Content Podcasts Seen In HD

Seen in HD 32 – Blu-ray growth, Crazy Heart review, Saving Private Ryan first look



Catching up on some leftover Avatar news, we talked last week about Avatar having issues on some players. According to Home Media Magazine, most expects believe these issues were limited, which we agree with. However, do the issues caused by this disc underscore a bigger issue:  is Blu-ray to high-tech for mainstream. DVD players never required updating, and never had playback issues. Is this something for the BDA to be concerned about?

Elsewhere, Avatar continued to break records, but there was one record it didn’t break, and you’ll be surprised by who holds that record. Finally, since James Cameron has conquered earth, he’s moving on to Mars. News came out that the Avatar director is working on 3D cameras for the next Mars rover.

In general HD news, NPD group says that Blu-ray penetration is up twofold from 2009, hitting 11% of households. Also, Nielsen has some interesting news on television viewing and audience habits in its latest Television Audience Report, including that more than 50% of homes now have HDTVs, but less than 50% can get HD service.

Finally, Denon has revealed its 2010 receiver lineup, ten new units in all, ranging from $250 up to $7,500.


Avatar had an impact on marketshare, for the week ending April 25 it was 22%, the highest number recorded, going back to May 3 of 2009. Revenue was $66.57 million, highest this year and fourth highest ever.   The top Blu-ray sellers list was dominated by Avatar with Crazy Heart (No. 2) selling only 1.73% of the total that Avatar did. When looking at share per title, Avatar did 49% of its business in Blu-ray, a stunning number for a new release.

Blu-ray Review – Crazy Heart | review

Vitals: MPEG-4 AVC, 2.35:1 aspect ratio, DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, Digital Copy

Jeff Bridges won a best actor Oscar for his portrayal of broken down singer Bad Blake in this film. A solid character study, a brilliant go-round by Bridges in which he becomes Blake (he did all the singing) and a solid story propel this film. A few moments seem forced (the main relationship, for one), but mostly it’s a strong film. On the video side, things aren’t so great. An overly-soft transfer limits what could have been a beautiful Blu-ray. Filmed mostly in New Mexico, there’s plenty of chances for this film to show off, but it just doesn’t have the ability to do so.

Things get much better on the audio side. The concert selections especially shine highlighted by the duet with Colin Ferrel. Otherwise it’s a dialogue-driven film but does well with what it’s given. Extras are pretty light, a few deleted scenes and a brief chat with the actors. A highly recommended rental, and if you are a country music fan, think about a purchase.

We also take a first look at Saving Private Ryan. We haven’t had enough time to give it a full review, but it’s a big release and Phil did have a chance to look at a few scenes. Matt also makes a stunning admission about the romantic comedy Leap Year (read his review). Did he really say that? Yup, he did.

The big gaming news is the release of the Halo: Reach beta. Also out this week is Raystorm Live Arcade and Iron Man 2.

What we’ve seen/are watching

  • Thanks to Geek Tonic for the listings. Friday Night Lights premieres season four Friday night on NBC at 8 p.m. On Saturday, Betty White hosts Saturday Night Live.
  • Not really HD news, but Iron Man 2 opens Friday night as well.
  • The HD Sportsman is headlined by the NHL and NBA playoffs and Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (NBC, 4 p.m., 1080i).

Blu-ray deals/Releases

The May 11 releases aren’t much to write home about, led by Karate Kid and Karate Kid II.

As for deals:

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[tags]blu-ray, Seen in HD, Avatar, Crazy Heart, Leap Year, podcast, Friday Night Lights [/tags]