner Archive’s new BD release of Sidney Lumet’s Deathtrap from 1982.  Do check it out.

Also, Tim Salmons has given Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective: Mystery in the Mist Edition a look for you on Blu-ray Disc.  Sounds like it’s far and away better than their recent Sword in the Stone BD, so thank goodness for that.

And we’ve added 8 more classic Blu-ray Disc reviews from The Original Bits website into our new review database here, including Universal’s Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series and Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, MPI’s Baraka, Blue Underground’s The Final Countdown, Warner’s King Kong (1933), A&E/New Video’s The World at War, Vivendi’s Monty Python: Almost the Truth – The Lawyer’s Cut and the original Bandai Visual release of Katsuhiro Otomo’s landmark anime Akira.  Enjoy!

Now then, let’s get to today’s release news... [Read on here...]

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