My Two Cents

Disney surprise: Home Alone & Hocus Pocus on 4K in September, plus Samsung BD player issues & more

June 24, 2020 - 6:04 pm   |   by
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We start today with another new disc review for your reading enjoyment: Tim has taken a look at Nico Mastorakis’ The Wind (1986) on Blu-ray from Arrow Video and he’s got some thoughts on it for you. Do give it a look.

Now then... we have a little bit of a surprise for you today on the 4K front. Retail sources are reporting that Walt Disney Studios is preparing to release Kenny Ortega’s Hocus Pocus (1993) and Chris Columbus’ Home Alone (1990) on Blu-ray in September, presumably in time for the holidays.

This is interesting because while the titles are popular and have certainly sold well on DVD and Blu-ray, they’re somewhat unlikely titles for release on 4K. Home Alone is also a Fox title. And both are live action catalog films, a category that Disney has yet to really exploit on the physical 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format. [Read on here...]

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But while these titles may seem like strange choices for release in 4K, they do make sense as part of Disney’s larger strategy—both properties are currently being rebooted by the studio, Home Alone in particular for its Disney+ service.

There’s been no official studio announcement made yet of these titles, but that’s not atypical of Disney these days and both are now up for pre-order in the UK (see these links—here and here—at WowHD). We expect them to start appearing for pre-order from US retailers in the weeks ahead too. We do have retail temp art for Hocus Pocus only, which you can see above left (note that the final art may differ a bit).

In other news today, some Samsung Blu-ray player and Blu-ray home theater users have apparently been experiencing a strange issue with their hardware over the last few days (see examples here on the US and UK Samsung community support forums). Affected models include (but are not limited to) the BD-J5900 and J5700 players, the HT-J4500 and J5500 home cinema systems and more. The basic issue is that players are stuck in boot loops, infinite disc load times, and the like. This may have been caused by a recent firmware update or it’s possible an SSL certificate used by the players has expired. Or it could be another issue altogether. Samsung isn’t saying yet, but they ARE saying that they’re aware of the problem and that it’s fixable on their end. So if you’re having the problem, the best thing you can do is make sure you’re in contact with their support people (check those forums regularly) and hopefully they’ll have a fix for the issue soon. It’s worth keeping in mind that Samsung officially exited the Blu-ray player market back in 2019 (as we reported here on The Bits at the time). Obviously, someone at Samsung took their eyes off the ball a little too much in terms of their existing community support. In any case, if you’re a Samsung user and you hear of a fix for this issue, please let us know so we can pass on the word here.

Finally today, I believe I promised you an update on why my news posts have been a little infrequent here in the last week or so. It’s down to a few things, honestly.

With the current pandemic we’re all experiencing, and the subsequent economic collapse, we here at The Digital Bits have been impacted just like everyone else. Our advertising revenue has basically been cut in half or more, as have Amazon affiliate revenues. And that makes perfect sense—advertisers and movie fans are belt-tightening to ride out the storm. But it means I’ve had to spend more of my time doing side work to bring in revenue to help keep the site going, because our costs to operate the site (servers, bandwidth, internet security, IT support, just to name a few) are still what they are. Which also means that I’ve been burning the candle on both ends and in between. Another aspect of this is that the Hollywood studios have been impacted too. Lots of people in the industry are furloughed or working from home, and they’ve dramatically curtailed the amount of Blu-ray and 4K screener product they’re sending out. In fact, many of them are having trouble just getting sufficient product into retail and online stores (this is why copies of Jaws 4K have been tough to find of late). So we have less content to review and I personally have less time to review it (though Tim and Dennis have been doing yeoman’s work on their end). Of course, like you, we all watch the news too—which seems to be a daily horror show now—and we’re exposed to all the toxicity on social media of late as well.

As a result of all this, I must confess: I’m a little burnt out and exhausted. Maybe more than a little. And for the last week, I haven’t been sleeping well. So I’m trying to take a little more time to recharge, exercise, unplug, and basically just do whatever is necessary to keep the site going and maintain my sanity.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying: Please bear with us and thank you for your patience. What’s the old saying? “May you live in interesting times.” Well, we certainly do. ;)

That’s all for now. I hope each of you is hanging in there too. Back again soon.

Stay tuned...!

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)



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