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More news leaked about the potential Hulu/Xbox 360 partnership that we’re expecting to be announced at E3 next week. This week’s news comes from Reuters, who has it on authority of two people very close to the situation that not only with Microsoft’s box get support, but that iPad support is right behind it. Reuters also suggests that the service, while subscription-based, will be based on previous Hulu subscription rumors that expect free episodes of new shows (up to 5) and pay for anything beyond that or older shows.
The satellite companies made news this week when both Dish Network and Direct TV announced they would be waiving HD fees for life for people who sign up for auto-bill pay and a new contract. We wonder, is it getting close to the time where HD fees are out of date? As everything moves to digital, isn’t HD simply TV these days? Much like color TV became TV years ago?
Other quick hits:
- Lionsgate gives MTV a peek at Kick-Ass special features video.
- Panasonic 3D plasma buyers will be the first to get their hands on Avatar3D discs.
- Redbox settles on $1.50 for Blu-ray rentals from its kiosks.
- SimK announces a new $79,999 3D projector.
Another low week for Blu-ray. Revenue has been in free-fall since Avatar came out at the end of April, reaching another new 2010 low this week of just $14.41 million, lowest since September of last year. A 2.47% increase over 2009 kept us from a third straight week of negative year-over-year sales. Market share was only 10%, lowest since Feb. 21 of this year.
On the Blu-ray sales side, True Blood finally knocked Avatar from atop the sales perch, selling a scant 2% more for the week ending May 30. Saving Private Ryan also makes a reappearance for the first time since it was released at No. 9. True Blood also took the top spot for DVD/Blu-ray combined sales. Avatar stays steady at 40% of its sales on Blu-ray, The Road did 34% on Blu-ray.
Vitals: MPEG-4 AVC, 1:85:1 aspect ratio, DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
The film itself runs the gamut as far as reviews go. Matt counts himself as a big fan. Everyone knows the story by now, aliens come to earth and try to take over. Tom Cruise proves he can’t throw in this film. When it comes to video and audio quality, however, it’s hard to deny the attributes of this film. Spectacular visual effects and a bombastic soundtrack make this a wonderful disc to own. Matt goes so far as to say this disc should come with a warning label that it may cause harm to smaller systems, it’s that powerful, intense and aggressive. Some minor noise and compression in a few single shots keeps the video from being on par with the audio, but the audio quality is so high that this is not really a knock on the fim.
We also take a first-look at the Discover Channel’s Life on Blu-ray. A quick comparison to the broadcast HD version reveals a Blu-ray that is brighter overall (in a good way) and packed with much more detail. A full review will come in a few weeks. Note this is the Discovery Channel version with 1080i video and Oprah Winfrey, not the BBC with (mostly) 1080p and David Attenborough.
Tiger Woods 11 comes out this week from EA in a form that is much more difficult. On Xbox 360 Marketplace, Earthworm Jim HD makes its way out and suffers a bit from the “HD” upgrade. Much more will come out next week when E3 takes center stage. Join Matt for a live-blog of the main press conferences at www.multiplayergames.com.
What we’ve seen/are watching
- From Geek Tonic’s listings, we see that the summer shows are starting to pop up. Ice Road Truckers (Sundays at 9 p.m.) and American Pickers (Mondays at 9 p.m.) return to the History Channel. Last Comic standing hits NBC on Mondays at 8 p.m.. Animal Planet’s gross but intriguing Monsters Inside Me hits Wednesdays at 10 p.m., and True Blood Season 3 starts Sunday on HBO at 9 p.m.
- The Chicago Blackhawks wrapped up the Stanley Cup shortly after we recorded this, but the NBA Finals are still going in HD Sportsman land. The big news, however, is the start of the World Cup Friday morning on ESPN (9:30 a.m.). The US and England highlight weekend play at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on ABC.
Continuing a disturbing trend, the Blu-ray releases for June 15 are less than thrilling. Not as bad as last week’s crapfest, The Book of Eli headlines this week’s lineup of 15 titles.
As for deals, another pretty good week:
- Don’t forget it’s HD week at Amazon through Friday.
- Zombieland for $14.99 at Amazon.
- The Original Star Trek trilogy for $26 shipped from Walmart.
- Blu-rays for $11.99 or less at Amazon.
- Target has a host of $14.99 titles, including Braveheart, The Godfather, Fight Club and Quantum of Solace.
- Best Buy also goes the $14.99 route with Hurt Locker, Zombieland, The Hangover, The Wrestler and Terminator Salvation.
Click here to download Episode 36!
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