We welcome www.doblu.com’s Matt Paprocki back to the show this week for an announcement that will change our little show. Adam will be joining Jame Montemagnos of Seen in 3D for a new movie review show that will kick off next week. As Adam moves on, we’re excited to announce that Matt has agreed to jump on to Seen in HD as a permanent co-host along with Phil. Matt brings his extensive knowledge of Blu-ray and film to the show, and we’re thrilled he’s joining us. Also of note, our production schedule is changing a bit. We’ll now be recording on Wednesday with new shows going live Thursday afternoon. Please join us in welcoming Matt, and keep your eyes out for Adam and Jame’s new show next week. Now, on to the news.
It’s been reported just about everywhere, the big news coming out of a comic convention in Chicago is that Lucasfilm is working on Blu-rays of all six Star Wars films, with a possible release in fall of 2011. So much to talk about surrounding this rumor, which was started by a Lucasfilm employee. By far the most concrete rumor of The Saga making it’s way over to Blu-ray. Our discussion includes which versions of the film will be released, what extras will come over, and Matt makes a great point that The Phantom Menace was shot digitally at 1280×1024 and would need some work to get to 1080p.
Elsewhere, cutting the cable cord has been all the rage lately. One thing that keeps many people from doing so it the lack of live sports. Boxee has announced partnerships with the NHL and MLB that will allow live games on Boxee when you subscribe to the respective league’s service. Is this enough to start getting sports fans off the cable company’s dime?
One 3D note was too good to pass up, and that was news that 3D viewing may KILL YOU. Or something like that. Samsung has posted on it’s website a warning about the dangers of 3D viewing to several groups of people, including the out of shape and pregnant. Hilarity ensues. In the spirit of fairness, this likely is the result of our litigious society, as HD Guru found a near identical warning on a completely different product.
The first quarter just wrapped for home media sales, and the numbers are both good and bad. Overall the industry was down 8%, but Blu-ray saw big gains, with sales up 74% and rental up 36%. Hardware sales jumped 125% for Blu-ray as well. Also showing good signs for the BD market was that more than 34 million discs were shipped to retailers this year, up 72% from the first quarter of 2009. Blu-ray.com also did some adding to estimate that Blu-ray sales were about $331 million and market share for the first three months was 12.3%.
First quarter news came out at nearly the same time that a bad week for Blu-ray was revealed. According to Home Media Magazine’s numbers, revenue took a 5% drop, the first negative number recorded for Blu-ray revenue. Market share was 13%, but sales were only $18.57 million, the lowest number since September of last year.
Vitals: MPEG-4 AVC, 2:40.1 aspect ratio, DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, Digital Copy
All three of us had seen this film, and all three of us very much enjoyed it. Well-casted and superbly written, it’s funny and at times shows a surprising softer side as well. And of course it’s brutal, it is a zombie movie after all, but it’s worth knowing it doesn’t have to be dumb to be a zombie flick. This one is actually pretty smart.
Despite being shot digitally, we thought the video presentation had a very nice film-like feel to it. Black level was superb, fine details very strong and colors bold but not overdone. Lots of night scenes and sharp contrast between dark and bright (the theme park for instance) show off the strengths of this presentation.
On the audio side it’s a fine effort as well. Music is strong and powerful when it’s there, dialogue is easily understandable, and – especially in the closing scenes at the park – surround action is frequent. LFE effects get their chances as well during shotgun blasts. The only know was that the soundtrack simply didn’t have enough chances to really step into a demo-worthy area, not a fault of the sound, but the movie itself.
What we’ve seen/are watching
- Thanks to Geek Tonic for the listings. Trust me when I say there’s nothing great this week.
- The HD Sportsman is headlined by Thursday’s prime-time kickoff to the NFL draft on ESPN at 7:30 on ESPN (720p).
A full week of releases on April 27, but mostly catalog titles. Armageddon and Dune are among the highlights. And don’t forget Avatar on April 22.
The deals didn’t make their way into the show this week, but there’s a couple:
- Save $10 on Alice in Wonderland with another Disney BD purchase at Amazon.
- Buy more save more on Universal discs at Amazon.
- The Happy Birthday Sale at Amazon.
- Download the first episode of BBC’s Life in HD on iTunes.
- Vote on Universal’s Facebook page and get a $5 coupon.
- Get a Sony BDP-S360 player for just $116 at Amazon. No streaming options, but a good price for a basic profile 2.0 player.
- Finally, Target has the lowest price of brick and mortar stores on Avatar at $19.99, and you can save $3 off that price with the purchase of select other discs.
Click here to download Episode 30!
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