My Two Cents

All right, let’s have more on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from CES 2017, plus a bit of regular Blu-ray announcement news too...

First up, we have reliable word that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is listing Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element for release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format on 7/11. That makes a ton of sense, because Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) arrives in theatres on 7/21 (from STX Entertainment).

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has also just officially set Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk for 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo, and DVD release on 2/14. The 4K release will be presented in full 4K and 60 fps, with HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. It features an exclusive 4K Featurette with Ang Lee and Tim Squyres discussing the film’s groundbreaking frame rate technology. The Blu-ray versions will include delete scenes and 4 featurettes (Into Battle and Onto the Field: Stepping Inside Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Recreating the Halftime Show, The Brotherhood of Combat, and Assembling a Cast). You can see the cover artwork to the left.  [Read on here…]

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All right, the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show is finally under way in Las Vegas today, with a number of the major CE manufacturers holding big press conferences to announce their product line-ups for the year. In fact, I’ve just now sat through Samsung’s big press event (more on that in a minute). I’ll check back in with more tomorrow, but for now let’s get to what news we have so far concerning 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray at the show...

In terms of new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player hardware, obviously Oppo Digital has just launched their debut player on the format, the UDP-203 (SRP $549). I’ve been testing this unit for about a week now and it’s just tremendous. For a first-generation player, it’s very solid, very fast, and it plays just about everything – Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, DVD-Audio, CD, and SACD, plus a wide variety of digital video and audio formats via network and USB. It’s compatible with HDR-10 right out of the box, and it’s also hardware compatible with Dolby Vision; a firmware update in the months ahead will add full Dolby Vision compatibility (keep in mind that no Dolby Vision UHD BD software is yet available, though software is forthcoming – again, more in a moment – and you can stream it now via Netflix and Vudu). Oppo is also working on an audiophile-upgraded version of this player, the UDP-205 (SRP around $1K), due for release later this year. [Read on here…]

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First things first today: We’re hearing from readers that Samsung’s UBD‑K8500 UHD Blu-ray player is now starting to appear for sale on retailer shelves – including Best Buy – in at least some places around the country. Additionally, Best Buy employees are suggesting in-store that the first UHD Blu-ray titles will start to become available tomorrow (2/11), probably from Lionsgate but maybe also from Fox.

Meanwhile, I’ve now received word from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment that the studio’s first round of UHD Blu-ray titles, including The Martian, Kingsman, Exodus, and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, will officially be available starting on Sunday 2/14 at Best Buy stores. Note, however, that it’s possible some stores will begin selling them earlier, or that some stores will not have their stock in yet by then. [Read on here…]

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Okay, there will be at least a couple updates today as I work to wrap up our coverage of CES 2016. The first is a quick one because of a bit of breaking news: Philips has just announced their own entry into the UHD Blu-ray player market, the BDP7501. It has a smaller form factor that is typical of most BD players, features HDMI 2.0a, 4K upscaling, built-in WiFi, and 4K streaming via Netflix and other digital providers. There’s no price and street date announced yet beyond sub $400 (which probably means $399, making it one of the cheaper offerings) and Spring 2016. Here’s what it looks like...  [Read on here…]

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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to like TheDigitalBits.com page on Facebook for breaking news, site updates on the go, discussion with our staff and other readers, giveaways and more!]

All right, I’m finally back from CES 2016, after three long and exhausting days of running around the show and a harrowing late-night drive back to Southern California amid rain and snow. And I’ve gotten a good long rest to recover from all of the above.

So let’s talk about what I saw related to UHD BD on the show floor Wednesday...  [Read on here…]

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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to like TheDigitalBits.com page on Facebook for breaking news, site updates on the go, discussion with our staff and other readers, giveaways and more!]

All right, I’m wrapping up our coverage of Press Day at CES 2016 with a quick report of key UHD-related highlights from the big afternoon press events in the day, which featured tech industry giants Samsung and Sony.  [Read on here…]

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We have a little more for you today on the revelation yesterday that 4K may be coming to Blu-ray in the year ahead.  Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Blu-Ray Disc Association’s global promotions committee chair, Victor Matsuda, revealed that ‘the BDA board recently approved work to extend Blu-Ray to include 4K and will be exploring the best possible technical blueprint.’  The work is being done by a task force of representatives from 17 companies including Sony, Technicolor, Dolby, Fox and Disney.  And based on last night’s story, Samsung as well.  [Read on here…]

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Here’s something interesting: A report from CES via The Australian says that Samsung Australia’s vice-president for consumer electronics, Philip Newton, has told the paper that Samsung has developed the technology to produce 4-layer Blu-ray Discs compatible with 4K content.  The discs apparently deliver 25GB per layer, for a total of 100GB.  Newton tells The Australian that the discs could be available as early as the end of 2014.  The BD spec for 4K is apparently still in a “state of flux,” but once the details get worked out, the disc tech will be ready.  [Read on here…]

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