Panasonic debuts new Blu-ray Disc Recorder range

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Panasonic has just revealed two feature-packed Blu-ray Disc Recorders for the UK market.

As well as playing Blu-ray Discs with support for BD-Live, both the DMR-BW880EBK and BW780EBK include tuners to receive high definition television services which can be recorded to a dual-layer Blu-ray Disc. The recorders can also view video or images filmed on a HD camcorder or digital camera (via SD card) and burn them to a Blu-ray Disc.


Upscaling for standard definition DVDs, DLNA server functionality and support for Panasonic’s internet video service Viera Cast complete the package. For more details, click here.

Twentieth Century Fox confirms 24 Season 8 BD release

Days after US fans watched the conclusion of Jack Bauer’s eighth and final TV adventure (UK viewers still have a week left), 20th Century Fox has confirmed that the Blu-ray Disc set of the entire season will be released this October.

Audiences around the world have been captivated by Jack Bauer’s one-man fight against terrorism since Keifer Sutherland first brought the character to screens back in 2001. Season eight sees series veterans such as Mary Lynn Rajskub and Elisha Cuthbert return, while also introducing new stars Freddie Prinze Jr, Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire) and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica).

Details on additional content for the BD release are yet to be revealed, but expect to hear more over the summer. The box set is available to pre-order from Amazon.

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.

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.

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 players make it into the UK’s official shopping basket

Alongside lip gloss, cereal bars, bottles of mineral water and hair straighteners, Blu–ray Disc players will now be included in the UK’s official inflation calculations after Government statisticians looked into the contents of people’s homes and handbags to assess how the nation’s spending habits have changed.

Each year, the Retail Price Index and Consumer Price Index (a list of about 650 items which are used to measure the rate of inflation) are refreshed to ensure that they represent the types of products the nation is buying. This year, Blu-ray Disc players have been included for the first time – demonstrating that they have reached a significant stage in consumer penetration.

Lavinia Carey, Director General, British Video Association commented: “We welcome the news that Blu-ray players have been added to the UK’s shopping basket of goods and services. We see this as a milestone moment for Blu-ray that reflects consumers’ growing appreciation of high-definition and what the format has to offer. With over 57% of households now owning an HDTV, sales of Blu-ray players – the technology that gives you the best high definition movie experience – are going to continue to grow throughout 2010, particularly in the run up to the FIFA World Cup as even more people make the move to HD.”

The full press release from the British Video Association can be read here.

BVA’s ‘What Are You Waiting For’ campaign proves a success

Blu-ray KantarResearch out from Kantar Worldpanel has shown that the British Video Association’s ‘What are you waiting for?’ TV advertising campaign from Q4 2009 was successful in raising awareness of the benefits of the Blu-ray format in the run up to Christmas.

Kantar World panel found that the campaign, which ran across all major UK TV channels in November and December, was recalled by over nine million consumers, increasing awareness and understanding of the format. Nearly two thirds of respondents (64.7%) felt that Blu-ray picture quality was better than DVD, a rise of 10%, while just under half (47.9%) felt that the sound quality was better, a rise of 12%.

Lavinia Carey, Director General, British Video Association, commented: ‘The best way to enjoy films at home is on high definition Blu-ray discs. Our campaign set out to highlight the benefits of Blu-ray to consumers and to boost understanding and awareness.  The results of the research are heartening and indicate that we are moving in the right direction. This year we will be looking at how we maintain momentum and continue to encourage members of the public to trade up to high definition software.”

Full details of the findings can be read in the BVA’s press release.

LG confirms 3D plans for the UK

LG has confirmed that it plans to launch a range of 3D TVs and a 3D Blu-ray Disc player in the UK this May.


The LG BX580 Blu-ray Disc player will ship with full support for Blu-ray 3D, while also remaining backwards compatible with 2D BDs and DVDs. The player also includes Wi-Fi support, enabling it to access web based content from sites such as YouTube. DNLA support, playback of content from an external hard drive and a USB connection complete the package.

The BX580 will hit the market at the same time as the LX9900 3D TV, which will be available in both 47” and 55” screen sizes.

For more information, visit the official LG blog.

The Hurt Locker becomes Lions Gate’s fastest-selling Blu-ray title to date

Kathryn Bigelow’s critically acclaimed The Hurt Locker, nominated for nine Academy Awards and already the recipient of six BAFTA awards, has continued its phenomenal success by becoming Lions Gate Home Entertainment’s fastest selling title ever on Blu-ray Disc.

Since its release on BD and DVD in late December, The Hurt Locker has notched up total sales of 310,000 units, 85,000 of which are Blu-ray Disc sales. Marie-Claire Benson, Marketing Director, Lions Gate Home Entertainment, said: “We are thrilled with the current success of The Hurt Locker to date. We took the decision to continue to promote the title on account of all the nominations and awards it has been receiving. The combination of intense drama, critical acclaim and the exceptional coverage it is garnering, has translated into strong sales on both DVD and Blu-ray. We are particularly pleased with the Blu-ray results, which have accounted for at least 25% of total sales each week since release.”

In addition to its awards success, The Hurt Locker has been named in over 250 top ten lists for 2009 in the US and UK media and has been honoured at several film festivals. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker stars Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Evangeline Lilly, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse and Guy Pearce.

For details on the special features available on the Hurt Locker Blu-ray, click here.


Blu-ray Disc Reporter


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