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HD DVD group: Cheaper PS3 won't help Blu-ray sales

While gamers and retail chains have been mostly praising Sony's new cheaper PS3 (aside from the backward-compatibility issue), the European HD DVD Promotional Group has said the 40GB system won't have much impact on Blu-ray sales in the region.

"The European PS3 price cut will have a minimal impact on the adoption of next generation HD formats. The real battleground is in sales of standalone players and HD DVD is out in front by a massive margin," Co-Chairman of the European HD DVD Promotional Group Ken Graffeo said. According to the group, HD DVD accounts for about 70 percent of the European market, and it expects that number to continue to grow.

However, many believe this year's holiday period will go a long way in deciding which format will reign as king, and we think the HD DVD group may be underestimating the impact of the 40GB PS3.

Hitachi working on 100GB Blu-ray discs

Just when you thought 50GB of data storage was enough, Hitachi has to waltz in and offer double that amount with a new prototype four layer Blu-ray disc. Normally, you'd need a different optical head to read from a disc of this type, but that doesn't seem to be the case with this one. That is, if need be, Hitachi says it will play in regular Blu-ray drives that exist now (which includes our lovely PS3).

Well, there is a catch. All Blu-ray players would have to have their optical heads tweaked a little bit, but it's something that can be worked out in a firmware update. No word on a release for the discs, but as soon as they finish stabilizing the signal quality, we'll hear an announcement of some kind.

[Thanks, Gunegune!]

Blu-ray movie releases for the week of Oct. 9

October has so far been a great month for Blu-ray movie fans. Last week, we were treated to several horror titles, and we're getting a few more this week.
  • 28 Days Later
  • 28 Weeks Later
  • Surf's Up
  • Robocop
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie
  • From Hell
  • Reign Over Me
  • Nature's Journey
  • The Fly
Not only are classics like The Fly and Twilight Zone: The Movie heading our way, but we'll also get to see Tim Burton's underappreciated Edward Scissorhands in hi-def glory. If there's one movie you pick up this week, it's gotta be Scissorhands.

Blu-ray movie releases for the week of Sept. 30

Now that we're entering the month of Halloween, we'll be seeing an influx of Blu-ray horror movies, and we can't be more excited. This week we're treated with vampires, zombies and psychotic killers, but if horror isn't your thing, you should be covered with A Room with a View and Galapagos.
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula
  • The Day After Tomorrow
  • Halloween
  • Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
  • Dawn of the Dead
  • Day of the Dead
  • Galapagos
  • A Room with a View
Any time two George Romero and Sam Raimi classics are released in the same week, you know you're in heaven. Do yourself a favor and at least pick up Dawn of the Dead; it's the best zombie movie ever made.

Report: Blu-ray/HD DVD war to end in 18 months

It's probably fair to say we're all tired of hi-def movies coming on two formats, and we just can't wait until this silly war is over. Thankfully, the end is in sight, according to Forrester Research, which released a report stating it believes the high-def movie format war will finally end in 18 months with Sony's Blu-ray eventually coming out on top.

However, Forrester Research analyst J.P. Gownder said Sony still has some work to go before it can be crowned, beginning with cutting prices. "Blu-ray needs to offer a viable hardware model at the $250 price point by Christmas 2007," he said. "Failure to alter strategy would open up Blu-ray to a possible upset defeat at the hands of HD DVD."

Although Paramount's defection to the HD DVD camp certainly was a blow to Blu-ray, companies have been ramping up support of Sony's movie format, both with increased movie support and shelf space. Either way, we just hope it comes to an end long before their prognostication.

Blu-ray movie releases for the week of Sept. 24

Although this week we don't get quite the quantity or quality of Blu-ray releases that we did last week, we can relish in the fact that if you compiled bits and pieces from each movie, it could possibly make the most bad-ass movie of all time.

Just imagine werewolves, cowboys and the Japanese doing battle against vampires, Nazis and Yankees as Halle Berry comes on screen to spout some nonsense and just looks pretty. You really can't get any better than that.
  • Underworld: Unrated
  • Black Book
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Tekkonkinkreet
  • The Wild Bunch
  • Wyatt Earp
  • Gods and Generals
  • Gothika
But if this week's releases don't satisfy you, just wait until next week when we're invaded by the undead – now that's something werewolves, vampires or Nazis just can't kill.

Target expanding Blu-ray shelf space

After hearing the great news that we're getting 13 new Blu-ray releases this week, even more good news has leaked out. Target is reportedly doubling its Blu-ray shelf space as the retail giant continues to favor Sony's HD format.

According to Video Business, Target has upped its previous 12 Blu-ray title slots to 24 slots and even more at some stores. "You're going to get a clear message when you see more Blu-ray than HD DVD, and you're going to think something is up," said Andy Parsons, from the Blu-ray Disc Association. "The message to the consumer is that one of these [formats] is dominating. You'll go with the masses and pick titles from the one that is likely to win."

We certainly hope Parsons is right. It's time to end this senseless battle!

Blu-ray movie releases for the week of Sept. 16th

It looks like Sony and the rest of the Blu-ray crew are ensuring our feelings aren't still hurt from that fiasco a few weeks ago as we're getting 13 titles to choose from this week.
  • Troy: Director's Cut
  • Smallville: The Complete Sixth Season
  • Alexander Revisted: The Final Cut
  • A Few Good Men
  • The Condemned
  • We Are Marshall
  • Deliverance
  • House of 1000 Corpses
  • Viva Las Vegas
  • The Best of Blu-ray, Vol. 1
  • The Best of Blu-ray, Vol. 2
  • The Best of Blu-ray, Vol. 3
  • Jailhouse Rock
Not only does this week's releases feature a great assortment of movies any guy would love, it also includes three volumes of The Best of Blu-ray, which feature four classic movies in each set. What really makes these collections great, though, is the incredible savings you get. Each set is currently on sale at $58 at Amazon - that's like getting two movies free!

Blu-ray has 8 year advantage over the Internet

Ah, Sony executives. They love saying things, and Don Eklund, executive vice president of advanced technologies for Sony Pictures, is no exception. On the topic of movies, Eklund claims that no one wants to download them from the World Wide Web and that "Blu-ray has a good 8 to 10 years before the Internet catches up". That is a lot of years. Of course, hyper-billionaire Bill Gates is famously known for saying that "No one will need more than 637K of memory for a personal computer", so who knows what exactly the future of computers or data transfer speeds will be.

When asked by Pocket-lint about Blu-ray consumers who want to watch HD-DVD exclusive titles, Rich Marty, vice president of new business development, answers briefly "buy it on DVD" and let the upscaling of the Blu-ray player handle the work. Good advice for anyone looking to watch Paramount films in the future.

Marty also praises the consumers and feels that they are "smart enough to realise the benefits and pay the extra accordingly" for Blu-ray over HD-DVD. Oh, and by the way, did you know that PS3s can play Blu-ray discs? Not many do, it seems.

Blu-ray or bust says Killzone producer

Killzone 2 producer Steven Ter Heide and Guerrilla Games managing director Herman Hulst would be out of jobs if it weren't for the PS3 and Blu-ray. In an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine UK, Heide and Hulst tag team to deliver major props for their system of choice, all while bashing a certain competing console.

We really need Blu-ray to make the game. I don't know how you could fit it on Xbox 360 without taking some shortcuts", producer Heide explains. And with graphics like those seen in this 25 minute video, there's little doubt that he isn't just speaking the company line.

Continuing on about Killzone 2's Blu-ray dependency, Hulst adds, "
Blu-ray isn't important for watching movies; we need it for making games". Something tells us that a few companies beg to differ.

Another company goes Blu-ray exclusive -- Xperinet

Xperinet has announced their full support for the Blu-ray format recently. This company previously worked on both formats, but has decided to go exclusive with the Blu. We're not trying to make this seem as big a deal as the Paramount/Dreamworks defection, but it's still another company we can welcome into our fold, give them a soft bathrobe, and play classical music to. For those not in the know, like us, Xperinet creates media servers that network all your home entertainment together -- for example, storing DVDs onto its hard drive for viewing on any TV in your house. Now they plan to do that with Blu-ray.

Xperinet's media servers are a real good bolster to the Blu-ray camp, though, since they'll help deliver the full HD experience in ways we probably haven't gotten to yet -- without a disc. This is the first custom electronics integration company to throw all their weight behind a single format, and with upcoming USB upgrade kits for existing media servers, it's going to be pretty significant ... so long as you have a MIRV server sitting around. When Xperinet's new client launches, it will allow 1080p video to be seen throughout one's home from a single source. That's pretty cool.

[via PS3Forums]

Studio Canal decides to support Blu-ray as well

The American audience may not be as familiar with Studio Canal as the European crowd and that's okay. Fact of the matter is, they were an HD DVD exclusive studio since the beginning of the format scuffle (calling it a war has become a bit disingenuous). Until now. They've listed for release a 3-disc Blu-ray box set of the "Les Bronzes" films. If you check out something that lists all the major motion picture rights and releases from Studio Canal, you'll see that this may just be the beginning of yet another extensive library of movies that Blu-ray consumers will have a choice to pick up.

Blu-ray movie releases for the week of August 27th

Thanks to Paramount's decision to drop Blu-ray support, we get no movies this week. We were going to get the Jon Heder / Will Ferrel comedy Blades of Glory, but now we don't get a single darn movie. Thanks Paramount! Here's the non-release list:
  • Nothing
Exciting isn't it? All is not lost though, we may not be getting any movies this week but we are getting a bunch of PlayStation 3 games this week. You do remember that the PlayStation 3 plays games as well, right?

Fox and MGM expand Blu-ray exclusive offerings

The HD wars are stronger than ever. In a statement clearly triggered by Paramount and Dreamworks' surprising move to HD DVD exclusivity, Fox and MGM are both pledging increased exclusive support for Blu-ray. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Live Free or Die Hard, and Fox's first-ever TV release on BD, Prison Break, have all been announced for release on Blu-ray.

These discs won't skimp on exclusive features. According to GameDaily BIZ, a "vast majority" of its movies will arrive on 50 GB dual-layer discs, with BD-J interactivity and Blu-ray exclusive HD bonus materials -- something that has been sorely lacking on most BDMV releases.

So why support Blu-ray over HD DVD? It's simple: better sales. "Given that Blu-ray has consistently outsold HD DVD all year, and this is the case for any titles released by any studio in both formats, we believe that the time is right for us to accelerate our activities and help convert the nearly 60 million high definition households worldwide into Blu-ray households," commented Mike Dunn, President Worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Paramount drops Blu-ray support -- everybody groans

After months of reports proving that Blu-ray sells more movies than HD-DVD, Paramount's parent company Viacom has announced that they are dropping Blu-ray support and going HD-DVD exclusive. According to Viacom, they made this decision based on researching the benefits of HD-DVD, which "confirmed the clear benefits of HD DVD." Some of the benefits of HD-DVD that they mentioned included lower sales, a much smaller user base, and limited storage space (okay okay, they actually said 'market ready technology' and 'lower manufacturing costs').

There are rumors of a 150 million dollar payout by the HD-DVD consortium to nab the Viacom exclusivity, which sure would help explain the move more than the officially given reasons. Regardless, we now can look at the format-war that nobody wanted getting strung out even longer. Yay -- thanks Viacom.

[Thanks to everybody who sent this in]

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