My Two Cents

All right, we’re closing out the week at CES 2017 with a couple of additional bits of 4K and industry-related news.

But first, Disney and Marvel have just officially announced the Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo, Digital SD, DVD, and On-Demand release of Doctor Strange on 2/28. The Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere release is expected on 2/14. Extras on the Blu-ray versions will include audio commentary by director Scott Derrickson, 5 deleted scenes (Strange Meets Daniel Drumm, Kaecilius Searches for Answers, The Kamar-Taj Courtyard, Making Contact, and Lost in Kathmandu), 5 featurettes (A Strange Transformation, Strange Company, The Fabric of Reality, Across Time and Space, and The Score-cerer Supreme), a Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look, the Team Thor: Part 2 spoof (with Thor and his roommate, Darryl), and a gag reel. The Blu-rays will feature 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Per Disney tradition, the digital release will also include its own exclusive featurette (Through the Keyhole: The Science of the MCU). You can see the cover artwork for the Blu-ray versions left and below.  [Read on here…]

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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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This has been an interesting couple of months for me, to say the least. As you may be aware, I’ve just spent the last eight weeks completely immersing myself in all the various ins, outs, and nuances of the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format. I’ve watched disc and after disc, and have reviewed nine of them so far (you can find them here, with more on the way). I’ve put the format’s first player, the Samsung UDB-K8500 (which I’ll review more fully soon, but about which I’ve got some key things to say below) through its paces. I’ve spoken with many of the leading studios, engineers, and content producers (who are really starting to work with the format) about the format. And I’ve come to a number of what I believe are well-informed conclusions about it, based on my nearly two decades of experience doing what I do. [Read on here…]

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