Archive for May, 2010

Pioneer takes wraps off its 2010 Blu-ray range

Pioneer-BDP-LX53_500Pioneer has this week revealed two new Blu-ray Disc players for the UK market. Priced at £399 and £299 respectively, the BDP-LX53 and the BDP-330 are both equipped with BD-Live functionality, as well as direct access to YouTube and RSS feed browsing.

In conjunction with the launch, Pioneer has introduced a free iPhone app called ‘iControlAV’, which allows users to control these players and other Pioneer devices using their iPhone.  In addition to basics such as volume control, the app also makes use of the iPhone’s motion sensor to control audio balance.

The BDP-330 will hit stores in June, with the BDP-LX53 following in July. For more details, visit AV Review.

Invictus unveiled on Blu-ray Disc

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Now available to pre-order on Blu-ray Disc is Oscar-nominated Invictus, the emotive story of how Nelson Mandela used the Rugby World Cup to bridge racial conflict in South Africa.  The film, produced by Clint Eastwood, sees Mandela (Morgan Freeman) work together with African rugby captain François Pienaar (Matt Damon) to motivate their team to victory.  Considered a turning point for race relations in South Africa, this historic period is depicted on film with Eastwood’s usual classic style.

Along with the HD version of the film, the Blu-ray Disc comes with engaging special features including ‘Vision, Courage and Honour’, an insightful look behind-the-scenes with cast interviews, and more importantly, interviews with the real men who inspired the making of the film.  Two further featurettes, ‘Mandela meets Morgan’ and ‘Matt Damon plays Rugby’, document challenges faced during filming and a light-hearted game of rugby between Damon and his on-screen team mates against their real-life counterparts.

Invictus will be available to buy from mid-June. For more information, has an early review.

WWII classic The Dam Busters comes to Blu-ray Disc

The Dam Busters[tweetmeme source= “blurayreporter” only_single=false]Another WWII classic is making its way to Blu-ray Disc, this time 1955’s The Dam Busters.

Although already released on BD without any additional content, this new anniversary edition brings a bonus feature hosted by renowned historian Max Arthur, author of The Dam Busters: An Oral History, which sees surviving members of the 617 Squadron look back on the real life mission.

The disc also looks the part, with saying that “The Dam Busters arrives with a wonderful 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 encoding of its original black and white 1.37:1 aspect ratio from Optimum that looks amazingly detailed, clear and clean for its age.”

The Dam Busters Special Anniversary Edition will be available to buy in the UK from June 14.

Psycho to debut on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 surround sound


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Update: Continuing our competition to give a new Blu-ray Disc every Monday to our readers and Twitter followers, this week one lucky winner will get a brand new Blu-ray copy of Denzel Washington’s The Book of Eli. To enter, and in honour of Psycho’s impending arrival on BD, we want to know what the scariest film you’ve ever seen is, and why. Leave a comment below and good luck…

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced that Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense masterpiece Psycho will feature 5.1 surround sound for the first time ever when it is released on Blu-ray Disc this October.

The release will mark the 50th anniversary of one of the most famous films of all time. Psycho redefined the movie-making landscape and was responsible for introducing audiences to Norman Bates, one of the silver screen’s most notorious psychopaths. To create the new DTS 5.1 sound mix, Universal split the original mono source into several tracks and also sourced the original sound effects. By combining these into a five channel mix, viewers can enjoy a contemporary sound experience that remains true to Hitchcock’s vision. The picture has also been meticulously restored and remastered to present the best ever version of the film.

Bonus content on the disc will include behind-the-scenes bonus features, documentaries, audio interviews and an in-depth look at the re-mastering process.

For more details, head over to /Film or read the press release.

Sony brings World Cup content to Blu-ray Disc players

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Football fans will be hard pushed to leave the sofa this summer with Sony adding FIFA World Cup content to its internet video service on Bravia TVs and Blu-ray Disc players. Previous World Cups can be re-lived with content including the top 20 tournament moments and profiles of legendary players.

Christian Brown, Senior Category Marketing Manager for Home Entertainment at Sony UK, said: “We can make some of the greatest football moments come to life in consumers’ living rooms across Europe at the touch of a button.”

The content will be hosted through the Bravia Internet Video service, which already broadcasts Demand Five, film channel Lovefilm and YouTube, as well as social networking site Facebook.

For more information on the service, click here for more details.

Blu-ray 3D: the verdict

[tweetmeme source= “blurayreporter” only_single=false]The waiting is finally over. 3D Blu-ray Disc players are on the market (led by Samsung’s BD-C6900) and several magazines and websites have posted their initial impressions of the new technology.

Samsung 3D
T3 and BigPictureBigSound are among the first to have their say, testing the Samsung player with the first 3D disc, Monsters Vs Aliens. T3 was impressed, saying that “the 3D BD edition of Monsters Vs Aliens looks out of this world” and that the player itself is “a convincing 3D first from Samsung.”

BigPictureBigSound meanwhile also enjoyed the experience. “The battery-operated glasses were comfortable for an entire movie, and the image was crisp for the most part. Even when we viewed from a distance of a good 30 feet back, the picture maintained a realistic depth and geometry, regardless of how we shifted up/down or left/right. My wife and kids also shared an unbridled enthusiasm for the experience. I lost count of all the “Wow”s.”

Have you had a chance to try out Blu-ray 3D yet? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Avatar smashes another record

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The Avatar juggernaut rumbles on with confirmation from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (TCFHE) that the film has become the biggest selling Blu-ray title ever in the UK.

In the two weeks since launch, 505,057 copies of Avatar on Blu-ray Disc have been sold – beating the all-time Blu-ray Disc record of 490,633 held by The Dark Knight and breaking the half a million milestone.

“Blu-ray is the ultimate way for fans to enjoy Avatar at home and experience Pandora in all its awe-inspiring clarity in high definition” commented Steven Leighton, SVP Northern Europe and Asia Pacific for TCFHE.  “It’s no surprise that viewers are choosing to own Avatar on Blu-ray and with 22.2% of our overall sales to date this clearly demonstrates that UK consumers are embracing Blu-ray as the format of choice.”

HeyUGuys has the full press release.

BVA capitalises on HD World Cup fever with UK Blu-ray bundle

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The British Video Association (BVA) has announced a partnership between Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video and Samsung that will see a promotional Blu-ray bundle hit UK stores ahead of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

With this year’s tournament the first to be televised in high definition, retailers are expecting a boost in demand for new HDTVs. The new bundle includes six blockbuster movies for all the family on Blu-ray Disc and a Blu-ray player, allowing consumers to kick start their collection at a fraction of the normal cost.

Blu-ray titles included in the bundle are Mamma Mia! and Bruno from Universal Pictures, Up and Toy Story from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment UK, and Sweeny Todd and 300 from Warner Home Video. The bundle is available with three Samsung BD players: the BD-C5300, BD-C8200 and BD-C8500. The latter two both include Hard Disk Drives and free-to-air HD TV compatible digital tuners.

For more details, head over to the BVA for the full announcement.

Dr Zhivago restored to glory on Blu-ray Disc

doctor zhivago[tweetmeme source= “blurayreporter” only_single=false]Multi Oscar-winning classic Dr Zhivago celebrates its 45th anniversary in style with a high definition revival. Created by masterful director David Lean, this epic love story, renowned for its unforgettable imagery and haunting score, is the perfect candidate for restoration on Blu-ray Disc.

Special features include a look into the making of the film as well as eleven vintage featurettes including New York press interviews with stars Omar Sharif and Julie Christie.

Cinematical says that “the film itself looks amazing, preserving and protecting the integrity of director David Lean’s expansive, epic imagery, and looks better than ever thanks to Warner’s high-definition remastering process.”

Dr Zhivago is available now.

Record breaking Avatar boosts UK Blu-ray Sales

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Last week we reported on the record-breaking launch of Avatar in the US and other territories. This success has been mirrored in the UK, where it sold 222,824 copies in one day and became the fastest selling Blu-ray Disc so far in the region.

This success was anticipated by supermarket giant Tesco, who kept 180 of its stores open until midnight to meet demand.

Speaking about the success, Tesco’s home movie buying manager Keith Metcalfe comments on the positive impact it has had on the Blu-ray industry overall:

“The release of Avatar is being seen by the industry as a historic moment in the development of the Blu-ray format – potentially the tipping point that many people have waited for to get their first Blu-ray player. We think it could replicate what happened when The Matrix was released on DVD in 1999, which was the point when many people bought their first DVD players.”

For the full story, click here.

Blu-ray Disc Reporter

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