It's official, folks -- the movie Avatar on Blu-ray 3D is 2010's Tickle Me Elmo for the holiday shopping season. That's because there are just a few ways you can get your mitts one of the season's hottest items. The first is by purchasing a Panasonic 3D TV. The second is by hitting up Ebay, Craigslist, or wherever else you tap into the used market, and if you're lucky, you may find one listed for just a couple hundred bucks.
Panasonic's exclusivity agreement to carry the Blu-ray 3D version of James Cameron's popular flick means you're pretty much boned if you don't own a 3D set from Panny. But don't despair if you promised little Johnny the 3D version of Avatar this holiday. Yet another option is to shell out for Panasonic's 3D Ultimate Pack, a $400 bundle that includes a Blu-ray 3D player, two pairs of active 3D shutter glasses, and of course Avatar in Blu-ray 3D.
At the time of its theatrical release, many in the consumer electronics industry hoped that “Avatar” would usher in a new era in home entertainment, an era where 3D is no longer a novelty but the norm. James Cameron's magnum opus didn't disappoint and is now viewed by many as a watershed in 3D's march to the living room.
However, its upcoming release on 3D Blu-ray is unlikely to strengthen the case for 3D's place in the living room. Panasonic execs have confirmed that the Avatar 3D Blu-ray disc will be exclusive to the company's Viera 3D TVs when it arrives in December, 2010.
According to a TWICE report, the 3D Blu-ray disc will only be available as part of a bundle with “Viera 3D TVs and related equipment” for an unspecified period of time after launch.
"For the consumer, there is really no better way to experience 3D in the home than with this particular disc," Victor Carlson, Panasonic's consumer marketing VP, told TWICE. "This is the perfect marriage between this blockbuster made for 3D and what we think is the ultimate home entertainment system for enjoying 3D using our TV sets."
Talk about a cash cow. Not only did James Cameron's Avatar sink Titanic as the highest-grossing movie worldwide, but it has gone on to set the record for first-day Blu-ray sales too. And that's just for the 2D version.
Some 1.5 million copies of Avatar flew off of Blu-ray stocked shelves, comfortably outpacing first-day sales of The Dark Knight, which previously held the top spot. Early estimates have overall disc sales somewhere above 4 million units, putting Avatar on pace to become the year's best selling movie, eventually surpassing The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
Viewers will have to wait until early 2011 before 20th Century Fox releases a 3D version for home consumption. The movie studio is hoping that more homes will be equipped with 3D Blu-ray players and television sets by then. However, Fox will milk consumers for more cash later this year by also releasing a special edition version in November with more bonus features.
There have been a ton of 3D movies released to theaters in recent times, and it's pretty easy to see why. Consumers are buying into it, plain and simple. According to a study released by The International 3D Society (I3DS), 3D flicks generated 33 percent of total domestic box office revenue since the release of Avatar on December 18.
Naturally Avatar claimed the lion's share of 3D revenue, but it's not the only movie cashing in providing viewers about 2 hours of three dimensional fun. Clash of the Titans, How to Train Your Dragon, and Alice in Wonderland have all contributed to the surprising revenue numbers, and when combined with Avatar, these four flicks alone have generated $1.2 billion in US ticket sales.
"This is truly remarkable performance in that out of 127 general market films released, just four 3D movies captured 33 percent of the total dollars so far this year," said I3DS President Jim Chabin.
What's more, 3D movies have been No. 1 at the box office 10 out of 14 weeks so far in 2010, or over 70 percent of the time.
If you haven't seen it yet, the movie Avatar crams a ton of special effects in a futuristic landscape, and it owes some of that magic to a data center nestled in Miramar, New Zealand.
According to Weta Digital, the visual effects company tasked with creating the images in James Cameron's flick, each minute of Avatar consumed some 17.28GB of data.
For that kind of processing power, Weta Digital tapped into a 10,000 sq. ft. server farm filled with 34 racks and over 4,000 Hewlett-Packard blade servers. According to Paul Gunn, the data center's system admin, the computing core includes about 35,000 processors and 104TB of RAM.
Some German movie goers were a little disappointed yesterday when faulty DRM caused major issues in their advanced screening of Avatar in 3D. The special 3D version was delivered to a number of cinemas in Germany, but some of them were unable to decode the files. The overtly draconian system relies on multiple certificates and time-sensitive keys from online servers to decode 150GB of 3D information. It would seem that it’s that 3rd dimension they really want to protect, the other two not so much.
The employees tried for several hours to get the system to work, but they eventually gave up and showed the 2D version instead. When asked about the incident Oliver Fock, general manager of CineStar Group said, “We regret the failures and the associated discomfort, but we are confident that we will be able to play the premiere both in 2D and in 3D.” It does appear that the system has been worked out and the house of cards that is the 3D DRM scheme is currently functioning in the cinemas.
Hall H is the Comic-Con equivalent of the big game, all the biggest panels and previews are there. Even with 6000 seats in the theater, there were people lined up outside all day long to see Twilight, Avatar, and more! Check the video after the jump.
NZXT, the company best know for its lineup of flashy enclosures, looks to expand its horizon by getting into the gaming peripheral market with its new Avatar mouse. The uniquely shaped rodent comes ready for both left and right handed gamers and sports a rubber grip to prevent slippage. NZXT says the "small, light form factor allows for faster and quicker movements," and the company bills the new mouse as being ergonomic.
The Avatar also comes equipped with a 7-button configuration and boasts a high 2600 DPI. Other features include:
40 inches/second max speed
15g max acceleration
6469 max fps
5.8MP per second
Up to 1000 USB reports per second
One of the more interesting marketing bullets, NZXT claims the 7 buttons will last for 5 million clicks, which sounds like a really, really long time. Available now, the new Avatar has been given an MSRP of $60, which works out to about $.000012 per click.