March 25, 2011
Buffalo outs quad-layer BDXL burner
Buffalo has coughed out a new external BDXL burner, making quad-layer optical burning a little more mainstream. The US$275 BRXL-PC6U2-BK burner requires a single USB 2.0 connection functions though a second is required for 4x writing speeds. Hitting shelves this week in Japan, the burner requires BR-R XL discs which will set you back $50 or $60 each. Wow!
February 2, 2011
Toshiba D-BW500 combines Blu-ray and VHS for $860
Do you remember the term VHS? No, me neither. But apparently Toshiba does. This morning the company announced the D-BW500, a combination VHS, DVD and Blu-ray player with a 320 GB hard drive crammed into its shell.
The unit allows users to copy old VHS movies onto Blu-ray, DVD or the disc drive and includes REGZA link, an SHDC card slot for JPEG and AVCHD viewing, a USB port and a double digital TV tuner.
The Toshiba D-BW500 will ship in Japan within the next few days for the bargain price (cough, cough!) of US$860.
January 31, 2011
Amazon's Lovefilm on all UK Samsung Blu-ray players
The UK's Lovefilm may have recently been acquired by online retail giant Amazon, but that hasn't slowed the former's forward progress down in any way.
Samsung has announced today that it will include Lovefilm movie streaming by way of application on all of its UK Blu-ray players. The app will be activated by a Lovefilm subscription of £5.99 or above and give customers access to thousands of movies via Samsung's Internet@TV service.
Via The Register
January 18, 2011
Japan REALLY loves 3D home theater hardware
When it comes to setting trends, the country of Japan is often a likely culprit. Japan is at it again with rapidly increasing adoption of 3D-compatible home theater hardware. According to blog Crunchgear, 57% of Blu-ray recorders and 23% of all 40-inch plus HDTVs sold in Japan last month were 3D ready. This is up from roughly 7% and 3% for each, respectively, in early fall 2010. Cheaper prices and the holiday season probably bumped up these numbers temporarily, but big numbers nonetheless.
January 11, 2011
Image Constraint Token to wreck Blu-ray HD over analog
The days of HD over analog are coming to an end. Any new Blu-ray player announced after January 1, 2011 will only output HD over HDMI. Transmission through a component connection will automatically downgrade HD content to 540p thanks to something called Image Constraint token or ICT. Studios will set this on titles from now on but thankfully will have to mark it on the Blu-ray disc box and cannot retroactively apply it to any Blu-ray discs you may have now. You can also buy a Blu-ray player announced last year until the end of this year to temporarily override the issue. In the end though, this is a good thing. By the end of 2013, analog outputs will no longer be integrated into Blu-ray players at all and the move to higher definition digital output will be a great thing for HDTV viewers everywhere.
January 5, 2011
Philips outs piles of 3D/HD toys at CES 2011
High-definition junkies will be pleased to browse the latest news from Philips over coffee this morning. The company has announced a variety of new products at the Consumer Electronics Show this morning including its 4000, 5000 and 6000 HDTV series', five Blu-ray home theatre systems and 5 new Blu-ray players.
Kicking things off with the 4000 series, you can expect availability in 40- (40PFL4706), 46- (46PFL4706) and 55 (55PFL4706) inch screen sizes, all available with MediaConnect and NetTV sometime this May. The Philips software allows your PC to collaborate with your HDTV in order to access content from the likes of Vudu, Blockbuster and Netflix. All of this is done wirelessly as per 2011 technology. The three models will be priced at $679, $899 and $1099, respectively. 19-, 22- and 32-inch replicas minus the MediaConnect and NetTV integration will also be available for $199.99, $249.99 and $449.99, respectively.
The 5000 series is basically the same bowl of Cheerios with the addition of a Pixel Precise HD engine and a 120 Hz refresh, plus SRS TruSurround HD. Also available in 40- (40PFL5706), 46- (46PFL5706) and 55- (55PFL5706), the 5000 series will set you back $749, $999 and $1499 when they land on shelves sometime in April or May.
On to the 6000 series, available in 40- (40PFL6706), 46- (46PFL6706) and 55-inch (55PFL6706) display sizes once again, you'll get full 3D support for a little extra cash output. Coming this September, the 6000 series will cost $999, $1299 and $1699, respectively.
As for the home theatre systems, they'll ship from February to May with price tags ranging from $269.99 to $449.99. All include MediaConnect and NetTV, three sport 3D support and features like wireless rear speakers appear as the price point increases.
The Blu-ray players will also ship next month until April, beginning at $169.99 and moving on up to $219.99. 3 of the new models will include 3D support and the most expensive BDP7506 also has built-in MediaConnect/NetTV.
September 22, 2010
Playstation 3 to get 3D picture viewing by end of September
Sony's Playstation 3 is supposed to be ready to support 3D Blu-ray discs in October, but by the end of September it will be ready for 3D picture viewing.
A press release issued today says that the 3D image viewing will be available through the new PlayMemories app, downloadable from the Playstation Store by late September. The images have to be shot with 3D-compatible cameras of course, which include the Cyber-shot models WX5 and TX9 and DSLR models A55V and A33.
The PlayMemories app will be free when it arrives in the next few days.
August 9, 2010
THX, BluFocus team up to push 3D Blu-ray into more living rooms
THX and BluFocus have teamed up to ensure 3D Blu-ray viewing experiences meet up to a performance standard that will push the 3D home cinema industry forward. With the partnership's new THX-BluFocus 3D certification, Blu-ray discs will now undergo rigorous analysis to ensure that AV quality, player interoperability and even the potential to cause viewer fatigue (those glasses!) are either met or eliminated.
When you buy a Blu-ray disc, you'll be able to see if it is certified by looking for a certification logo and artwork on the packaging.
July 21, 2010
Plextor PX-B120U BD-ROM only $100!
The next time I'm looking around for a laptop, I'll make sure it has the guts to handle one of these. The Plextor PX-B120U is a BD-ROM drive not only capable of playing back Blu-ray discs from your laptop, but also burning blank DVDs and CDs. The impressive bit is that it's 100% USB-powered and when connected to the upcoming Plexmedia, the PX-B120U can be converted into a living room-based Blu-ray machine. Did I mention it's only a completely (it seems) reasonable $99.99?
Check out the full press release after the jump.
Continue reading: "Plextor PX-B120U BD-ROM only $100!"
July 16, 2010
BDXL Blu-ray discs hold a whopping 128GB!
Sharp has unveiled some new high-capacity Blu-ray discs that work according to the BDXL specification. Originally designed for application such as medical imaging, BDXL, in this case, allows 100GB to be stored on 3 layers of the Blu-ray disc and 128GB on 4 layers. Landing in Japan on the 30th of July for 5000 Yen, the BDXL discs will initially only work with the Sharp BD-HDW700 Blu-ray recorder/player. The 128GB discs will be available in BDXL-R and BDXL-RE versions while the 100GB discs will only be rewritable.
May 12, 2010
Kaleidescape outs M500, M300 Blu-ray servers
California-based Kaleidescape has announced the M500 and M300 Blu-ray players. Both are a little different than usual in that they copy Blu-ray content to a server from which they draw it upon playback. The M500 itself can playback Blu-ray, DVD and CD audio straight from a disc or server, but the M300 can only draw from the server itself. Both units, however, require a physical disc to be present that corresponds with the content being drawn from the server (piracy issues, you know). Combine both units together and you have the "world's first" multi-zone server for Blu-ray content. In the future, the company is also working on a disc boot loader enabling a large number of discs to be kept present within the system. Shipping May 18, the M500 and M300 will have rather expensive MSRPs of $3995 and $2495, respectively.
April 29, 2010
Samsung BD-C6900 3D Blu-ray player reviewed
BIgPictureBigSound had a chance to review the Samsung BD-C6900 Blu-ray player, Samsung's first 3D BD player on the market. For a first-to-market product the BD-C6900 appears to have few problems. The biggest issue seems to be noise as the disc cover on the top of the unit is translucent, eliminating some of the noise protection of a completely solid unit. Other than that problems tend to be related to the newness of the technology. For instance, the C6900 only has one HDMI connection and its version 1.4, leading to compatibility problems with some A/V receivers. No big deal.
And the good outweighs any bad by far. The unit loads just as fast as the fastest units on the market, has a very intuitive user interface, simple 802.11n Wi-Fi connection and a great picture. Worth $400? Not to me, but to the hardest of the hardcore audio/videophiles out there...probably!
March 16, 2010
Avatar Blu-ray coming in April
Don't let the title mislead you. Yes, the James Cameron epic is coming to Blu-ray and DVD this April 22 via 20th Century Fox, but without any 3D features. Just plain old 2D Blu-ray.
But wait. Later this year--in November I hear--another Avatar release will happen. This one supposedly to be a multi-disc special edition with all kinds of new features.
But no 3D.
Yep, Avatar in full 3D won't be coming to Blu-ray or anything else until at least a year or 2 from now. Why? Because none of us have 3D TVs and likely a majority of us--not the readers of this blog of course--are even aware of the 2010 3D video explosion. Maybe there will be a market to support a 3D release in 2012.
Blu-ray holding PS3 sales back: Microsoft
Blu-ray has been holding Sony Playstation 3 sales back, according to Microsoft's director of product management Aaron Greenberg. The integration of a physical Blu-ray disc player and other powerful components kept the price of the PS3 up around $399 while the Microsoft Xbox 360 has sold for a much more reasonable $199. Price is likely the reason that the 360 has outsold the PS3 nearly 2 to 1. But is Blu-ray really the problem?
Since the Playstation Slim came around at a $199 price point, sales of the PS3 have jumped more than 30% year-over-year. Consumer psychology at work here? Maybe.