And a quick bit of site business: Prompted by a number of friends and readers, I’ve decided to try and get a little bit more active on Twitter in 2016, both on The Bits’ Twitter page (here) and my own page (here). The reason is simple. We’ve long been using Facebook to engage with our readers, but that’s gotten a lot more difficult of late. Facebook has new filtering algorithms that mean many of our posts there go unseen, even though we have over 10K followers. Likewise, when you guys post stuff for us to see on Facebook, we don’t get the notifications right away (or sometimes at all) so we don’t see your comments either. Twitter just seems less bloated and more functional. We’ll continue to post on our Facebook page, rest assured. But we’ll try to respond more regularly on The Bits Twitter page @thedigitalbits going forward. You can also follow me @BillHuntBits, though do keep in mind that’s my personal feed, so you’re going to get a lot more there than just Blu-ray & DVD talk – film-related content, links to science stories and other things in which I’m interested, personal observations, etc. In any case, you’re all welcome and maybe I’ll see you there.
Now then... in announcement news today, Sony has just set director Zhang Yimou’s Coming Home for Blu-ray, DVD and digital release on 3/8. The Blu-ray will include a Q&A with the director from the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as director’s audio commentary.
Speaking of Sony, the studio’s recently-revealed first wave of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray titles is now available for pre-order on Amazon for about $32 each, with no street date listed (we expect them to ship on or about 3/1). You can see the cover artwork for all these below.
Likewise, Lionsgate’s first wave of UHD BD titles is available on Amazon as well with a street date of 3/1. Again, the cover art is below.
Also, Universal has announced Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/23. The Blu-ray will include 2 featurettes (Spotlight: A Look Inside and The State of Journalism), as well as the Uncovering the Truth: A Spotlight Team Roundtable.
We’ve also mentioned in the last few days that Universal will release Syfy’s The Expanse: Season One on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/5. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that there will be anything in the way of extras, though you will get UltraViolet digital copy codes.
Speaking of The Expanse, when I was at CES last a couple weeks ago, I ran across Syfy’s The Expanse virtual experience booth. In addition to VR apps, they were promoting that you can now visit Thingiverse to download and 3D-print models of several spacecraft and props from the show. More here.
In other news today, you may have seen blog reports over the last couple weeks noting that a group of fans calling themselves Team Negative1 has just completed the scanning and digital restoration of an original 35mm print of the 1977 Star Wars theatrical version. The result is a 22GB mkv file that’s now available for downloading online. Please don’t ask us for a copy or how to download it – that requires your own legwork and effort. But if you go here and here, you can find all the information you need to track it down. I’ve now watched some of it and the quality is impressive. It’s of lower detail (and much grainier) than the official Blu-rays, and not as good as Harmy’s Despecialized edition either, but it’s still quite nice and in HD. Harmy actually plans to use this scan to complete a new Star Wars Despecialized v3.0 later this year (the current version, 2.5, still features a few elements upconverted from DVD or laserdisc sources). Regardless, it’s nice to have multiple options now for those who wish to view the original uncut version of the film in HD. We live in amazing times.
All right, we’ll leave you with a look at the cover art (and Amazon pre-order links) for those new UHD BD titles mentioned above. Note that we’ve also posted the cover artwork for Shout! Factory’s Journey to Space 4K UHD Blu-ray, but the street date is still TBA (we’ll add the pre-order link to that one when it goes live)...
I’ll be back tomorrow with more BD reviews and also some observations (now that I’ve had a week or so to gather my thoughts) on my experiences and impressions of 4K UHD BD from CES. See you then...
- Bill Hunt