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Seen in HD #20 – Buyer Beware, Coraline review


This week on Seen in HD we’ve put Adam in a tin can, or at least it sounds that way. Apologies for the audio quality being less than stellar, tried a new recording format that obviously needs tweaking.

To kick things off on show No. 20, we wrap up some CES loose ends starting with Sharp adding another color to the standard RGB that HDTVs are currently made with. They added a yellow to that spectrum, hoping for improved color accuracy as well as the ability to reproduce even more colors than before. Is four better than three? We also look at Panasonic’s announcement of two new portable Blu-ray players. Both have HDMI out, so while the need for a BD deck with a 10-inch screen is pretty small, being able to slowly replace DVD players with Blu-ray players is a nice option to have.

In regular news, the HDTV Professor has an interesting article looking at shopping habits from December of 2009, and Best But and Wal Mart lead the way. Wither, Circuit City, it looks like these two stores have picked up the slack of the now defunct red-dotted retailer, while online mega-store Amazon didn’t see the lift in share that Phil, at least, would have expected.

Netflix already agreed to put a 30-day hold on all Warner new releases, and now Disney is playing hardball with Starz, which could put the Starz Play instant watch titles in jeopardy.

Wrapping up the news is the story of the Oppo Blu-ray player that wasn’t. Or was it? Lexicon was found to have essentially stuffed an Oppo BDP-83 player into a shiny new aluminum case and jacked up the price $3,000 on top of the $500 BPD-83. The Lexicon BD-30 was THX Certified until Audioholics discovered the issue during their review. Head to the link and look at the pictures, it doesn’t even look like Lexicon tried to hide it. THX (sort of) responded to Audioholics, but as of our recording of the show, no word from Lexicon, or Oppo for that matter.

Our Blu-ray review for the week looks at the brilliant stop-motion animated Coraline. Interestingly, the trailer for Coraline has been popping up on some sites again, leading me to wonder it a second release to theaters is imminent. Note that in the show I mention a January date, I can’t seem to find any mention of that anymore.

The movie comes in a brilliant VC-1 encode. Detail is amazing and razor sharp. Contrast is splendid. A hint of banding in the first scene and some minor variation in the black level throughout the film are the only issues to be found. Be sure to check out the scene in the garden when Coraline is in her “other” world. Brilliant use of color. Audio is as good if not better. Channel separation is outstanding, both left to right and front to back. The mouse circus scene is a winner for surround use, as well as the crackling in the movie’s climax. Dialogue is well balanced as well. The film comes in both 2D and 3D versions, and also comes with four pair of red and blue 3D glasses (depending on the version you buy). Special features are well done also, although I would have liked to have seen more making of the sets. All in all, highly recommended, and certainly one of the better discs of 2009. Right now only $14.99 at Amazon, a great bargain.

Geek Tonic’s guide to the 2010 Winter TV schedule finds a much quieter schedule of premiering and returning shows this week. The HD Sportsman is headlined by the AFC and NFC Championship games.

Finally, the Blu-ray releases for Jan. 26 are pretty, well, lame. Best-picture nominee Atonement and Michael Jackson’s This is It are about it. Note: I still haven’t gotten a definitive answer on WWII in HD coming out on the 19th or the 26th, so keep your eyes open.

Click here to download Episode 20!

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Phil Lozen


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