Apologies to all last week for the postponement of last week’s column. As one who has a personal interest in the activities surrounding Virginia Tech, I had a lot more on my plate to digest. Anyway, onward and upward in the next generation news and opinion.
Several big things have happened over the course of the last couple of weeks, the first being Samsung’s announcement of their own hybrid player. Like the current LG player, it will play both formats, unlike the LG player, it will support HDi, which is go…d news for HD-DVD owners. The BD-UP5000 is scheduled to come out sometime in the fourth quarter, and let’s all hope it supports everything and the friggin’ kitchen sink. The BD-P1200 quietly started appearing on store shelves this week at a $799 MSRP, I guess so much for that player. On the HD side of things, the Chinese are saying that they’ll have 2 million $300 HD players in American store shelves. How (or which platform) they’ll be able to do that on remains to be seen, but I’d guess that Walmart will roll out both platforms in their stores for mass consumption rather than alientate one side or another. The story is far from substantiated, but it does raise some interesting questions. Last, but not least, the latest Panasonic firmware upgrade finally allows for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio formats, so for those of you who’ve got them, go download this already!
In disc news, the hottest news appears to be the possible street date of Spider-Man 3 before it’s even released theatrically. High-def digest published some photos of a French marketing piece that showed it coming out on 11/2, which sounds about right as far as a theater to video window would be. No word from Sony on this of course, but one may want to black out these dates down the road. Paramount has announced Norbit for a dual platform release day and date with the SD disc on 6/5, and Warner has done the same for Rio Bravo and The Cowboys, with those to come out on 5/22. The Weinstein company has bumped Harsh Times and Black Christmas back to 6/12 (from a 5/8 release), however specs appear to be the same. Warner’s other big release news of the week is for Blood Diamond to appear on both formats, however the Blu-ray version will appear on 6/5, whereas the HD-DVD version will come out on 7/2. The HD-DVD version will include interactive web material and a Warner IME, things that the Blu-ray version will be without. If I were to speculate (and I am), it seems like Warner is trying to put the screws to the BDA to get their BD-J functionality done even sooner than the October deadline, and any BD exclusive owner should be pleased with that and be patient for releases like Batman Begins and the Harry Potter franchise to get to them soon like it’s already done for those with red lasers.
That’s it for me this week, and as always high definers, keep the brightness low and the resolution high!