This may take a little while.
So did we enjoy our thoughts and impressions of what CES 2007 held and brought? Well, let’s take a look at things that didn’t relate to Apple, shall we? First off, it appears the new color to speak of is purple. You’ve got word of the Warner Total Hi-Def disc, which is a dual format disc. The packaging is even a compromise too, with the HD DVD red on one side, and the Blu-ray blue on the other. It costs slightly more than a HD/SD combo, but does certainly provide for some inter…sting screenshot comparisons, and a lot of laborious moving from one player to another. At least with that announcement
But wait! Remember the LG dual format player that was on-again off again? Well, it appears to be back on again, so much so that there is a rumored release date of February 4, according to Engadget. The BH100 will support the Blu-ray features, but apparently none of the HD ones. Onkyo will be releasing a slightly more affordable HD DVD player later in the year, and several other manufacturers will be doing the same thing. HD DVD also bragged about a higher capacity disc, but how that plays in the catalog of titles will remain to be seen.
From disc news at CES, HD DVD had… well, HD DVD didn’t have anything really. You would think that they would try to lessen the blow of all the Blu-ray announcements, but nothing was to be had. And believe me, Blu-Ray had a bunch. Was it enough to “win” the war, as they’ve claimed? Well, that remains to be seen. Reservoir Dogs will finally come out on 2/6 from Lionsgate, along with Rambo, Young Guns and American Psycho, among a few others with TBD dates. Buena Vista looks to roll out the Pirates of the Caribbean films around the time the third is due to come out this year, and other titles like Cars, Crimson Tide, Con Air and The Rock are due to be released shortly thereafter. Fox will be putting out Independence Day, I, Robot, Master and Commander and others too numerous to list over the course of the year. As for the holder of all this technology? Sony says that Casino Royale and Layer Cake will be coming out in the first quarter, among others. For both formats, Warner advises to be on the lookout for the Matrix trilogy, the Harry Potter films and The Departed (slated for 2/6), among a few. Paramount says Babel and Flags of our Fathers will be out soon, 2/6 for both of those if I remember correctly.
What does all this mean? Well, Blu-ray is certainly trying to catch up with and lap the HD team on the track. And admittedly, no new HD DVD titles other than the existing stuff is disappointing. However, inroads towards new and cheaper hardware appear to be in place, and if the Toshiba/HD DVD camp can put out quality players for under $400 or even further, then unless the PS3 is severely dropped in price, things get even more interesting. But still, the announced titles are good ones from Blu. So in terms of CES, score the battle to Blu, with the war still a long way’s off from being decided.
In terms of the here and the now, Sony has released a firmware update to their player, which is designed to improve BD-Java compatibility and interactivity functions, and “corrects the output signal status information for audio output and display when Linear PCM 5.1 channel soundtracks are played back via HDMI” I don’t know what that means, but it’s got to be a good thing. In terms of disc releases this week, Blu-ray sports Employee of the Month, Goodfellas and Gridiron Gang, Resident Evil Apocalypse and Winged Migration, while HD DVD releases Clerks II, Lucky Number Slevin, The Mummy Returns, the Poseidon remake, Pulse and The Sting. Supporters of both will get to decide which version of Scooby Doo they want more.
That’s all from me this week, so until next time high definers, keep the brightness to low and the resolution high!