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June 7, 2008

June 5, 2008

Blu-ray Drives Dropping To $100: Sony NEC Optiarc

image.php.jpgBlu-ray really is a tough one. Yes the format won the war over HD DVD, but it hasn't really taken off yet, one reason being that standalone Blu-ray player prices haven't come down to the mainstream buyer realm yet. If you're willing to either watch Blu-ray discs on your computer or stream computer Blu-ray playback to your HDTV, Sony NEC Optiarc has forecasted a big breakthrough for Blu-ray this Christmas when Blu-ray combo drive prices come down to the $100 mark. Laptop drives, about $150. And if you're interested in burning disc, you'll be looking at paying about $150-$200. However, until this prediction pans out we're sticking by our recommendation to buy a PS3 if you're looking at Blu-ray.

Via Tom's Hardware

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June 3, 2008

Samsung's BD-UP5000 Firmware Update v1.3 A Big Improvement On Update v1.2

12-24-07-samsung_bd-up5000.jpgSamsung's BD-UP5000 Blu-ray/HD DVD combo player has firmware update v1.3 all ready for you to download if you happen to own one, and it looks to be a big improvement on the v1.2 update which was little more than a giant fix for a bunch of compatibility issues and network connection problems inherent in the BD-UP5000 from the beginning. Update v1.3 upgrades the BD-UP5000 to Blu-ray Profile 1.1, adds an HD audio bitstream output function, changes the user interface to Profile 1.1, and improves the playback compatibility in some movies. That last point there makes it seem like v1.2 didn't fix all the problems with the Samsung player, so if you're looking for the latest fix you can download v.13 here.

Via Engadget HD

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June 2, 2008

Has Blu-ray Gone Mainstream When It's Hit The Public Library?

050517_dvd_library_hmed5p.hmedium.jpgWho would have thought Toledo, Ohio would be so ahead of its time in the high-def department. The Toledo Free Press reported today that the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library is freshly stocked with a 200 Blu-ray disc collection featuring everything from blockbuster titles to nature documentaries. Patrons can rent up to 6 titles at a time, making us wonder how long the Blu-ray offering will last. If we could offer the Toledo library some advice, it would be this: Jack up the late fees before it's too late!

Via Blu-ray

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May 31, 2008

DVDPlay Kiosks Offering Blu-ray Rental Next Month, Only $1.49

2805.jpgDVDPlay, one of the big names in the DVD rental kiosk world, is set to start renting Blu-ray discs alongside DVD's in early June making them the first rental kiosk operator to offer Blu-ray rentals. Not only is this great for HD fans looking for convenient rental options, but so is the rental price: Blu-ray rentals will carry the same $1.49 price tag as regular DVD's. Blu-ray has been facing some criticism lately for its failure to really emerge as a valid competitor to standard-def DVD's since the death of HD DVD, and this is an excellent way for the HD optical format to gain some market exposure. A couple of the early titles to keep an eye out for at DVDPlay kiosks are Untraceable, expected to be available as a Blu-ray rental June 10 and Men In Black which could be available as early as its release date of June 17.

Via The Man Room

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May 26, 2008

Microsoft Says Blu-ray Sucks, Xbox Live Marketplace So Much Better

shanekim(2).jpgAlthough rumors that the next incarnation of the Xbox 360 will include a built-in Blu-ray player have started and stopped over and over again, Microsoft's Shane Kim seemingly put any chance of another rumor to rest. In fact not only has he said repeatedly that "Blu-ray is not coming to the Xbox 360 in any way shape or form", but now he's saying that "Blu-ray won't take off" at all.

I know Blu-ray provides some visual boost for people who want a physical HD format, but we're not seeing that format taking off, in general," Kim said. "The DVD format is still doing well. Eventually, the price of Blu-ray players will come down to $150 and the value proposition of a $300 or $400 PlayStation 3 as a game console and movie player will be impacted.

The above words from Kim can be interpreted to mean that Microsoft believes Blu-ray sucks so bad, the cost you would have to pay for a Blu-ray Xbox 360 isn't worth the box the game console ships in. Kim also points out the with 10 million people downloading movies from the Xbox Live Marketplace so far, Blu-ray's numbers are peanuts in comparison. Anyone want to start a rumor?

Via Format War Central

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May 23, 2008

Panasonic's UniPhier 3 Blu-ray Processor Could Mean Profile 2.0 Blu-ray Player Prices Will Drop

uniphier3_panasonic_052108(2).jpgYou know Blu-ray hasn't quite reached a mainstream price point when manufacturers try to pawn off a $750 Profile 1.0 player as affordable, but Panasonic's new UniPhier 3 processor, its 3rd generation 45nm chip, could soon change that. Half the size of Panasonic's second-gen chip, the UniPhier 3 should reduce production costs ultimately resulting in lower prices for you and me when it comes time to grabbing a Blu-ray player off store shelves. More impressive is the fact that while $750 may only get you Profile 1.0 features right now, the UniPhier 3 handles all of Blu-ray's Profile 2.0 features. That includes picture-in-picture, new graphics engine, laser control, DivX 1080p, ethernet controller, DTS-HD MA, and Dolby TrueHD. Sample shipments start next month, so hopefully come the second half of 2008 we'll see the UniPhier 3 in action.

Via Engadget HD

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May 22, 2008

Wooo! Hitachi Wooo DV-BH250 Blu-ray Recorder Hitting Japan In June

Wooo-DV-BH250-Hitachi.jpgYou know companies are running out of brand names when they start naming things Wooo and Wii, but Hitachi's new Wooo DV-BH250 caught our attention nonetheless. Landing in Japan in June, the DV-BH250 not only functions as a typical Blu-ray recorder, but has 250 GB of internal hard disk space, an HDMI output for playback on your high-def TV, and will even compress HD with AVCREC so that you can burn it onto regular DVD's. Very cool! Coming to the US in the future? Who knows.

Via TechDigest

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May 21, 2008

Denon Previews "More Affordable" DVD-1800BD Blu-ray Player Priced At "Only" $749

Denon_Blu-ray.jpgWow, Denon has introduced a "more affordable" Blu-ray player. Of course we have to keep affordable relative to the brand and Denon being a high-end name and all that means $749. That's what the new Denon DVD-1800BD Blu-ray player will cost you and it's not even a Profile 2.0 player. That means no ethernet connection at all although you do get picture-in-picture. If you do want some of the more interactive features found on Blu-ray discs, you can download them off the internet onto an SD card which you can then plug into the DVD-1800BD. Other than that the DVD-1800BD features HDMI 1.3a with Deep Color and Bonus View support, output of Dolby and DTS-HD audio, a 2-channel analog audio output for CD playback and standard DVD upscaling to 1080p. Look for this not-so-hot offering from Denon to hit shelves in October 2008.

Via Gizmodo

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Hitachi Wooo DZ-WR90 HDD: Portable Camcorder Dubbing To Blu-ray Disc

Hitachi_DZ-WR90_standalone_Blu-ray_recorder_1(2).jpgCheck out this HD camcorder/Blu-ray solution in the form of the Hitachi Wooo DZ-WR90. It's a Blu-ray HDD connectable with an eSATA cable to compatible HD camcorders such as the Hitachi DZ-HD90, that let's you burn your camcorder video onto Blu-ray or DVD (even double-sided media) and watch it on your HDTV. Although you get to skip the computer altogether, it will take a couple hours to burn the footage. Hitachi claims the DZ-WR90 will store about 3 hours of content at 1920x1080 with a 1.5 hours burn time, or 6 hours at a 1440x1080 resolution. If you prefer the DVD route, you can burn about an hour in 720x480.

Via Slashgear

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