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Seen in HD 35 – Google/Apple TV, Hulu 360, Alice in Wonderland review

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News

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In the week that we were off Apple, Google and Microsoft all made (or had leaked) announcements that have to do with items in your living room.

The biggest splash was of course Google TV. What is it? Why do I want it? Is it really innovation? All questions that were, and continue to be, asked in the wake of the announcement. We discuss the merits of potentially another box in your living room, is it ahead of its time? Is it WebTV reincarnate?

Apple TV also made known the specs on the upcoming release of a new Apply TV. Only $99 and basically an iPad without a screen. Is Apple ready to get serious about this product? Will Microsoft have any response from the Media Center side of things in light of these two announcements (note, Ballmer spoke at D8 today and said nothing about TV).For what it’s worth, a Mashable poll showed overwhelming support for Google TV over Apple TV.

Finally, whether they leaked it or it got picked up, rumors are swirling that Microsoft will announce official Hulu support on the Xbox 360 at E3 on June 14 (10 a.m. PT is their keynote). It’s likely to be a subscription base, but will it be Microsoft charging or will this be the start of Hulu’s long-rumored subscription model?

Elsewhere, DivX took a major step toward shaking the image of the pirate’s favorite codec when Sonic Solutions (CinemaNow, Best Buy) bought the company this week. Other quick news hits: PS3 3D gaming update in June? Projector sales on the rise for first time since 2006 high-point. Are Lord of the Rings fans getting the shaft, again?

Marketshare/Sales

Not a great couple weeks for Blu-ray. A weak slate of releases has led to the first-ever two-week span of negative revenue growth. (-19% w/o May 16, -27% w/o May 23). Avatar held on to the top spot in Blu-ray sales, challenged only slightly by Valentine’s Day (41%). Legion picked up 64% of Avatar’s sales a week ago. Of note, Valentine’s Day knocked Avatar from the top DVD/Blu-ray combined sales list but only 14% of its sales were on Blu. Listen at the end as Matt and I make our picks for what movie might knock Avatar from the No. 1 Blu-ray spot.

Blu-ray Review Alice in WonderlandDoblu.com review

Vitals: MPEG-4 AVC, 1:78:1 aspect ratio, DTS HD Master Audio 6.1, Digital Copy, DVD copy

Some video inconsistencies keep this from being an astounding disc, but it’s good enough to draw some praise from Matt’s review, including solid detail level and environments the generally perform very well. On the audio side, clarity is stunning. The opening falling down the hole sequence is a good indication of what’s coming and a closing battle scene shines as well. Extras are ok, if a bit underwhelming.

Looking at another review, Matt looks at The Stranger with Stone Cold Steve Austin, if only to mention a sequence where video bit-rate slips to 810k. For reference, Netflix HD is 4MB. This is astounding for a Blu-ray disc, even on a crap-tastic film like this.

Gaming

New this week is Backbreaker, a football game out for all platforms that is relatively uninspiring. Alpha Protocol fares a bit better, but the best of this week’s games that we look at is Snoopy Flying Ace for Xbox 360 Arcade, which evokes memories of classic Xbox game Crimson Skies.

What we’ve seen/are watching

  • Our friend Geek Tonic has all the listings, which is to say he doesn’t have much this week. Glee’s finale is Tuesday, and some other random summertime filler pops up (Half Pint Brawlsers on SpikeTV anyone?)
  • The HD Sportsman is likewise light, with French Open finals Sat-Sun. on NBC starting at 9 a.m. highlighting things, along with the start of the NBA Finals Thursday night.

Blu-ray deals/Releases

I almost removed this section because this week’s slate is that bad. Shutter Island and Caddyshack are the only titles to speak of in the list of eight total releases.

As for deals, this week’s much better:

Click here to download Episode 35!

Seen In HD Subscriptions

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P. Lozen and A. Thursby - Seen In HD - Seen In HD

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[tags]blu-ray, Seen in HD, Alice in Wonderland, The Stranger, Google TV, Apple TV, Hulu, Xbox 360, PS3, podcast, Avatar[/tags]

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