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Seen in HD 22 – Olympics, Sleeping Beauty review and more


After the flu canceled last week’s show, Seen in HD is back for episode 22. We start things off with a quick discussion on Windows Phone 7 and its potential as a HD video player since it has a lot of similarities to the Zune HD. More info needs to come out on the video playbacks features, but Phil was particularly intrigued.

After that we shift to talk of media streamers/extenders and their worth after the announcement of Toshiba’s Media Center TV (no it has nothing to do with Windows Media Center). For us, without a tuner and recording capabilities, we just don’t get it.

Our seemingly weekly 3D check this week comes with news that Samsung has started accepting pre-orders on its first 3D HDTVs and that they will come out later this month, topping out at $3,299 WITHOUT glasses included. Shipping info and pricing for the required active shutter glasses hasn’t been released yet.

Across the pond, the Digtial Entertainment Group’s European arm has released 2009 figures to Blu-ray hardware and software sales, and they are very similar to what we saw in the US in 2009.

On the OLED front, Kateeva has said it wants to print large-sheet OLED panels, up to five-foot by six-foot at a fraction of the cost of what it would be today. This is more good news for the display technology everyone seems to be waiting for.

If you’re a frequent traveler, your in-room TV viewing might be getting a bit clearer thanks to a new effort by some hotels to not only put HDTVs into rooms, but to pump actual HD content to those sets as well. Finally, Netflix will be adding 5.1 sound sometime this year, but 1080p streaming will have to wait a while longer.

This week’s Blu-ray review looks at an animation classic, Walt Disney’s 1959 masterpiece Sleeping Beauty. It doesn’t take long into this 75-minute film to realize just how talented the folks at Disney were back when they were revolutionizing the film industry. Sleeping Beauty is jaw-droppingly beautiful in thie AVC-encoded format. At times it’s like watching the characters move through a painting that you would see hanging in the Met, not as part of a children’s movie. The scenes of the princess in the forest are of particular splendor. And despite the film being more than 50 years old, there’s a good deal of depth to the print as well. No matter how talented and amazing today’s computer generated movies like Cars and Toy Story may look, nothing replaces the intimacy of hand-drawn animation. Of note, this was the last of Disney’s films to be completely animated by hand.

On the audio side, you get a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that is very, very good. The film was originally made in six-track stereo, so the restoration team had something to work with when it came time to port this over to DTS-HD. Seperation is good and surround use is ok, if a little underwhelming. The main failing, and it’s not a big one, is that dialogue is a bit uneven, rich and powerful at times, thin and tinny at others.

With the film you also get a DVD copy and a host of extras. Be sure to check out the trip through the Dungeon Lair on disc one, lots of fun with surround sound.

Elsewhere, the Olympics are in full swing so there’s plenty of HD sports action in the coming weeks. Looking at Geek Tonic’s guide to the 2010 Winter TV schedule this week the big intro is Ricky Gervais’ show premiering on HBO Friday night. The Amazing Race returned over the past weekend as well. . The HD Sportsman is headlined by Olympic coverage.

We look at two weeks worth of Blu-ray releases, and there’s not much to speak of, save for a couple combo packs and the 20th anniversary edition of Goodfellas. It’s going to be a bit quiet for a couple weeks so save your pennies for March when things heat up again.

Click here to download Episode 22!

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[tags]blu-ray, Seen in HD, Sleeping Beauty, Netflix, OLED[/tags]