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Posts with tag Blu-ray

HD DVD group: Cheaper PS3 won't help Blu-ray sales

While gamers and retail chains have been mostly praising Sony's new cheaper PS3 (aside from the backward-compatibility issue), the European HD DVD Promotional Group has said the 40GB system won't have much impact on Blu-ray sales in the region.

"The European PS3 price cut will have a minimal impact on the adoption of next generation HD formats. The real battleground is in sales of standalone players and HD DVD is out in front by a massive margin," Co-Chairman of the European HD DVD Promotional Group Ken Graffeo said. According to the group, HD DVD accounts for about 70 percent of the European market, and it expects that number to continue to grow.

However, many believe this year's holiday period will go a long way in deciding which format will reign as king, and we think the HD DVD group may be underestimating the impact of the 40GB PS3.

Hitachi working on 100GB Blu-ray discs

Just when you thought 50GB of data storage was enough, Hitachi has to waltz in and offer double that amount with a new prototype four layer Blu-ray disc. Normally, you'd need a different optical head to read from a disc of this type, but that doesn't seem to be the case with this one. That is, if need be, Hitachi says it will play in regular Blu-ray drives that exist now (which includes our lovely PS3).

Well, there is a catch. All Blu-ray players would have to have their optical heads tweaked a little bit, but it's something that can be worked out in a firmware update. No word on a release for the discs, but as soon as they finish stabilizing the signal quality, we'll hear an announcement of some kind.

[Thanks, Gunegune!]

Blu-ray movie releases for the week of Oct. 9

October has so far been a great month for Blu-ray movie fans. Last week, we were treated to several horror titles, and we're getting a few more this week.
  • 28 Days Later
  • 28 Weeks Later
  • Surf's Up
  • Robocop
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie
  • From Hell
  • Reign Over Me
  • Nature's Journey
  • The Fly
Not only are classics like The Fly and Twilight Zone: The Movie heading our way, but we'll also get to see Tim Burton's underappreciated Edward Scissorhands in hi-def glory. If there's one movie you pick up this week, it's gotta be Scissorhands.

Kaz Hirai believes disc formats aren't dying yet

A lot of people have been feeling that, with the advent of downloadable content and increased broadband internet in homes, the discs we've all come to love and cherish would phase out of existence. In an interview with Hollywood In Hi-Def, Kaz Hirai expressed just the opposite. There's also a small 360/PS3/DVD/Blu-ray debate, but we've heard all that before so we'll just ignore that tidbit of the interview.

Sony is looking into further media expansion with the PS3, implies Hirai, stating they are "reviewing options for other content to be delivered through PLAYSTATION®Network, including music, movies, and TV, all of which can be found in the Sony family of companies." This is probably what brought up the conversation about the future of discs, particularly Blu-ray. Is the disc a dying format? Hirai shakes his head. "Far from it. For many years to come there will be a place at the table for disc-based content in the world of entertainment. It is about offering consumers options. Some may like the convenience of downloading a game at home, while others will always want the experience of going to the store and talking to the clerks and other consumers about the games they are interested in." Well, we personally just like having something tangible -- we gave up money, so having something to show for it is a plus. How many of you guys and gals like having a physical representation of your spent money? Or would you rather just download it all?

Blu-ray movie releases for the week of Sept. 30

Now that we're entering the month of Halloween, we'll be seeing an influx of Blu-ray horror movies, and we can't be more excited. This week we're treated with vampires, zombies and psychotic killers, but if horror isn't your thing, you should be covered with A Room with a View and Galapagos.
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula
  • The Day After Tomorrow
  • Halloween
  • Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
  • Dawn of the Dead
  • Day of the Dead
  • Galapagos
  • A Room with a View
Any time two George Romero and Sam Raimi classics are released in the same week, you know you're in heaven. Do yourself a favor and at least pick up Dawn of the Dead; it's the best zombie movie ever made.

Report: Blu-ray/HD DVD war to end in 18 months

It's probably fair to say we're all tired of hi-def movies coming on two formats, and we just can't wait until this silly war is over. Thankfully, the end is in sight, according to Forrester Research, which released a report stating it believes the high-def movie format war will finally end in 18 months with Sony's Blu-ray eventually coming out on top.

However, Forrester Research analyst J.P. Gownder said Sony still has some work to go before it can be crowned, beginning with cutting prices. "Blu-ray needs to offer a viable hardware model at the $250 price point by Christmas 2007," he said. "Failure to alter strategy would open up Blu-ray to a possible upset defeat at the hands of HD DVD."

Although Paramount's defection to the HD DVD camp certainly was a blow to Blu-ray, companies have been ramping up support of Sony's movie format, both with increased movie support and shelf space. Either way, we just hope it comes to an end long before their prognostication.

Blu-ray movie releases for the week of Sept. 24

Although this week we don't get quite the quantity or quality of Blu-ray releases that we did last week, we can relish in the fact that if you compiled bits and pieces from each movie, it could possibly make the most bad-ass movie of all time.

Just imagine werewolves, cowboys and the Japanese doing battle against vampires, Nazis and Yankees as Halle Berry comes on screen to spout some nonsense and just looks pretty. You really can't get any better than that.
  • Underworld: Unrated
  • Black Book
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Tekkonkinkreet
  • The Wild Bunch
  • Wyatt Earp
  • Gods and Generals
  • Gothika
But if this week's releases don't satisfy you, just wait until next week when we're invaded by the undead – now that's something werewolves, vampires or Nazis just can't kill.

Blu-ray movie releases for the week of Sept. 16th

It looks like Sony and the rest of the Blu-ray crew are ensuring our feelings aren't still hurt from that fiasco a few weeks ago as we're getting 13 titles to choose from this week.
  • Troy: Director's Cut
  • Smallville: The Complete Sixth Season
  • Alexander Revisted: The Final Cut
  • A Few Good Men
  • The Condemned
  • We Are Marshall
  • Deliverance
  • House of 1000 Corpses
  • Viva Las Vegas
  • The Best of Blu-ray, Vol. 1
  • The Best of Blu-ray, Vol. 2
  • The Best of Blu-ray, Vol. 3
  • Jailhouse Rock
Not only does this week's releases feature a great assortment of movies any guy would love, it also includes three volumes of The Best of Blu-ray, which feature four classic movies in each set. What really makes these collections great, though, is the incredible savings you get. Each set is currently on sale at $58 at Amazon - that's like getting two movies free!

Blu-ray has 8 year advantage over the Internet

Ah, Sony executives. They love saying things, and Don Eklund, executive vice president of advanced technologies for Sony Pictures, is no exception. On the topic of movies, Eklund claims that no one wants to download them from the World Wide Web and that "Blu-ray has a good 8 to 10 years before the Internet catches up". That is a lot of years. Of course, hyper-billionaire Bill Gates is famously known for saying that "No one will need more than 637K of memory for a personal computer", so who knows what exactly the future of computers or data transfer speeds will be.

When asked by Pocket-lint about Blu-ray consumers who want to watch HD-DVD exclusive titles, Rich Marty, vice president of new business development, answers briefly "buy it on DVD" and let the upscaling of the Blu-ray player handle the work. Good advice for anyone looking to watch Paramount films in the future.

Marty also praises the consumers and feels that they are "smart enough to realise the benefits and pay the extra accordingly" for Blu-ray over HD-DVD. Oh, and by the way, did you know that PS3s can play Blu-ray discs? Not many do, it seems.

Fox and MGM expand Blu-ray exclusive offerings

The HD wars are stronger than ever. In a statement clearly triggered by Paramount and Dreamworks' surprising move to HD DVD exclusivity, Fox and MGM are both pledging increased exclusive support for Blu-ray. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Live Free or Die Hard, and Fox's first-ever TV release on BD, Prison Break, have all been announced for release on Blu-ray.

These discs won't skimp on exclusive features. According to GameDaily BIZ, a "vast majority" of its movies will arrive on 50 GB dual-layer discs, with BD-J interactivity and Blu-ray exclusive HD bonus materials -- something that has been sorely lacking on most BDMV releases.

So why support Blu-ray over HD DVD? It's simple: better sales. "Given that Blu-ray has consistently outsold HD DVD all year, and this is the case for any titles released by any studio in both formats, we believe that the time is right for us to accelerate our activities and help convert the nearly 60 million high definition households worldwide into Blu-ray households," commented Mike Dunn, President Worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Paramount drops Blu-ray support -- everybody groans

After months of reports proving that Blu-ray sells more movies than HD-DVD, Paramount's parent company Viacom has announced that they are dropping Blu-ray support and going HD-DVD exclusive. According to Viacom, they made this decision based on researching the benefits of HD-DVD, which "confirmed the clear benefits of HD DVD." Some of the benefits of HD-DVD that they mentioned included lower sales, a much smaller user base, and limited storage space (okay okay, they actually said 'market ready technology' and 'lower manufacturing costs').

There are rumors of a 150 million dollar payout by the HD-DVD consortium to nab the Viacom exclusivity, which sure would help explain the move more than the officially given reasons. Regardless, we now can look at the format-war that nobody wanted getting strung out even longer. Yay -- thanks Viacom.

[Thanks to everybody who sent this in]

Blu-ray movie releases for the week of August 20th

This week we get a nice variety of Blu-ray movies hitting the shelves. We have the German post-WWII thriller, The Lives of Others, the Beethoven love story Immortal Beloved, Perfect Stranger a high tech sex thriller with Halle Barry and Bruce Willis, and Van Wilder, a classic a teenager sex comedy with Ryan Reynolds. Here's the official release list:
  • The Lives of Others
  • Immortal Beloved
  • Perfect Stranger
  • National Lampoon's Van Wilder (Unrated)
The Lives of Others is a big critic favorite, while Van Wilder is a big fan favorite. Both are great, but hit rather different ends of the genre. Which side do you fall on, tense social intrigue or boobie jokes?

Blu-ray outsells HD DVD 2:1; 72% of PS3 owners own Blu-ray movie

It's clear that the next-gen movie format wars are shifting towards a victor. New data from Home Media Research shows that Blu-ray is gaining significant momentum, selling twice as many discs in the first half of this year than HD DVD. Sales of Blu-ray disc movies totaled 1.6 million units, compared with 795,000 HD DVD discs. Over the course of both formats' lifetimes, Blu-ray has about a 1 million unit advantage.

Could PS3 be the reason for such a significant boom in Blu-ray sales? Quite possibly. Dave Karraker offered GameDaily BIZ some statistics from their internal survey data:
  • The average survey respondent owns 4.5 Blu-ray movies and 119 DVDs.
  • 72% of respondents purchased at least 1 Blu-ray movie since acquiring a PS3.
  • 87% of respondents intend to purchase at least one Blu-ray movie in the next 12 months.
It was a high-risk gamble, but it appears that Sony's inclusion of Blu-ray is finally helping its intentions to have a dominant media format in the market.

Unreal Tournament 3 may possibly have more maps, thanks to Blu-ray

Much like how George Bluth Sr. was having a love affair with his ice cream sandwich, Mark Rein of Epic Games has admitted his feelings toward the new Blu-ray format. Don't worry, his feelings are positive and returned in full. Speaking about Unreal Tournament 3, Mark Rein talked of the advantage the PS3 version may have over the 360: "we may have fewer maps on the 360 version...Blu-Ray has definitely given us a lot of legroom." Boo-yah, Blu-ray!

Rein wasn't quite finished there, however. He even thought ahead to Unreal Tournament 4, saying "If you think down the road, well maybe the next UT beyond this one, on Blu-ray disc, we might fill the whole damn disc with all the cool stuff the mod makers make." We'd be very excited to see that, really! So there's even more proof that not only is Blu-ray a handy asset, but it'll give us all more stuff down the line.

[Update: Changed title to more accurately reflect content.]

Heavenly Sword has 10GB of sound data alone

What's that about Blu-ray discs not being needed? According to Develop Magazine, Heavenly Sword has over 10 GB of sound FX, with three and a half hours of music, 4500 different lines of dialogue, and an hour and a half of cut scenes recorded in eleven (!) different languages. This means that without even counting the textures, art, models or anything else, the game couldn't fit on a normal DVD. It also means we're in for a hell of an aural treat when the game comes out next month.

Tom Covin, the audio lead for Ninja Theory, explains why they've put so much time and effort into their music and sound effects, "For me, sound is very 'immediate' to the player. Music has a well-established cultural language; sound is much less clearly delineated – but you can get straight to someone's emotional responses with it – there's little time for the brain to analyse. Sound is key in making this awesome weapon – the Heavenly Sword – come to life so you can sense its brooding power and almost hear it feeding off each kill."

The Develop article delves in deep into the sound theory and technology that was used in the development of Heavenly Sword and is a great read for those interested in some of the behind-the-scene machinations of one of the PS3's most anticipated titles. If only September would come a little quicker ...

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