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New standard could pave way for higher capacity Blu-ray discs — Engadget January 2, 2010

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Already feeling the pinch of a mere 25GB per layer on a Blu-ray disc? Neither are we, but it looks like Sony and Panasonic have been busily working on ways to boost capacity nonetheless, and they’ve now devised a new method that seems to be on the fast track to becoming a standard. The best news is that it doesn’t involve a change in Blu-ray optics, but rather something called the Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation evaluation index (or i-MLSE — the “i’ is just for kicks, it seems), which is a new means of estimating the read error rate of discs on the fly that has apparently be made possible thanks to “recent hardware advancements.” According to Sony and Panasonic, that should now allow discs to hold up to 33.4 GB per layer, but it’s not exactly clear what that means for existing Blu-ray players (a little firmware assistance seems to at least be a conceivable option, though). There’s also no timeline for a rollout just yet, but Sony is reportedly now set to propose widespread adoption of i-MLSE to the Blu-ray Disc Association, of which it just so happens to be the leading member.

via New standard could pave way for higher capacity Blu-ray discs — Engadget.

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NPD: HDTV, Blu-ray player sales up sharply over Black Friday — Engadget HD December 11, 2009

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We know most of you steered clear of retail zones that weekend but Black Friday was still big for HD, with NPD sales data revealing sales increases of 15 percent for HDTVs and 53 percent for Blu-ray players. No word on the average prices of Blu-ray players sold, but television prices have dropped so sharply (to an average price of $535) that revenues actually dropped 9 percent from last year. Regretting missing out on a particularly hot Black Friday deal? Your pain runs deep, share it with us.

via NPD: HDTV, Blu-ray player sales up sharply over Black Friday — Engadget HD.

Blu-ray/DVD flipper discs finally coming December 1, 2009

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Universal is set to roll out the first Blu-ray/DVD “flipper discs”–a single, dual-sided disc that contains Blu-ray on one side and DVD on the other. The “Bourne” trilogy (“Identity,” “Supremacy,” “Ultimatum”) will be the first movies to get the dual-sided treatment, with all three discs coming out on January 19.

The flipper discs are a good idea, as one of the biggest drawbacks to Blu-ray is that new movies you buy can’t be played in DVD players. That loss of flexibility can be a real pain in locations other than your home theater (car, plane, bedroom), where you probably haven’t upgraded to Blu-ray yet.

On the other hand, the flipper discs aren’t quite as attractive an option as the increasingly popular Blu-ray-DVD combo packages that include separate discs for both formats. Overall, Blu-ray-DVD combo packages offer more value–you do get two discs to take anywhere you like. The only advantage flipper discs might have is if they can drive down the price of the movies.

via Blu-ray/DVD flipper discs finally coming | Digital Media – CNET News.

Rovi hooks cars up to home media collection November 12, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets.
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A new ‘automotive solution’ has been announced which looks to bring all your home-entertainment needs to the humble car like never before.

Created by Rovi, provider of entertainment tech solutions, the company has come up with what it is calling Rovi’s Lasso. Essentially it’s a bundle of media recognition software that provides descriptive details on CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and digital files played in the car.

And not only that, the software can hook up to your home servers, “allows the transfer and sharing of digital content for enjoying on the go.”

The system uses DLNA / UPnP (which works with Windows 7 ‘Play To’) to sync the car to your AV setup. […]

via Rovi hooks cars up to home media collection | News | TechRadar UK

Blu-ray Disc continues to go from strength to strength in Europe « Blu-ray Disc Reporter August 26, 2009

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Close to one in ten homes across Europe will be Blu-ray enabled by the end of this year, according to a report issued today by Futuresource.

Homes using BD Players

With falling prices, increased retail promotion and growing awareness all helping to drive Blu-ray Disc demand across the continent, the report predicts that this figure will continue to rise. It is expected that over 20% of European homes will be BD enabled by the end of 2011.

In line with this growth, sales of BD movie titles are expected to top 31m by the end of 2009 – a more than three-fold increase on the 9m sales recorded in 2008. (more…)

Blu-ray support coming with iTunes 9? August 10, 2009

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Take this rumor with a fairly large grain of salt and please hold your “bag of hurt” comments until the end. Boy Genius claims he’s got it on word from a “pretty reliable source” that the next big iTunes revision will include better organization options for your iPhone / iPod touch apps, something vague concerning integration with Twitter, Facebook, and Last.fm, and… Blu-ray support. To be fair, the HD disc format wars are all but over at this point, and the most recent Final Cut Pro actually lets you burn video directly to a third-party BD drive, only to have to play the discs on another, non-Mac device. This is all pretty sketch at the moment, and we doubt the boys in Cupertino will be showing their hands until just after the eleventh hour — let’s not forget, also, that iTunes is also available for Windows which does have other third-party Blu-ray playback software. In possibly related whispers, AppleInsider has offered some none-too-descriptive hints at possible iMac refresh with some improvements catering to the “semi-professional audio / video crowd.” Between this and talk about a tablet, we can’t wait for the next Apple press conference, if only to subside all the rumors for a few months. […]

via Blu-ray support coming with iTunes 9? | Engadget

Blu-ray special features coming to App Store July 20, 2009

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The last to embrace the Blu-ray high definition video format, Universal is poised to become the first to tie home theater with Apple’s App Store, bringing companion features to the iPhone and iPod touch.

Home Media Magazine reported Monday that Universal Studios Home Entertainment was prepared to announce the App Store-Blu-ray tie-in, with the first release, the film “Fast & Furious,” hitting stores July 28.

“For the first time, iPhone and iPod Touch users will be able to control interactive content on their Web-connected Blu-ray Disc players,” the magazine writes. “On subsequent Universal Blu-ray Disc releases coming later in the year, consumers will be able to access bonus content found on their Blu-ray Disc releases and download it onto their iPhone or iPod Touch. They’ll also be able to use the devices as a virtual remote to control their Blu-ray Disc features and access additional information while watching the movie.”

The “Fast & Furious” App Store release will include a “Virtual Car Garage” that allows viewers to check out the movie’s vehicles in 360 degrees, and to look up car specifications.

The studio announced that future releases will also tie in to Facebook and Twitter to update friends on movie-related activites.

“By harnessing Blu-ray technology and combining it with Apple’s highly acclaimed iPod touch and iPhone, we continue to raise the bar in delivering an array of unprecedented, user-friendly home entertainment experiences,” said Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures Digital Platforms. “Bridging these platforms further broadens the scope of the digital landscape by paving the way for innovative new applications and interactive content enhancements that continue to uniquely engage consumers.”

via AppleInsider | Blu-ray special features coming to App Store.

AACS Finalizes Managed Copy for Blu-ray Discs – How do you think about it? July 1, 2009

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AACS Finalizes Managed Copy for Blu-ray Discs

The AACS licensing authority has finalized specs that would let consumers make legit copies of Blu-ray content…but it’ll require all-new hardware.

The Advanced Access Content System License Authority—AACSLA—has posted finalized specifications for the digital rights management system to be used on Blu-ray discs…and the final spec allows for so-called “managed copies,” whereby consumers will be able to make a pre-determined number of copies of content on Blu-ray media for personal use—although the number of copies is determined by the studios, and the copy is still protected with AACS or Microsoft DRM.

How do you think about it? Will it work and used by everyone of us?

via AACS Finalizes Managed Copy for Blu-ray Discs – Home Video News – Digital Trends.

Warner uses Facebook to sync up Watchmen BD-Live viewing sessions May 13, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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In July, BD-Live is going beyond the players when Warner Bros. includes a Facebook tie-in on the Watchmen: Director’s Cut Blu-ray release. Probably not enough to turn around BD-Live’s rep with this crowd, but others may be surprised to find community screening invites wedged between their Mafia Wars invites and status updates. Also exclusive to the Blu-ray is “Maximum Movie Mode” for a split screen view of the action and video commentary from director Zach Snyder, plus Watchmen: Focus Points, Real Super Heroes, Real Vigilantes and Mechanics: Technologies of a Fantastic World extras. Due either July 21, The Hollywood Reporter says we can expect the theatrical version on VOD, Xbox and PlayStation movie stores, while iTunes and Amazon will deliver the Director’s Cut without the disc.

Read – Watchmen Gets Heroic on DVD and Blu-ray on July 21st
Read – Warners teams with Facebook for ‘Watchmen’

via Warner uses Facebook to sync up Watchmen BD-Live viewing sessions

Bad News for Hollywood’s Bottom Line: DVD Rentals Doing Better Than DVD Sales March 3, 2009

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In last year’s fourth quarter, usually a big one for DVD sales, […] the studios’ revenue from sell-through of conventional DVDs and Blu-Ray discs fell 23.4 percent, to $2.6 billion from $3.4 billion. This drop of $800 million, Adams Research figures, shaved fully $500 million from the studios’ operating profit, because they have normally had a very high, 60 percent profit margin on sell-through revenue. […]

via Bad News for Hollywood’s Bottom Line: DVD Rentals Doing Better Than DVD Sales – Carpetbagger Blog – NYTimes.com