Blu-ray may have won the high-definition format war, but the spoils haven't exactly been anything to brag about. Saddled with high prices, consumers have been turning the other cheek in favor of upscaled DVDs and an increasing emphasis on movie downloads, which looks to get even more popular this fall. But that could all change if 3D movies prove popular for home setups.
Leading the charge is Philips, who will demonstrate 3D on Blu-ray later this month at IFA 2008.The demo is expected to show how Philips' 2D-plus-Depth content format can be applied to Blu-ray, which would open the door for 3D movies to be shown on a variety of displays. Whether or not that matters to home theater buffs remains to be seen, but with a growing amount of 3D movies released on the big screen, those that missed the theater debut would still be able to relieve the experience at home, minus the ginormous screen.
Does this give Blu-ray the edge it needs to gain popularity points?
On the surface, things aren't looking very bright for Vudu, the IP-based streaming movie service. The company laid off 15-20 percent of its workforce, including Patrick Cosson, former VP of marketing. And if that weren't enough, dealers have been complaining that Vudu stopped answering voicemails and would only provide tech support through email.
But not to worry, says Mark Donnigan, national channel manager for Vudu. According to Donnigan, most of the allegations are wrong or misleading. Donnigan claims that the layoffs were normal for a startup that has seen such rapid expansion, adding "we just have to figure out how to get back on track in terms of spending." And while dealers are complaining of email-only support, Donnigan insists that isn't the case.
CEPro has three pages worth of allegations and rebuttals, leaving it anyone's guess as to what's really going on behind closed doors. What's yours?
Vudu just announced the hiring of Chris Watts, former Ebay financial exec, as Vudu's new CFO.
"Chris is going to play a critical role in developing financial strategies as we extend our retail presence, deepen relationships with AV resellers across the country, and expand the functionality of VUDU’s e-commerce platform,” said Mark Jung, CEO of VUDU. “Chris brings deep experience in translating business strategy into financial and operating plans and that will be immensely valuable to our company going forward.”
What good is winning the war if there's no one to celebrate with afterward? That's the dilemma the Blu-ray camp has found itself in after having whipped HD-DVD out of contention in the high definition DVD market. According to a new consumer survey from ABI Research, there exists a widespread reluctance among consumers to jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon, with over half of the 1,000 respondents saying they have no plans to purchase one citing "other priorities."
Think a 30-inch monitor at 2560x1600 resolution is amazing? Then you haven’t seen Merdian’s 810 Reference Video System that gives you a 4096 x 2160 projected image for the low price of $185,000. But we have.
We got to touch and see the 810 up close and personal last week in a private demonstration held at Dolby Laboratories headquarters. Why Dolby? The company has a famous 90-seat theater in its main building in San Francisco that’s actually nicer than most small screens at the multiplex. And how does this monster of a projector perform? Read on to find out!
Click through to read our impressions of the 810 Reference Video System
High definition used to be synonymous with high price, but today everything from HDTVs to now HD camcorders can be had without downgrading that upcoming anniversary gift from a diamond bracelet to a cubic zirconia. But a high definition camcorder for under 200 bones? You betcha.
DXG's new pocket-sized camcorder looks to capture not only the budget market, but tries to appeal to the social computing crowd at the same time. For MSRP $179, the DXG-567V HD packs a 5.0 megapixel CMOS sensor the company claims is capable of H.264 video compression at up to a 1280x720 resolution at 30 frames-per-second. And while it may look like an MP3 player at a glance, DXG says the simplified controls are intended to make it easy to use for "even Grandma Selma." She can even get one in pink if she desires. Or blue, black, or red.
Out of the box, DXG includes ArcSoft's TotalMedia Extreme video editing software, and the company's own Rapid Blog Manager software, so Selma's grandkids have a quick and easy way to upload videos to YouTube's repository of gems like 'Leave Brittany Alone' (NSFW) and, well, this (hey, hey).
Now that Blu-ray rules the high definition roost, many are left wondering what Toshiba's next move be in the wake of HD-DVD's death, and a new logo has kicked speculation into high gear. The Toshiba-chaired DVD Forum recently approved the DVD Download/DL logo, a new spec likely to show up in Toshiba's next batch of super upscaling DVD players. But what exactly is this new feature? According to wireless consumer advocate Christopher Rice, DVD Download/DL equipped players will enable transmissions of HD-quality video from the web, so not only will your standard videos look better when upscaled, but you'll have the option to download the DVD in HD.
If true, one has to wonder why Toshiba would go down this road again and wage another war with Blu-ray, but is it really such a big gamble? Despite winning the high definition format war, Blu-ray sales have been a bust among consumers, and buyers are realizing that upscaled DVDs look pretty darn good on a HDTV. And because the new players won't introduce a new optical format, movie studios won't be able to render the player obsolete as easily as they did with HD-DVD. Sounds promising in theory, but let's see how it shakes out in practice.
Vudu delivers more HD content than any other service, but achieving that image quality requires you to purchase a $300 box that can’t be truly integrated into the rest of your home network (meaning you can’t stream the content downloaded to it from one room to another). And the company currently has HD licensing deals with only Lionsgate, Paramount, and Universal; the rest of its offerings are limited to standard definition.
Apple’s tight connection with Disney (owner of the ABC television network and Pixar animation studio), its support for high-definition H.264 video, and a slick set-top box for playing your favorite TV shows and movies in your living room, render the iTunes Store an attractive proposition for home-theater enthusiasts. Too bad its video is limited to 720p.