Archive for April, 2010

New Toshiba laptop adds Blu-ray support

Toshiba has this week announced a new laptop in its Satellite range that includes a Blu-ray Disc drive.

The Toshiba Satellite A660 has been designed with multimedia in mind, featuring not only Blu-ray support but also Intel’s Wireless Display (WiDi) technology, which allows video and music to be streamed wirelessly to WiDi-compatible TVs. It’s the first laptop on the market to support this technology.

The A660 also includes HDMI output and DNLA functionality, in addition to a new feature called USB Sleep-and-Music. This allows the user to connect and listen to an external MP3 player through the speakers, even while the laptop is asleep.

Tech Radar has more details.

Blu-ray Disc Academy to showcase advanced BD applications

On 19 May the Blu-ray Disc Academy, founded by Media-Tech and DVD Intelligence, will take place in Frankfurt, Germany. It’s the first dedicated event to showcase the most advanced functions of Blu-ray Disc and BD-Live, and how to make use of them commercially.

The event will focus on the tools and applications that can be used to enhance content on the Blu-ray platform. For example, linking BDs to internet-based social networks, players communicating with other devices via WiFi, on-demand delivery of video, integration with mobile phones and, of course, the new world of 3D.

Speakers and companies showcasing their work include Todd Collart, Senior VP New Media at Deluxe Digital Studios, Sony, authoring solution provider Sonic Solutions, Paris-based authoring facility DVDpartners, California-based BluFocus (the company that oversaw Warner Bros’ biggest BD title to date, The Dark Knight), Czech authoring and post-production house Brickbox Digital Media, authoring solutions supplier Sofatronic, quality assurance leader Testronic and Hamburg-based enteractive, who will present the latest version of its BD-Live Video-on-Demand service ‘Videociety‘.

For more details on the event and to register, visit www.blurayacademy.com.

Release date confirmed for Alice In Wonderland

Alice in WonderlandDisney has announced that Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, will be released on Blu-ray Disc at the start of June.

Extra content confirmed so far includes a featurette called Finding Alice, which delves into Tim Burton’s vision for the characters, differences from the book and Disney’s version of Alice and how she evolves as both a character and actor as she takes an adventure through Wonderland. Meanwhile The Mad Hatter gives audiences a closer look at Johnny Depp’s transformation into the famous character, and Effecting Wonderland shows off the technologies used to create some if the film’s other characters, including Stayne, Tweedledee, Tweedledum, Bandersnatch and the Red Queen.

Alice in Wonderland was a huge success in theatres, when it became the highest-grossing non-sequel opening weekend in history, the biggest March opening of all time, the biggest 3D opening of all time and the biggest IMAX opening of all time. For more details on the Blu-ray Disc release, head over to HeyUGuys for the press release.

Avatar Blu-ray sets sales records and wows reviewers

The Blu-ray Disc edition of Avatar, officially the most successful movie of all time, is finally hitting shelves across the world. Since its launch in the US and some other territories last week, it has become the fastest selling Blu-ray Disc of all time, beating The Dark Knight’s record to sell 2.7 million units in its first four days on sale. As it launches in the UK and other European markets, we take a look at what some of the first reviewers to get their hands on it had to say.

Any initial disappointment at the lack of additional content or 3D on this initial release has been blown away by the sheer quality of the audio visual experience. Director James Cameron stated previously that the decision to not include extra material meant that they could dedicate all available space on the Blu-ray Disc to recreating the film’s awesome visuals in the best possible way, and the decision looks to have paid off.

Ron Henriques from popular film news site Latino Review says “This 1080p presentation of Avatar is one of the best HD transfers I have ever seen,” and that “you can notice a lot more detail in the images than the original 3-D presentation in theatres.” HighDefDiscNews meanwhile gives it their perfect ‘5 Star Rating’ for video quality, while also noting that the THX Certified sound mix gives an “amazing audible performance that is well representing of the story’s sci-fi and ethereal nature.” Hollywood News puts it in less technical terms: “Wow. Really, wow. Just … unbelievable… to date, this is the best-looking Blu-ray transfer of a film I’ve seen, and man, it ain’t even close.”

Avatar is available to buy on Blu-ray Disc now in most European regions, with others to follow over the next two weeks. If you need a reminder of what to expect, here’s the trailer:

Lord of the Rings Trilogy: A giveaway

[tweetmeme source= “blurayreporter” only_single=false]

Thanks to our amazing Twitter followers, we have recently crossed the 1,000 follower mark.  To give something back to you all (alongside the weekly Blu-ray Disc giveaways of The Hurt Locker and Avatar…), we’ve decided to send out the recently released Lord of the Rings trilogy on Blu-ray Disc to one lucky follower.

You have two chances to win. For your first entry, simply retweet the following post on Twitter: Tweet this

For the second entry we want to try something a little different.  Head over to the superb film review site HeyUguys.co.uk to find the answer to the following question:

In the “New Robin Hood Featurette” posted by David on April 8, 2010, what does it say on the sword hilt roughly halfway through?  Leave a comment here with your answer.

Have fun taking part, and leave a comment at HeyUguys.co.uk to say hi for us!

We have featured this competition at:

ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions
Loquax.co.uk

World at War given High Definition Make-over

After 37 years, the emotive WWII documentary World at War, produced by Jeremy Isaacs, is recieving a high definition make-over from FremantleMedia as it prepares is to be released on Blu-ray Disc. There was initial skeptism around the success of a revamp given the grainy quality of some clips, but despite this, work on restoring the documentary began with spectacular results.

In addition to improved picture quality, sound has also been upgraded, providing a fuller experience of how it felt to be on the front line.  Pete Kalhan, the company’s senior vice-president of home entertainment and archive said: “We’ve listened to it in a screening room and when you hear the Spitfires coming down, the sound whirls round the room, it really enhances the viewing experience.”

Another two hours of additional features are planned for the Blu-ray Disc set in addition to the 33 hours of current content and will be released in the UK in September.

For more information about this story please click here.

UK Blu-ray Disc sales rise again

New figures released by the British Video Association have shown strong year-on-year growth for Blu-ray Discs based on data for the first quarter of 2010.

The figures demonstrate the increasingly popularity of the BD format, which is currently driving growth across the home entertainment market. Sales of Blu-ray Discs are up 69.5% (up 50% in value) on the same period in 2009, reaching 2.7m units in the first three months of the year, taking the total number of Blu-ray Discs sold to 15.6m units since launch.

Hannah Conduct, Marketing Manager at the British Video Association, said:

“While it is extremely encouraging to see such strong growth in market volumes in the run up to Easter, the performance of Blu-ray is especially impressive. Growing sales show that the benefits of the format – higher picture quality, superior sound, and an ever-expanding range of titles – are better understood than ever before. The strong sales reflect consumer confidence in Blu-ray.”

The top three best selling Blu-ray titles of the quarter saw their Blu-ray performance average at 20% of the total disc sales with The Hurtlocker at 24% (Elevation Sales), Up at 17% (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment) and 2012 at 20% (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment).

The best selling Blu-ray Disc titles for Q1 2010 were as follows:

1. The Hurt Locker
2. Up
3. 2012
4. The Twilight Saga – New Moon
5. District 9
6. This Is It
7. Toy Story
8. The Taking Of Pelham 123
9. Inglourious Basterds
10. Toy Story 2

For more details, here’s the press release.


Blu-ray Disc Reporter


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