April 17, 2008
Expect an announcement from Universal Studios later today that they'll officially be entering the Blu-ray market July 22. At one time HD DVD's most loyal backer, Universal will ironically kick off its Blu-ray campaign with another flop, Doomsday. They'll also be releasing its Mummy movie trio at the same time-The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, and spinoff The Scorpion King starring wrestler The Rock.
Other titles included in the total of 40 Universal plans to have on shelves come year end include The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and musical adaptation Mamma Mia.
All Blu-ray releases will be coupled with the identical DVD release.
April 12, 2008
Now that Blu-ray is the HD disc format of choice among consumers, laptop manufacturers are beginning to integrate Blu-ray optical drives into computers like crazy. The top 5 Blu-ray laptops currently according to CNET Asia are Dell's Inspiron 1520 and XPS M1730, Sony's VAIO models VGN-AR59GU and VGN-FZ28G, and the HP Pavilion dv6700, all with Blu-ray drives and all using NVIDIA's GeForce GPUs. NVIDIA seems to have formed an indirect bond with the Blu-ray format, providing remarkable video quality and stutter-free playback of Blu-ray discs and standard-def DVDs. We wouldn't be surprised to see a more official partnership between Blu-ray and NVIDIA in the future, especially with more 3D content likely to hit Blu-ray very soon.
April 8, 2008
While Blu-ray continues to get walloped by standard DVD in the US, the Japanese seemed to have jumped on the Blu-ray bandwagon the second HD DVD died. An internet survey of nearly 15000 Japanese conducted by MyVoice Communications at the beginning of March revealed that a full 81% of those surveyed intend to buy a Blu-ray disc recorder. Of course, they're not that comfortable just yet, as 69.4% of respondents "have no specific schedule for purchasing it".
A large majority of those surveyed weren't prepared to pay more than 50000 Yen for a new Blu-ray, equating to US$493. Evidently the Japanese are willing to pay more than us across the pond who fret over sub-$400 prices, although they state price is the most important factor in making the final decision to purchase a Blu-ray player. Panasonic and Sony were revealed to be the most likely to gain from Blu-ray's popularity in Japan, being ranked as the two most popular Blu-ray manufacturers.
Sony's BDZ-A70 Blu-ray DVR performs all the typical functions of any digital video recorder, but what makes it uniques is its ability to transfer any television content to your Sony PSP or Walkman. Just slip in the PSP's memory stick and with the press of a button, the BDZ-A70 will sync your selected TV shows onto your PSP. You can transfer video in either QVGA 384k or 768k and the download time is remarkably fast, taking only about 3 minutes for the higher-quality 768k and a quick 2 minutes for 384k.
The BDZ-A70 also features a 320 GB HDD, 2 ground analog and digital TV tuners, and Sony Room Link. Japanese customer of NTT's DoCoMo mobile phone service can also transfer video onto their cell phones, which should clue you in to the fact that right now the Sony BDZ-A70 is only available in Japan.
One downside to the BDZ-A70-it can't rip Blu-ray or DVD to your PSP. Darn, that would've been cool!.
Via Akihabara News
April 7, 2008
Sony intend to spend the rest of 2008 attempting to take over the world...in the Blu-ray market that is. Blu-ray's creator, currently the owner of a 20% global market share, wants to up its BD product penetration to 50% by the end of 2008. What'll that take? A wider range of Blu-ray products and prices, which we hope means some "lower-end" Blu-ray players with lower-end prices for those of us not ready to fork out $400 for current models. This is all according to Sony Electronics CEO Ryoji Chubachi, who also revealed at an April 3 press conference in Taipei that Sony will soon be releasing LCD TV's with integrated Blu-ray players/recorders and featuring more Blu-ray integration into IT devices.
April 5, 2008
Hannah Montana's, aka Miley Cyrus', huge "Best of Both Worlds" live concert film which took in some $40 million in box office receipts, will be making a Blu-ray first when it comes to Blu-ray disc August 19. It'll be the first Blu-ray disc to feature a 3D viewing mode in addition to the usual 2D option, in 1080p video resolution of course, and with uncompressed PCM 7.1 Surround audio. Expected to be priced at $35.98, the Disney release will also feature plenty of extras including "The Ultimate Personal Tour" documentary which will follow Hannah through a day of preparing for the tour, as well as two live bonus tracks. Whether or not the 3D viewing mode will require any 3D glasses or related gadgets for an extra dimension of viewing pleasure remains to be seen.
Via Engadget HD
March 30, 2008
One of the best Blu-ray player deals around at the moment comes in the form of a laptop computer. That's right, the new Dell Inspiron 1525 at only $879, comes with an integrated Blu-ray player and HDMI slot, and has all the functions typical of a laptop computer. Makes sense being a laptop and all. Using Broadcom Media PC technology and a built-in accelerator, the Inspiron 1525 can playback Blu-ray titles either on the laptop display or on your HDTV via the computer's HDMI connection. To be honest with you, I wouldn't buy any standalone Blu-ray player until prices come down. Buy the PS3 or Inspiron 1525. Look at all the added value for relatively little additional money spent.
Via Gizmo Watch
March 28, 2008
Blu-ray disc sales have skyrocketed this year, recently passing the 9 million discs sold landmark, with a full third of those sales coming this year alone. This, according to stats from HMR Research, means that Blu-ray is on track for 15 million sales this year. This numbers come upon the release of Oscar-winning No Country For Old Men, selling over 68, 000 copies in its first week, besting the previous best first-week average of between 10, 000 and 30, 000 copies.
In other Blu-ray news, Sony has announced that its latest Playstation 3 update will include Blu-ray Profile 2.0, also known as BD-Live, which enables PS3 movie viewers access to interactive features such as downloadable content and games related to BD disc being viewed. Requiring an internet connection and at least 1 GB of free storage space, Sony's first BD-Live releases, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and The 6th Day, are slated for release April 8.
The newest PS3 update will also allow users to transfer music playlists and photos to the Sony PSP, the first step by Sony in turning the PS3 into a mobile home theater hub. Other features included with the Profile 2.0 update include:
- "Resume play" will enable PS3 system to start playing a Blu-ray disc and DVD at the point it was stopped, even if the disc had been removed.(*1)
- "Audio Output Device" will be a new Remote Play setting, enabling PSP to serve as a remote control for music played through PS3.
- PS3 system's Internet browser will be enhanced: Video files directly linked from a Web page will be able to be streamed, and the browser's view speed will be improved.
- DivX and WMV format videos that are larger than 2GB will be playable.
- "Mosquito Noise Reduction" will be added as an AV setting in the control panel of the DVD/BD player for improved movie playback.(*2)
*1 BD-J format disc is not supported.
*2 BD discs recorded with BDMV format are not supported.
March 24, 2008
Last year, before we had any indication that HD DVD would be dead and gone by now, a company by the name of SlySoft announced that they had broken the Blu-ray BD+ copy protection used to encrypt Blu-ray discs. They announced that the software would be available from the company by the end of 2007, and while that didn't happen, last week SlySoft announced the release of AnyDVD HD version 220.127.116.11. The company says it will now be "possible to make backup security copies of Blu-ray discs protected with BD+". I'm sure that's what we'll use it for...right!
While we're sure Blu-ray's not to happy about this, ultimately copy protection does little more than nudge people towards other digital media sources such as the popular BitTorrent client, Pirate Bay. But, while this may have some negative connotations for Blu-ray's bottom line in the short-term, ultimately it'll make Blu-ray more attractive to consumers and positively impact Hollywood as well.
Update:SlySoft has released AnyDVD HD version 18.104.22.168 in beta already with some minor fixes, updated languages, and support for some German structural protections.
Via SlySoft Forum
March 21, 2008
Blu-ray won the format war against HD DVD, but a US International Trade Commission investigation into possible patent infringements by makers of the HD disc technology, including the likes of Sony and Panasonic, could prove a much more formidable challenge.
Gertrude Neumark Rothschild, a Professor Emeritus at Columbia University, conducted research into "into the electrical and optical properties of so-called wide band-gap semiconductors" proving "pivotal in the development of short-wavelength emitting (blue and violet) diodes". Ultimately she filed patents in 1993 covering her method of producing blue and blue and violet LED's, such as those used in Blu-ray devices.
Now Rothschild is requesting that US imports of devices containing this technology be blocked which would effectively eliminate any Blu-ray player from entering the United States. What'll become of this investigation is uncertain. No manufacturer is currently commenting, but we're sure Rothschild would settle for a little financial compensation and scientific recognition.
This patent dispute isn't the first time Rothschild has taken legal action against electronics manufacturers and if she lives long enough, probably won't be here last. This case seems to be the latest in a disturbing trend beginning in which old ladies start all kinds of shit with the technology industries bigwigs. Entertaining to say the least.