My Two Cents

My Two Cents

As you might expect at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, 4K was all the rage.  All of the major leading flat panel display companies were showing 4K Ultra HD product at the show, including Sony, LG, Samsung, Toshiba, Vizio and others.  Sizes for actual consumer-bound product ranged from 50-inch “entry level” models to huge displays with over 80-plus-inch diagonals.  Naturally, they all look fantastic – just as they did at last year’s CES.  The catch, of course, is that the market for these displays is really only the super enthusiast – those very high-end consumers willing to pay prices ranging up to well over $20,000 for such a device.  All of the manufacturers claimed that their models will be “more affordable than expected,” but few were willing to quote specific price ranges.  LG did indicate that they intend to have an 84-inch OLED 4K set available in 2013 for around $12,000, but that’s still well outside the price range for all but the most affluent early adopters.

Of course, the problem with 4K Ultra HD isn’t just that the displays themselves will remain exorbitantly expensive for the next few years at least – there’s also the problem of having native 4K video content to view on them.  Sony has pledged to begin offering 4K film titles for their 4K display customers starting this summer, via their own 4K video distribution service.  The company hasn’t specified exactly how this service will work, but it would seem likely that some kind of special Internet-connected set-top box will be involved, employing a secure digital streaming system to deliver content from Sony Pictures servers.  There was unofficial chatter at the show that perhaps the box might include a Blu-ray drive – so if you have the Sony Blu-ray version of a particular title for example, the disc itself would unlock a 4K stream delivered to the box digitally.  Watch for Sony to make official announcements in the next few months.

Greetings from Patient Zero

January 10, 2013 - 7:38 pm   |   by

Evening, folks! Just wanted to check in quickly here to let you know that I’m hard at work on finishing up our CES 2013 coverage and I expect to have it up soon – by tomorrow afternoon with any luck.  But as it happens I’m also working my way through a pretty good head cold – or perhaps I should say that a pretty good head cold is working its way through me – and so it’s taking a little longer than I expected to get it all finished.  Hey… at least it’s not bird flu or zombie plague, right?

Anyway… lest you think I’ve forgotten about you or you’re otherwise not feeling the Bits’ love today, how’s about a couple of new disc reviews?  Our own Joe Marchese has checked in with his thoughts on Twilight Time’s excellent new Blu-ray version of Lost Horizon (1973) and Jeff has dropped in too today with a Blu-ray 3D review of the I-missed-it-myself-but-hear-it’s-excellent Dredd from Lionsgate. So enjoy those and I’ll check back in tomorrow with that CES wrap-up.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve apparently got to add another snot-soaked Kleenex to the huge pile here on my desk… ugh!

Peace out.

- Bill Hunt

With this year’s Consumer Electronics Show now in full swing in Las Vegas, savvy early adopters and home entertainment consumers are getting their first look at lots of hot new gadgets coming in 2013. As usual, among these offerings are new Blu-ray player models from all the major CE companies.  But whereas in past years these players have introduced significant new capabilities or features, this year’s offerings tend to focus on dramatic styling, smaller footprints and incremental improvements in speed, connectivity and A/V quality, including 4K “upscaling” and built-in 2D to 3D conversion.

Sony has planned four new models for 2013, including the BDP-S5100, the BDP-S4100, the BDP-S3100 and the BDP-S1100.  All feature sharply angled lines, integration with the Sony Entertainment Network, Quick Start disc loading, access to Netflix, LOVEFiLM and Internet browsing, and support for TV SideView which allows the devices to be controlled by an Android or Apple iOS app.  The BDP-S5100 and BDP-S3100 will include built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, while the other two are Wi-Fi ready.  The BDP-S5100 is also Blu-ray 3D compatible and will offer built-in 2D to 3D conversation.  Sony’s new players are expected to start arriving on store shelves next month.

Sony BDP-S5100

It’s official: CBS has just announced (via Star the Blu-ray release of a title we suggested was in the works for HD several months ago.  Star Trek: Enterprise will officially arrive on Blu-ray as a 6-disc set on 3/26 (SRP $130 – but you can reasonably expect Amazon to have it available for around the same price as the TNG BD sets).  All of the extras from the previous DVD release will carry over, and you’ll get significant new content as well including an all-new, multi-part retrospective documentary called To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise.  It’s some 19 hours of content in all. From the official press release, the documentary:

“ fans an inside look at the development and production of the series and is exclusive to this collection. The documentary features interviews with the show’s cast and crew, some of which were shot as recently as December 2012, as well as archival footage and behind-the-scenes clips. The documentary includes:

Part One: Countdown - Chronicles the challenges faced by the producers and creative staff as they attempt to launch a new chapter in the Star Trek saga by making the then-radical decision to create a prequel to the beloved original series. Features all new interviews with key personnel including creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, production designer Herman Zimmerman, technical consultants Michael and Denise Okuda, writers Andre Bormanis, Phyllis Strong and more.

Part Two: Boarding the NX-01 - Follows the team as they begin the casting process and production on the series 2-hour pilot Broken Bow. Features all-new interviews with key cast and crew including series pilot director James L. Conway and series leads Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer), Connor Trinneer (Trip Tucker), and Dominic Keating (Malcolm Reed).

Part Three: First Flight - Charts the course for the rest of the series’ first season including all-new interviews with key production and post-production personnel.

The six-disc set also includes a candid conversation with the series’ creators, Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, offering a glimpse into their creative process. In addition, the Blu-ray features brand new commentaries on select episodes from the season, along with a host of previously released special features such as deleted scenes and outtakes.”

Specific extras in the set will include:

Disc One: 

  • Audio Commentary with co-creator/executive producer Brannon Braga, director James L. Conway, visual effects producer Dan Curry and cast members Connor Trinneer (Trip Tucker) and Dominic Keating (Malcolm Reed) on Broken BowNEW!
  • Audio Commentary with Brannon Braga and Rick Berman on Broken Bow
  • Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda on Broken Bow
  • Deleted Scenes from Broken Bow (SD)
  • Deleted Scenes from Fight or Flight (SD)
  • In Conversation: Rick Berman and Brannon BragaNEW! (HD)
  • Archival Mission Log: Creating Enterprise (SD)
  • Archival Mission Log: O Captain! My Captain! A Profile of Scott Bakula (SD)
  • Archival Mission Log: NX-01 File 02 (SD)
  • Cast Introduction—NEW (SD)
  • Network Presentation—NEW (SD)
  • Syndication Presentation—NEW (SD)

Disc Two: 

  • Deleted Scene from Unexpected (SD)
  • Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda on The Andorian Incident
  • Archival Mission Log: Cast Impressions: Season 1 (SD)
  • Archival Mission Log: Enterprise Secrets (SD)

Disc Three:

  • Audio commentary with writer/story editor André Bormanis and visual effects producer Dan Curry on Silent EnemyNEW!
  • Deleted Scene from Sleeping Dogs (SD)
  • Archival Mission Log: Star Trek Time Travel: Temporal Cold Wars and Beyond (SD)
  • Archival Mission Log: Admiral Forrest Takes Center Stage (SD)

Disc Four: 

  • Audio Commentary with writers/executive story editors Mike Sussman and Phyllis Strong on Shadows of P’JemNEW!
  • Audio Commentary with co-creator/executive producer Brannon Braga, director David Livingston and cast members Connor Trinneer (Trip Tucker) and Dominic Keating (Malcolm Reed) on Shuttlepod OneNEW!
  • Deleted Scene from Shuttlepod One (SD)
  • Archival Mission Log: Inside Shuttlepod One (SD)
  • Archival Mission Log: NX-01 File 01 (SD)
  • Archival Mission Log: NX-01 File 03 (SD) 

Disc Five: 

  • Deleted Scenes from Oasis (SD)
  • Deleted Scenes from Fallen Hero (SD)
  • Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda on Vox Sola
  • Archival Mission Log: Enterprise Outtakes (SD)
  • On The SetNEW (SD)

Disc Six: 

  • Deleted Scene from Two Days and Two Nights (SD)
  • Deleted Scenes from Shockwave, Part 1 (SD)
  • Documentary: To Boldly Go: Launching EnterpriseNEW! (HD)
    • Part 1: Countdown
    • Part 2: Boarding the NX-01
    • Part 3: First Flight
    • Archival Mission Log: Celebrating Star Trek (SD)

Here’s a look at the final design of the cover artwork chosen by CBS…

Star Trek: Enterprise - Season One (Blu-ray Disc)

We expect pre-orders to start soon, so we’ll update the cover art link as soon as they’re on. Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

All right, this is going to be a busy week.  As most of you know, the annual Consumer Electronics Show has kicked off in Las Vegas, so there should be some interesting announcements related to new Blu-ray players, HD, 3D and 4K displays.  We’ll check in off and on all week with the latest news and announcements.

Meanwhile, there are a couple of big new title announcements to report today…

Summit and Lionsgate have just revealed plans to release The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Extended Edition on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on 3/2 (SRP $29.99 and $22.98 for the disc formats).  Director Bill Condon has restored some 8 minutes of new and extended scenes back into the theatrical cut of the film (which will also be included) for this release.  You’ll also get optional audio commentary by Condon. You’ll get a look at the BD cover artwork below.

Also, Universal has set The Man with the Iron Fists: Unrated Extended Edition for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 2/12. Extras are TBA.

Sony has set The First Time and Mob Doctor: The Complete First Season for DVD only release on 3/12, followed by Angus Buchan’s Ordinary People on DVD only on 3/19.

Nickelodeon and Paramount have set Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles for DVD only release on 2/26.

And Image will release All Superheroes Must Die on BD and DVD on 1/29.

Now then… is now taking pre-orders for P.T. Anderson’s The Master and Silver Livings Playbook, both Weinstein Company titles.  SRP for each is $39.99. Click the links to pre-order.

Now then… we’ve got an update for you on the audio problems with Sony’s Total Recall Blu-ray Disc.  As I reported last we asked the studio for an update on the nature of the issue and what their plans were to address it.  We’ve now gotten two responses from them.  The first is a statement and information from the technical team on how to get around the issue:

“The complex branching on initial shipments of the Blu-ray Disc for Total Recall has caused a few unexpected dropouts in the lossless audio streams during disc play only on select player/receiver combinations.  This issue only occurs if the lossless audio is decoded through an audio receiver or home theater system.  If the Blu-ray player is connected directly to the TV, or if the lossless audio is set to decode directly through the Blu-ray player, there should be no issue.

 SPHE is working with manufacturers on a possible firmware upgrade solution meanwhile, the playback in the affected player combinations can be resolved through a simple fix by changing the player’s audio settings to decode directly through the Blu-ray player by changing the settings as outlined below.”

 PS3 Slim - From PS3 crossbar, go to:

  1. Settings
  2. Video Settings
  3. BD/DVD Audio Output Format (HDMI)
  4. Change to Linear PCM

Sony BDP-S360 / Sony BDP-S460 / Sony BDP-S560 – From player crossbar, go to:

  1. Setup
  2. Audio Settings
  3. BD Audio Setting
  4. Change to Mix

Sony 790 – From player crossbar, go to:

  1. Setup
  2. Audio Setting
  3. BD Audio Mix Setting
  4. Change to On

Oppo BDP-83  / Oppo BDP-93

  1. Goto Setup
  2. Audio Format Setup
  3. HDMI Audio
  4. Select LPCM

LG 370

  1. Goto Setup
  2. Audio
  3. HDMI
  4. Select PCM Multi-Ch

Panasonic BD-35 / Panasonic BD-55

  1. Goto Setup
  2. Audio
  3. Digital Audio Ouput
  4. Dolby Digital / Dolby Digital + / Dolby TrueHD
  5. Select PCM

Panasonic BD-110

  1. Goto Setup
  2. Player Settings
  3. Audio
  4. Digital Audio Ouput
  5. Dolby Digital / Dolby Digital + / Dolby TrueHD
  6. Select PCM

As you can imagine, those are the specific models of player that seem to be encountering issues.  Now then… at the same time we’ve also heard back from SPHE Customer Support through e-mail inquiries (to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) by a number of readers.  Here’s what they say:

“Sony is reprinting this title without the defects.  We will ship you a replacement when we receive the new disks.  In order to send you a replacement we do ask that you send us your copy.  First we do need the following information:

What is the UPC # under the barcode of the movie case?

Your Name?

Mailing address (No PO Boxes)?

Once we receive this information, we will send you information on how to return your disk to us.


SPHE Consumer Affairs - 800-860-2878 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

So there you go: Sony is attacking the problem from both ends by trying to work with manufacturers to update firmware and by manufacturing replacement discs.  If you’d rather not wait for firmware updates, free to use the SPHE contact information above to arrange your own replacement copy.

Now then… we’ll leave you with at look at the BD cover artwork for Summit and Lionsgate’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Extended Edition, Universal’s The Man with the Iron Fists and Fox’s How Green Was My Valley (due 1/15)…

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1: Extended Edition (Blu-ray Disc)    The Man with the Iron Fists (Blu-ray Disc)    How Green Was My Valley (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned.

- Bill Hunt

Contact Bill Hunt

Please type your full name.
Invalid email address.
Please send us a message.
Invalid Input

Bits Latest Tweets

The Digital Bits
Bits #BD Review – @timsalmons catches up with the 3-D Film Archive's efforts by resurrecting the 1953 #Western WINGS OF THE HAWK—now available on #Bluray with a wonderful #3D restoration from @KLStudioClassic. @BillHuntBits…
The Digital Bits
Bits #4K Review – @BillHuntBits checks out Daniel Craig’s final outing as MI6 Agent 007, NO TIME TO DIE, in a reference quality #UltraHD release from MGM & Universal…
The Digital Bits
Today on The Bits – Escape from LA & Touch of Evil are coming in #4K, plus Sony finally sets Looper for US #UltraHD release, and lots more #UHD & #Bluray announcement news…