We're guessing there won't be scores of consumers who chuck their home theater equipment to the curb so they can go out and buy 3D-capable components, but for those who planned on upgrading anyway, is 3D where it's at?
Electronic makers are hoping so, including Sony, which just launched its new Elevated Standard (ES) AV receiver line, including the STR-DA5600ES, STRA-DA4500ES, and STR-DA3600ES, as well as a 3D Blu-ray player, the BDP-S1700ES. That's all well and good, but what do the AV receivers have to do with 3D?
"By focusing on seamless integration with custom home theater control partners, Sony is working to deliver products that support the custom and specialty retail business like no other manufacturer," said Brian Siegel, vice president of Sony's home audio and video business. "Because Sony is involved in every stage of the 3D ecosystem, specialty dealers and installers can rest assured that our AV components leverage that deep expertise to deliver the most technically advanced experience possible."
Sounds like a whole lot of nothing, but there is a point to the marketing. According to Sony, the new ES models offer 3D pass-through, which means they're able to take 3D video from connected devices and pass them through to a 3D compatible HDTV.
See here for full specs, pricing, and release dates.
On the PC side, users have been able to enjoy support for Blu-Ray movie playback for quite awhile now. However, Apple has been reluctant to add in similar capabilities on the OSX side of things. A user recently emailed Steve Jobs, and as he tends to do these days, he sent out a curt response predicting the death of the format.
The question centered around the new Mac Mini, and how it sure would be cool if it had a Blu-Ray drive. Jobs responded saying that, "Bluray is looking more and more like one of the high end audio formats that appeared as the successor to the CD - like it will be beaten by Internet downloadable formats." In a later response, Jobs also claimed that streaming 720p content would win most people over.
It seems extremely likely that physical media will fade into the background at some point, but this may not be the time. With ISPs instituting bandwidth caps, streaming HD video could be more risky as the quality improves. Apple's iTunes store has sway over the content delivery arena, but can Apple really kill Blu-Ray by sheer force of will?
It's official folks, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has finalized the release of the specifications for BDXL. What this means is that manufacturers can now grab licensing information and licensing applications needed to begin producing Blu-ray media with up to 128GB of capacity.
"The BDA worked diligently to create an extension of the Blu-ray Disc format that leverages the physical structure of the design of the disc to create even more storage capacity," said Victor Matsuda, Blu-ray Disc Association Global Promotions Committee chair. "By using the existing Blu-ray technologies, we have created a long-term and stable solution for archiving large amounts of sensitive data, video and graphic images. We expect further growth of the Blu-ray Disc market as the introduction of 100GB/128GB discs will expand the application of Blu-ray Disc technologies."
It might be awhile before these super high capacity discs see any kind of mainstream use. In this early stage, BDXL discs will be used in commercial segments like broadcasting, medical, and document imaging enterprises with heavy archiving needs, the BDA says.
Paramount has taken the opposite stance to that of their fellow Hollywood studios regarding DVD rental service Redbox. Warner Bros., Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox have all extracted a deal from Redbox that sees them making movies available only after a 28 day waiting period. This is intended to drive sales of the newly released discs. In reality, it most likely just drives consumers mad. Paramount has agreed to allow Redbox to rent movies the day they are made available for sale.
The rental landscape is changing rapidly with services like Netflix and Redbox. Redbox offers rentals for $1 per night. Paramount seems to be taking note of the boost Redbox is offering. " There hasn't been a cannibalization of DVD sales from Redbox, and Redbox was allowing us to expand our business and ultimately make more money," said Paramount Home Entertainment president Dennis Maguire.
Netflix has gotten the same treatment from Warner Bros., Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox, but it may be different with Paramount. When they work out their next arrangement, Maguire said they will go in with similar intentions. Do you frequent a local Redbox? Would a release window make you more likely to purchase a movie?
TrendNet might pigeonhole its TEW-647GA Wireless N Gaming Adapter as a gaming-console peripheral, but we think it’s much more useful than that. The tiny device is capable of linking any hard-wired Ethernet device—be it an Xbox, a PC, or a Blu-ray player—to an 802.11b/g/n wireless network for a street price less than $50.
Granted, Microsoft’s own Xbox 360 Wireless N Networking Adapter is smaller still (and draws its power from the Xbox 360’s USB port), but that device is nearly twice as expensive and it doesn’t support anything other than the Xbox 360. The TEW-647GA is a lot prettier to look at, too, with its dual antennas stealthily concealed inside its black plastic housing.
Toshiba today announced the Dynabook TX/98MBL, the industry's first notebook to support 3D Blu-ray playback. With a 15.6-inch LED backlit display, Toshiba's newest Dynabook comes bundled with both WinDVD BD for playing Blu-ray discs and Nvidia's 3D Vision software and hardware.
Other features consists of an Intel Core i7 740QM processor (1.73GHz stock, 2.93GHz Turbo Boost), 640GB hard drive, up to 4GB of memory, Nvidia GeForce GTS 350M graphics with 1GB of onboard RAM, remote control, and a "selectable OS" all wrapped in a "velvety black finish."
Toshiba's pushing the Dynabook TX/98MBL for a late July release in Japan for an as-yet unannounced price point (some reports have it selling for around $2,750). The company also plans to launch this one in the U.S. market, but no word yet on when.
Thanks to our friends over at Warner Home Video, we've got twenty-one (21!) copies of The Book of Eli to give away. Here's what Warner says about the film:
Eli (Denzel Washington) walks alone in post-apocalyptic America, carrying the last copy of a book that could become the wellspring of a revived society. Or in the wrong hands, the hammer of a despot. Eli keeps his blade sharp and survival instincts sharper navigating a savage wasteland and coming into conflict with a menacing warlord (Gary Oldman) set on possessing the book.
Own it on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and rent it with Movies On Demand 6/15
What do we say about the movie? That's its awesome. And furthermore, that it was screenwritten by ex-PC-Gamer-EIC and occasionalNo BS Podcast guest Gary Whitta, which is also awesome. So what do you have to do to win a copy?
If you thought that Redbox would charge a premium for Blu-ray rentals, you were right, but it still might be less than what you were anticipating. That is, unless you were anticipating $1.49. In that case, go ahead and shake an angry fist at Redbox for gouging you for a penny more than you were prepared for.
While nothing is written in stone just yet, Redbox president Mitch Lowe says that his kiosks will in all likelihood rent out Blu-ray flicks for $1.50 per night, which is just 50 cents more than the $1 fee for regular DVDs. You can expect Redbox to start stocking its kiosks with Blu-ray titles within the next few months, Lowe added.
According to Lowe, nearly 17 percent of Redbox customers own a Blu-ray player. By adding Blu-rays to the mix, Lowe says Redbox's 23 percent share of the market could help drive Blu-ray adoption, especially with consumer awareness of Redbox checking at 72 percent in April, compared to just 17 percent in February 2009.
Warner Bros. on Thursday announced it has expanded its "DVD2Blu" upgrade program. Effective immediately, consumers who spend their hard earned cash building up their DVD collection can begin swapping their movies for Blu-ray versions starting at $4.95 per title.
There are nearly 90 Warner Bros. flicks to choose from, including Gran Torino, The Bucket List, Ocean's Eleven, Get Smart, Freddy vs. Jason, Pride and Glory, and a whole bunch more. Most of the titles can be had for the above mentioned $4.95 fee, while a handful cost $6.95.
The DVD2Blu program was first launched in 2009. Consumers who want to upgrade are provided with a postage-paid envelope to mail their existing DVDs in, sans case. For orders over $35, the service offers free shipping, otherwise it runs another $4.95 per order.
Sony has been struggling with declining TV sales over the last few months. Now sources have indicated the Japanese company will be stepping up their game by releasing TVs with Intel chips and running Google software. The trio of companies may be unveiling the new devices at a conference on May 19-20. Could this be the real product behind the Google TV rumors last month?
All three companies have something to gain from such an arrangement. If the product is successful, they may be able to win back market share lost to Samsung and LG in recent years. Google would love to be able to deliver their services to a new generation of connected TVs and Blu-ray players. Certainly Intel has the lion's share of the PC market, but owning a new one is never a bad thing. There are also rumors that Logitech is working on a wireless keyboard/remote system.
TV manufacturers are working to integrate services with connected units, and this partnership could be a big step in that direction. No word on exactly what Google software these sets would be running, but some specialized build of Android seems like a possibility. Would you interested in this product?